Red Bee Media delivered live broadcasts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan for ITV, providing Playout, MCR and Media Management services throughout the entire tournament. With a total of 45 live matches on ITV and ITV4, Red Bee brought over 130 hours of world class rugby to millions of viewers in the UK during the 6-week event. Rigorous planning started in 2018 and included provisioning of extra staff, infrastructure and disaster recovery rehearsals as well as a full world cup simulation exercise ahead of the start of the tournament. Saturday morning’s final between England and South Africa peaked at 12.8 million viewers – which is the biggest morning audience on any UK channel since the royal wedding in 2011.
The Rugby World Cup was exclusively available on ITV in the UK. The live broadcasts were delivered by Red Bee between September 20th and November 2nd, in addition to handling the regular mix of scheduled and other live broadcasts.
“Red Bee provided a skilled and safe hand throughout the whole tournament, with exemplary and flawless delivery of complex mission critical services, enabling us to deliver the highest quality live sports broadcasts, with many memorable moments from the rugby pitches in Japan”, says Helen Stevens, Operations Officer, ITV. “The planning and execution were done with a great attention to detail and we could rest assured that nothing was left to chance.”
Preparations were initiated, together with ITV, over a year before the first kick-off in Japan, with disaster recovery rehearsals and multiple joint engineering and program planning workshops. In July, Red Bee also hosted a full simulation exercise with ITV and their other third parties at Red Bee’s Chiswick Park Playout site in London.
“Managing a high-value live broadcast project like this is a massive undertaking and it is more than simply deploying live capable broadcast technologies. We are proud to have the teams with the knowledge and experience to live up to the high expectations of ITV”, says David Travis, Chief Product & Technology Officer at Red Bee. “We are approaching the market as the leaders in live and we have once again shown that we have the competence and technical know-how to deliver on that promise”
During the tournament, Red Bee provisioned additional staff for MCR, Playout and Media Management and provided extra playout equipment and building infrastructure to ensure a resilient and robust source of ITV’s programming. During the games, the Red Bee MCR managed a combination of direct fiber, satellite downlinks and video over IP feeds to assure ITV’s program feeds into the Playout operation. Red Bee also provisioned a local back-up gallery operation, utilizing a downlinked World feed, to cover for a total loss of the ITV OB based in Japan, ensuring continuity for ITV’s viewers.
Facts & Figures:
ITV has the exclusive UK Broadcast rights for the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups until year 2023.