For over 30 years, NEP has been a worldwide, outsourced production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports, entertainment, music and corporate events. With 3,500 employees, they provide the technology, expertise and facilities to develop and deliver live broadcast events from the Oscars to the Olympics. Their services range from outside broadcast, studio production, centralised production and global playout, to extensive post production services such as visual effects, augmented reality, live streaming and media asset management.
They have supported productions in over 65 countries and have multiple facilities and technology hubs across Europe, Australia and North America. But they see one of their important bases on the Media Park in Hilversum, the Netherlands, as their launch pad for future global growth.
“NEP is involved in about 70% of all media processed by Dutch broadcasters,” explains Ralf van Vegten, MD of NEP The Netherlands. “From here we can offer our clients a full ‘glass-to-glass’ solution, from the camera lens to your home device and everything in between. We have it all here – from studios to the graphics and CGI expertise so essential for post production on programmes such as Game of Thrones, but also premium playout services and our own Content Distribution Network (CDN).”
The Netherlands is an innovation hub and a test market for the world
Ralf describes the Netherlands as “a pressure cooker for content creation & production, with its public broadcasters, large production houses, broadcast and cloud media infrastructure and IT and creative talent. This cluster of expertise forces us to produce high quality, high value content that fits our clients’ budgets. And, the facilities and technology mean we can get that content to market extremely quickly. The Netherlands is a test market for the world. If something works here, we can be confident it will work everywhere else.”
There’s plenty of evidence that media is a huge growth sector in the Netherlands. Forward-thinking companies benefit from a special combination of innovative technology, solid infrastructure and global connectivity. But Ralf would add another important benefit. “There is a wealth of accumulated media and IT knowledge and creative expertise here,” he says. “We nurture this extensively. We cooperate closely with several technical universities and we even have our own schools programme to train the next generation on the latest technology and market developments.”
Hilversum is leading the world in innovative media
NEP intends to grow its global business from the Netherlands, with Hilversum as one of its main hubs. That’s because they see the Hilversum Media Park as offering the visionary thinking and supportive culture essential to staying ahead in such a fast-moving industry. “The media industry is turning into a market where all content is produced within a centralised infrastructure,” explains Ralf. “Programmes will be mass produced and then localised – with subtitles or even a completely localised virtual set. That means the programme you see in the Netherlands for example could look very different when it is distributed in the UK. This level of localisation is already happening.
“The next step is the really exciting part. That is personalisation based on viewer profiles and data. This is being driven by the need for new commercial models. It is our vision and we have already taken the first steps.
“The Dutch are leaders in this customised content creation technology. In fact, European markets are adopting this approach much more quickly than in America and Asia. We are well ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to personalising and customising the viewing experience.”
We rely on a diverse team and an open culture
Many international professionals have joined NEP and made Hilversum their home. “This openness is part of Dutch culture,” says Ralf. “We have welcomed people from all over the world but particularly from the UK, Germany and India. Most of them say they love living here because of that openness.
“Our local government is also doing a good job of creating living spaces for people who want to work in media. Also, unlike in many other parts of Europe, the language is not an issue: everyone in the Netherlands speaks English. This is a huge help when new people are settling in and building their social networks.”