HBS CEO Francis Tellier made a return to the company’s roots yesterday when he delivered the closing address at SVG Europe's first-ever Football Production Summit, held within the Stade de France just outside Paris. The same stadium played host to France's only FIFA World Cup™ victory, in 1998, when Francis was Managing Director of TVRS98, the host broadcaster of the tournament. He went on to found HBS soon after, in 1999, and as its CEO has been responsible for every FIFA World Cup™ host broadcast since.
The SVG Europe Football Production Summit was attended by representatives from not only the broadcast industry but also clubs and federations from across Europe. Francis' speech focused on the future of both host broadcasting and HBS, going into aspects as diverse as the importance of customer service and the questions that continue to revolve around the adoption of 3D. On this last point, he emphasised the need for patience as stereoscopic productions find their footing and praised the consistent approach to 3D that has been implemented by FIFA and HBS (in partnership with Sony) and is now being followed by the International Olympic Committee (with OBS) and UEFA (given its specific environment). As for HBS, its own future is looking bright: the company's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ are gathering steam and its host broadcasting contract with FIFA has been extended to include the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
More generally, Francis spoke about the increasingly rapid spread of technological innovations from the cutting-edge to the mainstream (the so-called "Le Mans effect" — today in a race car, tomorrow in every garage), but he also underlined the need to not leave "late adopters" behind, pointing out that despite the prevalence of HD as a modern broadcasting standard the majority of television channels around the world remain SD-based.
Due to the Summit's location, Francis briefly reminisced about the TVRS98 days, thanking a number of his former associates and showing the assembled guests the now fourteen-year-old opening animation designed by graphic artist Marc Tatou, bringing smiles to many faces. The animation helped Francis reinforce his main point: as important a part as technology plays in the broadcast industry, pride of place will always have to be given to plain and simple talent.