Global Advance wants to ‘disrupt’ TV production outsourcing, says Ian Hogg

Covering the A-Leagues for Paramount was the start, with challenger brand looking to expand

Men’s football leagues around the world recently entered six weeks of mid-season breaks as the planet’s best players turn out for their national teams in the FIFA World Cup.

The break means no men’s A-League until late December. However, the new season of A-League women’s recently got underway.

Covering the A-Leagues in Australia and supplying the content to broadcaster Paramount for 10 and Paramount+ is industry newcomer Global Advance (GA).

GA has a bold ambition. To disrupt a sector it claims hasn’t seen any true structural innovation in a long time. That sector is television production facility outsourcing – whether it be commissioned by a sporting body, a broadcaster, or a production company.

The two chief disruptors come with a strong background in broadcast media. The Global Advance partners are Chris McMillan and Ian Hogg.

Ian Hogg and Chris McMillan

McMillan is the former founder and chief executive of Advance which became Global Television, known today as NEP. In addition, McMillan managed production services businesses throughout Asia. Hogg is a former chief executive of Fremantle Australia and Asia Pacific in addition to time spent running the Becker Group, World Sport Group and his own Asian television production distribution and online business based in Singapore.

Hogg told Mediaweek he and McMillan joined forces almost three years ago.

“GA is a company with a new lean forward attitude to service clients both in Australia and abroad,” said Hogg. “That starts with the latest technology and the best partners to deliver the best stories. The cost of manufacture is coming down which is fortuitous as acquisition costs, especially around sports rights is increasing.

Global Advance: Challenging the duopoly

“NEP and Gravity Media are both very well-run, established production services companies,” said Hogg about the existing production outsourcing giants. “Chris and I thought that duopoly could be shaken up a bit. We don’t need to dominate the sector to derive a solid return on capital. There is a tremendous intersection between great storytelling, incredible technology and affordability. I haven’t ever met a client who wanted to pay more.”

Investing in the best tech was the first thing Global Advance undertook. “We worked with Grass Valley to develop, and system integrate the best and most technologically advanced remote production facilities in the world. That investment has already delivered over 300 games of football, seamlessly.”

Global Advance on location(above), Control room (top)

Who is Grass Valley? Hogg explained: “In production services land, Grass Valley is one of the largest suppliers of specialist television technologies.”

In addition to choosing to work with Grass Valley for its innovative technologies, Global Advance has also partnered with Telstra Broadcast Services for its Australia-wide connectivity. Hogg explained: “GA does live telecasts, one day from Queensland and the next from Perth, and making sure you can get that signal to where it needs to be, Telstra and their network does that better than anybody.”

The first contract that Global Advance signed was for the coverage of both the men’s and women’s A-League matches. “During the first season in 2021, the A-League was the most disrupted sport in Australia. There were 240 games of football, more games in a season than either AFL or NRL, and 88 of them were postponed because of Covid.”

Just getting the football on the park last year was a triumph, not just for us but for the A-Leagues as a whole. It was a remarkable collaboration with Danny Townsend [A-League’s CEO] and his team. Both companies share a similar DNA, we are new and want to shake things up, to do things differently. Entitlement isn’t a word either company understands.”

Paramount’s Simon Hill covering the A-Leagues

GA has also set up a Media Training Academy in association with TAFE in NSW and Victoria which has already introduced over 35 people into the company. “Chris and I wanted to give something back to an industry that has given us so much. Production Services needs an influx of new talent and wow, have we found some remarkable, enthusiastic young professionals. We plan to double down on that investment over the next 18 months.”

Hogg was tight-lipped about what might be next, but he said we might not have to wait long to find out the details. “Our pipeline is remarkable; the interest and faith the market has shown Chris and me is humbling.

“When you start something from scratch, you can think differently, and run a purpose-built overhead. Add that to a nimble, can-do attitude. There isn’t much that my partner Chris McMillian hasn’t seen in this sector. At some point, most people in the market have either worked for or with him. That granular experience is just something very special. We know it as do our clients.”

Hogg finished with, “GA is here to stay, our investment will significantly shift in the next twelve months as we grow market share. We don’t need to be the biggest, but we certainly want to be the best.

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