March 16, 1998Grinding rebar off an old cast.
Joe EarleyFox Television Group’s long-serving COO, Joe Earley, is leaving the 21st Century Fox-owned broadcaster after more than two decades.Earley will leave the firm at the end of the year, bringing to an end 21 years of service.He has held his current post since August 2014, working under Fox TV Group co-chairmen and CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden, having previously served as chief operating officer of Fox Broadcasting Company.He joined Fox as a senior publicist in 1994, having begun his career as part of Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd’s production and development team.At Fox, he has overseen scripted programming and development, casting, marketing and communications, audience strategy, digital, and business affairs over the years.Earley said that the merger of Fox’s studio and broadcasting businesses under Newman and Walden had “allowed me to also appreciate the impressive team on the studio side”, but meant he had become removed from creative elements of the business.“All of this new opportunity… as rewarding as it is, has led me further and further from the creative process, which is really where my heart wants to be. So, while I will miss my extended Fox family terribly, it is time for me to pursue the proverbial, ‘next chapter.’ As a former publicist, I thought I would never use that phrase, but it turns out that sometimes it’s true.”“We have been discussing his desire to get closer to the creative process for a while now, and although we would love for him to stay at Fox for another 21 years, we understand and fully support his plans to take on new challenges,” said Newman and Walden in a statement.“We are extremely grateful to Joe for his partnership, strategic insight and all of his contributions to the company, and we know we’ll be working with him again soon.”
Kay Benbow is the leaving the children’s division of UK pubcaster the BBC as part of a major shake-up that makes Cheryl Taylor its content chief.Kay BenbowThe key change sees CBeebies chief Benbow leaving the Corporation at the end of the year, with current CBBC chief Cheryl Taylor becoming head of content.CBBC production chief Helen Bullough is getting an expanded role encompassing preschool focused CBeebies, meaning Alison Stewart is also out.CBeebies controller of business Jackie Myburgh is also exiting, while Claire Stocks’ position of head of interactive will also close. A head of curation and discovery post will replace it.In effect, the changes mean the roles of CBeebies and CBBC controller and head of CBeebies production are made redundant.BBC Children’s and BBC North director Alice Webb announced the changes in an internal note today. Broadcast first reported the story.Cheryl TaylorTaylor will now oversee all commissioning for BBC Children’s, overseeing content for under-16s.The news comes soon after the BBC revealed it would plough an additional £34 million (€38 million) into its children’s programming over the next three years in a bid to better engage kids on digital platforms.“We’re hugely proud of the content and services that we already offer children in the UK but we know that their needs and demands are constantly changing,” said Webb.“As we move to a more personalised, platform approach – something of the utmost importance for the whole of the BBC – we need a staff structure that can deliver this change.“The departure of such significant leaders is clearly a watershed moment for BBC Children’s and I am truly indebted to each of them for the superb work they have brought to the department over the years.”Benbow first joined the BBC in 1998 and rejoined in 2006 after a short spell away. She became controller of CBeebies in 2010, and was interim director of BBC Children’s in 2014 after Joe Godwin resigned.Webb then became director in 2015, and has since talked of the need for wide-ranging structural changes in order to face the challenge of on-demand platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, whom are increasingly important to platform-agnostic children’s audiences.
