With two goals from Zinedine Zidane, and a stoppage-time mark from Emmanuel Petit, France trounced Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 World Cup, winning the club’s first championship title in front of 75,000 hometown fans at the Stade de France, just north of Paris.
Twenty years later, France has another chance at glory in Russia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the world will be watching thanks to a Canadian company from Montreal transmitting live, worldwide coverage of all 64 games via its state-of-the-art encoding and fibre optic network.
Since its inception in 2000, Aldea Solutions has been at the forefront of broadcast technology, with their fibre optic infrastructure ensuring the highest quality, reliability, and security, with the lowest possible latency.
Building on its success with three previous Summer Olympic Games, along with the FIFA World Cup championships since 2006, Aldea was the obvious choice to deliver coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to 14 major broadcasters around the world, including customers in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Uruguay.
"We are very proud of the great vote of confidence that the broadcast industry continues to place on our company.” says Lionel Bentolila, president and chief executive officer of Aldea. “Our success delivering past global event coverage were all key factors in being selected for this mission."
Bentolila counts the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as one of the company's greatest achievements to date. “It was the biggest event Aldea was able to deliver in its history, servicing a total of 20 different customers from different locations in Brazil, with transmissions reaching five continents.”
In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Aldea is using the same processes and know-how it designed to bring the Rio Olympics to the world. But the company has evolved, and now boasts the most advanced solutions in the industry, offering 4K, or Ultra High Definition video in real time, with best-in-class compression efficiency.
“Technology is constantly improving so we always need to adapt to changes.” says Bentolila.
Supported by the operational team at its headquarters in Montreal, Aldea currently has a technical support team in Moscow monitoring their high-capacity, fibre-based routes out of Russia. The team is also deploying the latest transport and video encoding technology platforms to ensure crystal-clear program delivery.
There are only a handful of companies in the world that do what Aldea can do with major global sports events. Expertise and experience, says Bentolila, but also something else; “Passion. People at Aldea are passionate about what they do, and it is evidenced in their dedication to their customers.”
A testament to their customer-focused approach, Aldea enjoys long-term business relationships with most of its clients, including some of their first international clients. “Our first export destination was the U.S., with companies such as Reuters, the Associated Press and Fox News.” says Bentolila, “The Fox Networks Group is still an important client of Aldea, and we handle a large part of their transmissions in South America.”
There is no secret to international success according to Bentolila. “You need determination, perseverance, coupled with knowledge of local exporting markets and a customer-centric approach. One key aspect as well is to properly assess that your product is adapted to the export market.”
Although the World Cup is a flagship event, every year Aldea transmits thousands of hours of sports, including, ATP and WTA tennis, MLB baseball, UFC, Triathlons and numerous football (soccer) leagues from Europe and South Americas, among others.
When asked his thoughts on the winner of the World Cup this year, Bentolila was elusive; “The 2018 edition has proven to be very unpredictable to date and really anything can happen. It’s refreshing to see smaller teams beating well-established and former world champions. In the end, like in business, if you have a sound strategy and good players that can execute it, results will come.”