Broadcasting events

This page has information about event broadcast strategy and rights, and broadcaster requirements.

Broadcasting considerations

Broadcasting is a fast-changing and complex area that can quickly use up your time and resources. Consider engaging a broadcasting and distribution expert. This can be expensive but may ultimately save time and money.

You need to carefully consider your rationale for broadcasting your event, and work out the best way to meet the goals of the event and its main stakeholders.

Broadcasting rights

The event owner will usually split the broadcasting rights into domestic and international categories. International broadcast rights are often split into regions or countries. Broadcast rights are also commonly split between TV, radio and online rights.

The event owner will dictate who owns the broadcast rights to the event, as well as who is responsible for procuring and paying for production.

Both TV and online rights may be allocated as follows:

  • All rights retained by the event owner.
  • All rights granted to the event organiser.
  • Rights split by event owner — for example, international rights retained by the event owner and domestic rights granted to the event organiser.

The event organiser must be very clear about:

  • who owns which rights
  • who's responsible for the production costs.

Note that production costs may often outweigh the benefit received from being able to sell broadcast rights.

Host broadcaster

The host broadcaster is the main broadcaster for an event. It is responsible for producing and transmitting the “clean” television coverage of the event. A host broadcaster is necessary, as it's not practical to have multiple broadcasters trying to record and produce the same event.

Rights holding broadcaster

A rights holding broadcaster is any broadcaster that has paid for the right to broadcast the event. Rights holders will usually receive a “clean” feed from the host broadcaster.

Non-rights holders

Non-rights holders are broadcasters that have not paid for the right to broadcast the event. They may still attend the event and create stories, but they don't have the rights to broadcast the event.

Broadcasting strategy

Identifying the rationale

Before deciding the most appropriate broadcasting strategy, you need to consider the rationale behind broadcasting the event. Reasons may include the following.

  • Requirements from the event owner —there may be a contractual requirement to broadcast the event.
  • Stakeholder requirements — for example, central or local government funding may be contingent upon reaching a certain international market.
  • Sponsor requirements — for example, sponsors may require a certain amount of exposure.
  • Financial incentives — for example, broadcasters may be prepared to pay a rights fee.
  • International or domestic exposure — for example, if the event is recurring there's likely to be a desire by the event owner to grow the event by gaining wider recognition.
  • The audience — the number of people interested in the event.
  • Event credibility —an event that isn't broadcast may appear amateur.

Developing the strategy

Once you have identified the rationale for broadcasting the event, you can develop a broadcasting strategy. The strategy should determine how and where the event should be broadcast. It should answer the following questions:

  • Which countries should the event be broadcast in?
  • Do those countries have any restrictions on advertising (eg, alcohol) that might mean specially adapted content is required?
  • What's the best way to reach the event’s target audience?
  • What type of broadcast should the event have?
  • Is traditional TV broadcast the most effective way to achieve the broadcast goals, or can they be achieved by using other methods — such as live internet or mobile streaming?
  • Which broadcaster and platform (free-to-air or subscription) has the best reach into the event's target audience?
  • What are the financial implications of the broadcasting strategy?
  • What is the quality of production required?
  • What type of product is most attractive to broadcasters?

Broadcast requirements

Broadcasters can often be quite demanding and will have numerous requirements. Careful relationship management of broadcasters is a major component of ensuring that your event gets the coverage required.

Working with broadcasters

Communications

Set up regular meetings with broadcasters, and make sure communications regarding event planning and obligations are open and honest.

Broadcast quality

Use the expertise of broadcasters to ensure the final product is of a high quality. However, be aware that broadcasters might push for a gold-plated solution so be upfront with them about the available budget and resources for production.

Managing conflicting requirements

Broadcasters will often have conflicting requirements to other types of media that are covering the event. You will need to manage these conflicts and find resolutions that suit all parties. Areas of conflict can include camera positioning, lighting, cable runs etc.

Input on event timing

Broadcasters are likely to have valuable input on the timing of an event – both the date and the time of day the event is held. This is relevant to both events broadcast live and on a delayed basis.

By involving broadcasters in discussions about the timing of the event, event owners and organisers can maximise TV viewership and broadcast revenue by taking into consideration time zone differences and potential scheduling conflicts.

Negotiating broadcasting requirements

Broadcasters have many requirements that you will need to consider and manage. You will also need to balance these against the requirements set out by the event owner.

You will need to negotiate with broadcasters regarding requirements relating to:

  • the number and positioning of cameras
  • cabling and cable pathways
  • power requirements and backup generation
  • commentary positions and studios
  • lighting requirements
  • broadcasting compound — parking and space requirements
  • scheduling (when the event is to be held) — weekday or weekend, time of day or night, etc
  • negotiation of rights and exclusions (you need to retain news access rights for other broadcasters)
  • provision of broadcast feed to other broadcasters
  • provision of broadcast feed to areas at the event — eg, big screens, changing rooms, media centre, vip lounges, officials rooms
  • signage (locations and size)
  • editing of the broadcast
  • contingency and risk mitigation
  • quality of the coverage
  • levels of production
  • provision of graphics, statistics etc.