The Switch Expands Burbank At-Home-Production Facility To Meet Rising Demand
The goal is a single platform that can deliver multiple productions from any location
The Switch is continuing its push into the at-home–production market, expanding its The Switch At-Home service with the launch of an additional at-home production facility in Burbank, CA. The Switch acquired the Burbank facility in 2017 and has continued to expand it as demand for at-home–production services has grown, driven primarily by live sports coverage.
“We’ve established ourselves as a leader in the at-home/remote space and see real value in further investing in and expanding our offering,” says Eric Cooney, president/CEO, The Switch. “Our business model ensures that The Switch is able to economically provide access to cutting-edge technologies while maintaining unmatched levels of service, giving our customers the ability to do the same with less — or even more with the same.”
The Switch is adding a third control room at the Burbank facility, complete with Grass Valley switcher and router, Calrec audio console, and the ability to handle up to 32 camera feeds. The expansion is designed to accommodate growing demand for live content production and to provide a single platform for delivering multiple live productions, either simultaneously or as a standalone, from any location — the Burbank control room, the customer’s control center, or remotely — at any time.
“By providing the facility and the talent, we are freeing customers to focus on their core business: the content,” says George Lopez, SVP, operations, The Switch. “At our extended Burbank at-home facility, we can help broadcasters, rightsholders, and content creators move towards a smarter economic model that allows a flexible approach to live production. This ensures they can quickly scale up or down to meet the needs of a Super Bowl, a basketball game, a global awards show, or an esports tournament.”
The expanded service leverages The Switch’s transmission network or satellite links to deliver raw (ISO) feeds, audio, and equipment control to the Burbank Remote Control Room. Customers have the flexibility to remotely control cameras and other equipment at the event site or produce a more traditional broadcast program.
“And, of course,” Lopez adds, “we have the best team in the business on hand to support any aspect of the production process.”
Although The Switch has traditionally been known as a video-transmission–services provider, Cooney believes that broadcasters and rightsholders can leverage its combo of production capabilities and its transmission network to more cost-effectively produce and deliver live content via the at-home model.
“We feel production services is a natural extension of our video-transmission services,” says Cooney. “Over the past few decades, we have gained the trust and confidence of customers as a services provider carrying the content that is the core essence of their business with 24/7 NOC support, reliability, performance. It’s a natural extension for us to take that comfort and extend our services to start to wrap in production services.”
He estimates that about 80% of The Switch’s overall revenue is generated from transmission services and 20% from production services. However, as the media landscape continues to change, broadcasters and content producers are covering more live events than ever while facing tightening production budgets. As a result, he expects the production-services portion to grow, with The Switch At-Home offering a flexible and efficient alternative to expensive onsite mobile units.
“We’re not newly in [the production-services] business,” he says, “but we are certainly expanding our existing capabilities and increasing the capacity that we already have. We are winning business from some very marquee companies. This isn’t a ‘build it and they will come’ scenario; this is a ‘we’ve got to build it in order to keep up with the demand’ scenario.
The Switch At-Home service has allowed customers to produce events from remote locations since 2015. It is currently leveraged by MLS and has successfully delivered at-home events for Fox, ESPN, Univision, NFL, TVG Network, and CBS Sports.
The newly expanded The Switch At-Home service will be featured on the company’s stand at IBC 2019: Hall 5, A73.