Liberty Global senior technologists Mark Burns and Ade Brittain used a presentation at the Cable Next Gen Europe event in London yesterday to reveal details of the cable giant’s access network technology roadmap for the next few years.Mark Burns, HFC architect, who heads access network strategy roadmaps at Liberty Global, said that the company’s roadmap fell into ‘business as usual’ activities such as increasing bandwidth, investing in CCAP and investing in node segmentation, on one hand, and investment in new technologies including DOCSIS 3.1, a converged internet network, the creation of a distributed access architecture via investment in Remote PHY, and virtual segmentation of the network, on the other.Burns said that Liberty is migrating its headend infrastructure to a single CCAP platform capable of delivering DOCSIS 3.1.He said that the company’s plans for bandwidth expansion means upgrading bandwidth-constrained networks to 1.2GHz downstream., switching off analogue TV and FM radio to enable a higher split between downstream and upstream traffic, and improving encoding efficiencies for TV.Burns said that the company is looking at Extended Spectrum DOCSIS – a technology that involves using Full Duplex DOCSIS chipsets to raise the spectrum ceiling occupied by upstream traffic to 492MHz or 684MHz while keeping upstream and downstream in separate blocks of spectrum – as an ‘innovation’ project – meaning that this technology is being evaluated but is not currently on the company’s roadmap.Regarding prospects for the deployment of Full Duplex DOCSIS, the combination of downstream and upstream spectrum to enable symmetrical services, which requires networks to have no amplifiers between the node and the home – the so-called N+0 architecture – he said that Liberty’s current network topology ranges from N+1 to N+10, suggesting that migration is some way off. Liberty is however deploying fibre and using RFOG technology to address enterprise markets where symmetrical services may be called for.Burns said that DOCSIS 3.1 is now live in a number of Liberty Global markets including Germany and Poland where the company is offering 1Gbps service. DOCSIS 3.1 will become to a ‘business as usual’ technology for the operator in the next reporting period, he said. He said that Liberty was currently testing Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) – a key part of the DOCSIS 3.1 spec for upstream bandwidth – and would deploy this by 2020.He said that plans for a migration to a distributed access architecture or Converged Interconnect Network are underway, involving digitising analogue optics and replacing analogue fibre nodes with Remote PHY devices. The company is focusing on Remote PHY, which Burns said would be rolled out with second-generation silicon in a European-friendly compact node form-factor from 2020.“This is about the convergence of multiple services onto a single network as well,” said Burns, who added that the Converged Interconnect Network will be deployed from 2019.While shying away from the alternative Remote MACPHY technology promoted by a number of technologists, Burns said that Liberty Global is evaluating the more recent development of a flexible MAC approach that allows for the deployment of nodes that can be used for either Remote PHY or Remote MACPHY configurations.Ade Brittain, senior manager, access network innovation at Liberty Global, accompanying Burns, said that the flexible MAC architecture “breaks down arguments and provides an opportunity to deploy technologies that match needs”. He said there was no need for “more debate between R-PHY and R-MACPHY”.“We want to leverage all the work done on R-PHY that will allow operators to deploy the hardware that matches use cases with standardised north and southbound interfaces,” he said.As a next step beyond Remote PHY, Burns said that Liberty Global is looking at the concept of the Virtual CCAP, moving away from purpose-built hardware to make use of commodity processors. “This gives improved agility and scalability and improved time to market,” he said, adding that the company is looking to initiate trials next year ahead of a potential rollout in 2020.He said that virtual segmentation – the deployment of Ethernet over Coax technology to overcome the pain of pulling in new fibres when nodes are split, which involves considerable expense in terms of public works where fibre is buried – is also being considered.Burns said that the combination of virtual segmentation with Remote PHY, establishing a point-to-point data link over existing coax cables – can enable operators to deliver faster broadband speeds without pulling in new fibre. He said Liberty Global had used this technique to deliver up to 7Gbps downstream and 1.7Gbps upstream depending on the quality of the plant in tests. The technology is at “an advanced stage of evaluation in Germany today and could be expanded to other markets”, he said.Burns said Liberty was also evaluating Virtual PON, a technology that enables operators to move to PON as an overlay on their exisiting HFC network.Other near term technology advances likely to be deployed include CCAP VOD, meaning converging VOD onto the CCAP platform being build by the company while still using DVB-C technology to deliver the on-demand stream. Burns said that as the operator moves to split nodes in the network it still needs to deliver VOD but wants to move that to CCAP to avoid investing in new Edge QAM devices, while paving the way for migration to IP VOD. “This will be rolled out shortly,” he said. Liberty Global already delivers IP VOD to its new advanced EOS set-top boxes, which are being deployed across its footprint.Burns said that Liberty was also looking to migrate more TV channels to DOCSIS, moving the long tail of content to IPTV. “This is about reclaiming spectrum from DVB and moving it to DOCSIS and reducing the need for costly node splits,” he said.