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By | August 23, 2000

      Here is the problem: you are a broadcaster needing to quickly organise an ENG unit and satellite uplink in some far-off spot for a news feed or sports event. Your usual source is already booked. What do you do, other than hit the phone and start calling everyone under the sun?

      The answer, says Iacto CEO Henrik Thomasson, is to call his company, which he claims is “the first independent intermediary for the broadcast industry”. It knows precisely where “many hundreds” of crews are day-to-day, often hour-to-hour. Iacto, named after the Latin word for ‘distribute’ or ‘spread’, has also lined up some useful contacts with space segment suppliers that are available for the cost of a single phone call or logging onto Stockholm-based Iacto is now up and running and has secured long-term contracts with broadcasters like Canal+ Spain, TV4, NSAB, Newsforce, Modern Times Group and Sonera. The business plan is simply to address inherent inefficiencies in the broadcasting industry that frequently sees buyer and supplier failing to locate one another.

      The buyer suffers the frustration of ever-rising costs in order to fulfil a need, while ENG/SNG crews suffer unprofitable downtime. So both can benefit from this “two-way street” service by being connected quickly and easily using either direct telephone contact or its website.

      Once a potential supplier is found, the broadcaster is free to deal directly with the crew. There’s another benefit for broadcasters: “When buying these services it is always free of charge as we make our money from commission,” Thomasson told Interspace at a London launch, adding that Iacto get its fees of around 10 per cent from the ENG/uplink crews. He said the time is right for the service. “Deregulation has started to create a problem for companies as you need to show a profit now. So it [the service] has not been as viable until now.”

      Iacto says it is already supplying mobile up-linking, OB trucks and transmission capacity for clients, and at IBC2000 in Amsterdam next month will increase the scope of its service outside Europe to a global market, and into new areas such as supplying broadcast services to start-up channels. “I’m sure we’ll see competitors coming along,” said Thomasson at the briefing, but with Iacto being the pioneer, he hopes it will become the first name to come to mind.

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