20th May 2015 – Racing Post
The two major racecourse groups in Britain have formed a joint venture to provide pictures and data to those who broadcast British racing. Racecourse Media Group (RMG), the company responsible for the media activities of 34 courses – including Ascot, Cheltenham, Epsom, Newmarket and York – and Arena Racing Company (Arc) – which operates 15 courses including Doncaster and Lingfield – have announced they intend to create a single production centre “to benefit the horseracing and betting industries”. The move calls into question the future of betting shop picture providers SIS and TurfTV.
The two groups said the venture would ensure costs of production could be shared and efficiencies found while allowing British racing to “significantly invest” in broadcasting technology. Pictures and data from British racecourses would be delivered into production facilities co-owned by RMG and Arc and based in Ealing Studios in London. The two groups said it would “provide one seamless and standardised feed for those wishing to develop programmes around racing, while maximising efficiencies for the benefit of racecourses and the customers for their pictures”. RMG and Arc said they also intended to unify their on-course production which would reduce overlap and overheads such as as outside broadcast facilities.
RMG chief executive Richard FitzGerald said: “This shows how far we’ve come in our ability to unify as an industry to ensure we are fit for the future and can give our customers, whether they are racing broadcasters or bookmakers, the pictures and data they need from a single source. “This announcement is about more than driving down costs; it’s about sharing future investment, facilitating innovation and creating a platform that works for the future commercialisation of our racecourses’ media and data rights.”
Arc managing director Tony Kelly added: “Sharing facilities and unifying our operations will create a single, world-class operation for our pictures and data from UK racecourses. “This move will also enable us to work more constructively with the bookmaking industry in the promotion of betting on horseracing. “In addition, it’s about bringing greater control over the sport’s rights which is hugely important as we look to the future.”