IMG taps Ericsson to upgrade quality, protect piracy of Premier League content

Joseph O'Halloran | 01-11-2013

Sports management firm IMG has embarked upon a programme to enhance the viewing experience and protect the integrity of the transmission of English Premier League football.

The crown jewels of many pay-TV providers, in particular BSkyB and BT Sport, Premier League football rights are among the most valued assets in global TV, boasting a global audience of 4.7 billion. The English Premier League entered its 22nd season in 2013 and is the most popular league in world football, broadcast in 212 territories by 80 different broadcasters.

To maintain the value of the premium content, IMG Premier League Productions is upgrading its existing system based on the Ericsson Content Distribution Solution. Key to the upgrade is the ability to distribute the content in its origination colour format (4:2:2 chroma). Doing this, says Ericsson, will ensure the highest quality source for all subsequent live production and delivery stages, enabling operators and broadcasters to provide to consumers Premier League matches at the highest quality.

An encryption module protects content assets and the solution also supports existing legacy infrastructures by enabling content transcoding from MPEG-4 AVC to MPEG-2. Control and management is provided by Compass Director, a critical component in managing a large distributed population of receivers, control content rights and conditional access (CA).

“Viewers all over the world are captivated by the varying fortunes of the 20 Premier League football clubs, so our customers demand a high quality, reliable service, to ensure these sports fans do not miss a single second of their match day experience,” explained Ollie Scott, director of business development, technical services, IMG. “Equally, the popularity of this content means it is imperative we protect its value from piracy. We had no hesitation in investing in the upgrade of our existing system; the Ericsson solution offers a robust, high quality service which safeguards against theft and unauthorised viewing, while also future-proofing our content distribution needs.”