Mark Thompson, Commercial Director, Advertising Production, ITN Productions on how 5G will revolutionise the broadcast industry


England’s World Cup win over Argentina on Saturday 5th October not only guaranteed the team a place in the knock-out stages but also helped pave the way for the content industry, as ITN Productions, along with O2 Telefonica, broadcast the World’s first ever live TV advert powered by 5G.

5G is set to revolutionise the broadcast industry in a number of ways. By driving greater efficiencies in planning, producing and transmitting live sport, global events and breaking news, we will be able to not only significantly reduce our carbon footprint but also report from 4G saturated locations and events that would have previously needed satellite trucks and other cumbersome production equipment. 

But it’s not just live production and the planet that is set to benefit. 5G will also be integral to the growth and development of global OTT platforms and in turn the content we can create, share and stream through them. Providing consumers with an even greater choice at an even quicker pace in a more environmentally friendly way. 

During the England vs Argentina match we used eight wireless camera positions from four O2 Academy venues linked to the ITN Studios via 5G to ensure our production was as carbon neutral as possible. Each wireless camera feeding live footage directly from each location. All eight feeds were automatically recorded, as they came into the building, crowd reactions were chosen, cut, signed off and stitched together as the action unfolded, the ad culminated in a collection of direct to camera pieces from audience members around the country giving their personal words of support to the England team live just before the second half.

See the advert here

The additional bandwidth that 5G provides will also allow brands to get closer to the action, enable interaction with big global live events – where 4G would normally be oversubscribed – and become reactive, topical and relevant to their audiences across multiple venues and platforms ensuring their brand remains fresh, engaging and front of mind.

I think it’s fair to say that the power of 5G cannot be overstated. The faster delivery (both download and streaming) of content on the move will create greater opportunities for ‘mobile’ to develop as its own platform and provide further advancements in immersive and personalised storytelling. Not only this but with the introduction of driverless cars (that 5G technology will also play a huge part in) will come the opportunity to view and consume even more content. Thi, along with global remote surgery, is just the start of where 5G could take us.


Mark Thompson

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