Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

BBC receives Royal accolade for technical innovation

The BBC's Research & Development department today received a highly-acclaimed Queen's Award for Piero, the TV graphics system that has transformed sports broadcasting.

By laying graphics over the TV pictures, Piero gives sports presenters and pundits another way to view and analyse crucial incidents in the games, and explain them more effectively to the audience.

The Piero system, which went to air for the first time during Match Of The Day on Saturday 25 September 2004, was initially created by BBC R&D and has since been developed and licensed internationally by Red Bee Media. The "Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2011" has been jointly awarded to both organisations, for their collaborative work in developing the system.

Now in widespread use in sports broadcasting across the world, Piero has featured in global sports events such as RBS Six Nations Rugby and World Cup 2006. Further innovations, such as HD, enhanced the BBC's World Cup coverage in 2006 and Red Bee has sold systems to Sky Italia, TV Globo (Brazil) and Hong Kong i-Cable.

Piero works by creating a virtual stadium, which is synchronised to the "real" pictures coming from the TV cameras. Pictures of real players are transposed into the virtual stadium, where it is possible to view and analyse the game from different angles in animated sequences. In-game incidents, such as offsides and forward passes can be assessed by pundits from the best angle – even if the play has not been captured at this angle. The system can also render graphics such as distance markings so that they appear tied to the pitch.

Matthew Postgate, Controller Research & Development, BBC, says: "We are absolutely thrilled that BBC Research & Development has been commended with a Queen's Award. Since its debut on Match Of The Day, Piero has transformed sports programming for the better, helping our presenters to enhance the audience's enjoyment and understanding of the game. BBC R&D's collaborative work has driven innovation in global broadcasting for many years, and will continue to do so for many more as we move into the internet age."

Bruce Lynn, General Manager of Red Bee Piero, says: "We are proud that the Piero system puts the UK on the winner's podium for helping fans enjoy sport around the world."

Piero is used in over 40 countries around the world leading to 90% of its revenue coming from exports. At last year's World Cup in South Africa over 85% of all analysis effects used in the world feed came from the Piero system.

Notes to Editors

Queen's Award

The Queen's Awards for Enterprise are highly prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development. The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion is awarded to individuals.

The awards, given annually by HM The Queen, are only given for the highest levels of excellence in enterprise. BBC Research & Development already has seven Queens Awards to its name the award for Piero prize is the first the department has received since 2001.

2001 Queen's Award for the Digital TV chip (joint with LSI Logic)
1998 Queen's Award to Industry received for our work in motion compensated standards conversion (joint award with Snell & Wilcox)
1992 Queen's Award for NICAM 728 television stereo system
1987 Queen's Award for LF Radio Teleswitching (with the Electricity Supply Industry)
1983 Queen's Award for Teletext (with the Independent Broadcasting Authority)
1974 Queen's Award for Sound-in-Syncs (joint Research and Designs Department)
1969 Queen's Award for Field Store Standards Converter (joint Research, and Designs Department)


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