Oz upstart bowls over UK TV

Oz upstart bowls over UK TV

Interactive graphics developer Pineapplehead has swooped on a lucrative two-year contract with UK television station Channel 4 to provide graphics, statistics and replays for its cricket coverage.

In bagging the contract, the Australian startup has served it up to UK graphics giant Alston Elliott, which until now, has been Channel 4's incumbent graphics technology provider.

Pineapplehead has signed the contract with British production company Sunset and Vine, which produces the channel's cricket coverage, and includes all first-class international matches televised in England beginning with England versus Pakistan in May and the Ashes series in July.

The announcement is Pineapplehead's second big win for the summer after the developer struck a similar agreement for Channel Nine's cricket coverage in Australia last September. However, Pineapplehead's Channel 4 agreement extends to developing TV news highlights packages and all on-screen graphics, a statement released by the company said yesterday.

To oversee the project, the company's director of technology and co-founder Peter Lamb, will be relocated to London when Pineapplehead sets up offices there in March.

According to company MD Evan Kourambas, Pineapplehead had intended to establish a London office to launch its European growth strategy.

"We always said we would open an office there, but we didn't want to set up the office with the intention of getting work. We've got the work now and we're setting up the office on the back of that," said Kourambas.

Kourambas is optimistic the agreement will lead to follow-on agreements with the television network. Channel 4 currently features extensive golf and horse racing coverage, two sports which Pineapplehead has additional offerings on.

"Once we establish our cricket broadcast technology credentials in the UK, we intend to aggressively sell some of our other Australian incubator products such as virtual horse racing, Green Reader golf graphics and Playtrac, our player tracking technology designed for team sports," said Kourambas.

In related news, Lako Vision, the company's distribution arm, has announced the availability of two new products designed to superimpose computer text and graphics onto a video signal. CORIOgen Eclipse, manufactured by Vine Micros, converts computer graphics into standard video and costs $949 per unit. The CORIOgen Pro SG unit, designed to handle post-production and broadcast-quality conversion, costs $2968.

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