Written by
Published on 27 Oct 2021

What’s your role with Globecast?


I’m the General Director of Globecast Moscow, a company with a license operating in Russia. The company, which was essentially a start-up, was launched in 2006 and was completely created from scratch. I’ve been with Globecast since the very beginning, over 20 years now. I started in sales and I was already handling Central and Eastern Europe at that time. In 2006 I moved from our Paris headquarters to Russia to create this start-up in Moscow, initially just myself and we’ve grown from there. The idea was to develop the business in Russia as it’s the biggest market in my region. From Moscow we work across Russia and also CIS countries as well as more widely across Central and Eastern Europe. It’s a very big territory with very big markets!



Q: What’s are your responsibilities in this role?


I’m the General Director, responsible for overall operations, but I’m also still involved in sales. I’m handling some of our key accounts because of my history with them. The rest of my role is similar to a Chief Operating Officer. I have an overview of everything because I’m involved in the business and operational sides of things, especially across strategic issues. There are many times I have to step back and think about the future and what the next steps will be.



Q: What effect has the pandemic had on your work?


In many ways, it’s been similar to other parts of the world in terms of remote working and, across our work, remote monitoring. Our team in Russia had no difficulty in working remotely and in many ways it was business as usual. We work very closely with the teams in the UK and Paris, especially in terms of uplinking and overall connectivity so it was more of a challenge for them, a challenge to which Globecast responded admirably. One of the crucial things was clear and concise communication, both internally and externally, so that everyone, including customers, knew exactly what the situation was.



Q: Across the markets that you serve, what are the key pressure points at the moment?


What’s very clear today is that there’s a huge pressure on costs and it’s important for us to work closely with our customers to provide the most cost-effective solution for them. We are not here to dictate; we are here to understand their business and define solutions appropriate to their specific requirements. The question of monetisation is key and this is what’s driving the markets across which we work. This, of course, isn’t new but it has been brought into even sharper focus because of COVID. That has definitely had an effect.



Q: If we look at technology trends, are you seeing a gradual move away from satellite to internet-delivered services?


Yes, these trends began a few years ago and they’re accelerating. But as with other regions, we still see the major companies using satellite distribution. In Russia, satellite is still a very important way of distribution because it’s the biggest country in the world with many different time zones. Satellite still remains very important for distribution and it will remain a key part of the mix. With regard to international distribution, we’re seeing some changes happening in terms of the use of terrestrial methods. It depends on the number of affiliates and the strategy of each broadcaster, so we tailor our offers accordingly, with segmented, reliable services. Via our public internet Connect services, we can provide our End-to-End Connect option, which is a fully managed service over the public internet. Our 24/7 monitoring capabilities are a key differentiator and we handle the on-boarding of affiliates, supplying the technology they require, with global deployment possible in just a few weeks. Then, of course, there’s our growing use of the cloud.

We are in discussions about cloud playout with customers in this region, alongside wider cloud processing. We already use the cloud in other ways, not least working with OTT providers, contributing sports content, for example, using Globecast MCN (Managed Cloud Network), from the event to those customers for regionalisation (they add graphics, commentary etc.). They then distribute on their OTT platforms.

We can also provide Open Connect for worldwide channel distribution. With this option we can deliver content to anywhere with an internet connection and this is possible within a matter of days.

We have been using End-to-End Connect for contribution for many years. When I say contribution, not only occasional services but point-to-point contribution of content and we also use our Globecast Backbone Network (market-leading fibre network), but more so End-to-End Connect; sometimes a mix of the two for backup. We’re increasingly using the latter for point-to-point contribution. We also deploy it for disaster recovery and for off-air monitoring where this is very widely used.

But as mentioned, for distribution it really depends on the number of affiliates as to what solution is most appropriate, alongside how ready they are to receive channels terrestrially.


Q: How do people generally view content is Russia?


It’s a mix, with major DTH providers like Tricolor TV leading the market. Then we have a wide range of cable operators and also IPTV providers, like Rostelecom taking a leading position. And, of course, there’s multiple OTT providers. Traditional ways of viewing are still powerful in Russia but this evolves rapidly.



Q: Do you expect this to change over the next three-five years? Do you expect to see a greater take up of OTT services in Russia, for example?


It is already growing rapidly and it will continue growing for sure, but will it become dominant in that timescale across this region? The technologies will undoubtedly continue to live side-by-side for some time to come. Time will tell. But it’s undoubtedly a challenge/opportunity for broadcasters and we are here to help. We already work across the OTT space in this region (as we do around the world), and have done for several years, developing a powerful understanding and we expect that work to continue to grow. Content is key, whatever the technology to broadcast it is. If consumers start using more OTT services rather than the more traditional, and start paying for these, then this will drive change. It has to be kept in mind that the move to pay-TV wasn’t really a natural progression for Russians as they were used to having TV for free and this has been difficult to change. It has happened, though, but it has been harder than in many other markets. There’s still a lot of content available for free, as mandated by federal law.



Q: How do you view Globecast’s role, now and into the future?


As I mentioned above, now more than ever it’s a case of us understanding what’s best for each customer. We have a vast understanding of traditional solutions across contribution and distribution – not forgetting our media processing and playout capabilities as well as OTT – and we also have an in-depth understanding of the new world, too. We are a bridge for our customers between these two: we can speak the same language as traditional broadcasters and also the language of the internet world. We are ideally positioned across both. This is a tremendous opportunity for us and our customers.

Leave a Reply

Want to add something?