Actua celebrates sixty years of news production

Geneva-based production company, Actua, this year achieved its 60th year in business. Founded in 1952, Actua became one of the first private companies to offer satellite newsgathering services in Europe.

Patrick Coenen, Arnaud Berdal and Patrick Siegenthaler
Managing Director, Arnaud Berdal, said the driving force behind the company had been Olivier Beroud who joined the company about 30 years ago and migrated from being a soundman to an entrepreneur.

Arnaud said, “When Swisscom lost its monopoly, he took a risk and bought a flyaway. It stood in the garage for six months without being used but then came the conflict in Sarajevo and that’s where the partnership with EBU began.”

Since then Actua has been sending - on behalf of EBU - transmission and production equipment to major special events all around the world.

But with times changing, so too is Actua. With more competition from locally-based uplinkers overseas, Actua is now increasing its presence in the world of sports.

“Sports is a nice business to be in,” said Arnaud who previously worked for Eurosport. “If you commit to cover every Saturday game of whatever team in football or rugby, it's fixed income and it's very helpful nowadays to secure revenues and investment.”

For this reason, Actua has invested in a high-spec production and transmission vehicle which they call an OB/SNG van. It’s designed to be not only a SNG vehicle to cover news stories but also to be an OB unit for sports transmissions having been equipped with up to six cameras and full HD.

When Actua is employed by broadcasters for unilateral productions at major sports events, the vehicle will have the added advantage of being compact and cost-effective, particularly as broadcasters covering big championship games have to pay high fees to secure a place on the TV compound.
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