Eurotek plans staff expansion as audio visual business grows
Future Proof: Firm is leading the way in broadcast and AV technology in Ireland
Kevin Moore, managing director of Eurotek: “We bring a broadcast mindset to a project and that’s why we tend to win the prestige projects.”
“We designed and installed the infrastructure for TG4. That was the first, file-based, server-based TV station to go live in the world,” recalls Kevin Moore, managing director of Eurotek. “We had visitors from all over the world to visit that. It was cutting edge.
“I won’t say it was a wing and a prayer. It was a very solid plan but, as with anything new like this, there were a lot of early days issues that had to be resolved and fixed. It was the first server-based playout TV station anywhere. People had great road maps for doing it but we were the first to actually go live with it and that’s just common practice now.”
For the last 50 years, Eurotek has been at the forefront of broadcast and audio visual technology in Ireland. Founded by Drago Readich, who had arrived in Ireland as a Croatian refugee before going on to study at UCD and later have a hand in the setting up of RTÉ, the company has adapted and survived the constant changes of broadcast and AV (audio visual) technologies.
“In 2012/13, we worked with RTÉ to convert their station playout to server-based, eliminating video tape, and to high definition,” says Moore who joined the company in 1983 when there was only a staff of eight. “We won a European award for that jointly with RTÉ: it’s an IBC Innovation award.”
He has seen the company grow, tighten its belt during the recession and grow again. As with most companies the immediate impact of the recession meant projects were cancelled, salaries reduced and staff let go but it also brought about a shift in the focus of Eurotek.
“I would say AV is now probably 70 per cent of our business and content creation and broadcast is probably 30 per cent. That’s a factor of two things. We’ve grown the AV business but the broadcast business has shrunk so that balance has shifted.
“Our key selling point in this area is that, because our heritage and our background is engineering to a broadcast standard, we bring a quality view to an AV project.
“We don’t win the cheap tenders where the cheapest guy on the block gets the gig. We never get that because we are too fussy. We bring a broadcast mindset to a project and that’s why we tend to win the prestige projects. We tend to win the people who appreciate the difference between fast, dirty and cheap versus quality, sustainable and high-end.”
Advances in modern broadcast technologies has also forced the change in company focus. After all when Readich founded the business, AV technology amounted to overhead projectors, slide projectors and epidiascopes. Editing equipment has also moved on, not just in terms of technology but also costs, explains Moore.
“To put it in perspective, a three-machine editing suite in 1993 would have cost you probably somewhere between €250,000 and €350,000 for what you can now get on a desktop or on a Mac for €8,000 comfortably.
“To be honest, post-production, editing and so on is actually a really small part of our business now in turnover terms. We still look after those clients and do a lot of other things with them but it would have been 30 per cent of our business at one point and, if it was 5 per cent of turnover now, that’s about the height of it. It’s not because there are less customers, it’s just because the cost of implementation has gone down so far.”
Expanding its staff numbers again, Eurotek is hoping to recruit five more people over the coming months while also investing in its current workforce, with training opportunities in new areas of technology. It’s something they have always provided but now more formally, having done a training needs analysis across the organisation.
“We are all techno geeks in our own way, we like technology so we are always reading up. You get a message on WhatsApp, ‘check this out’ or ‘have a look at this’. That’s across the board, not just senior people. It could be a technician who might say ‘I saw this cool piece of tech, have a look at this’.”
After 50 years, in an ever-changing sector, Eurotek must be doing something right. With a client list that extends from the State’s newest start-ups to big organisations like RTÉ, Kerry Group, Aviva Stadium and Croke Park, it’s not all about moving pictures, says Moore.
“Our philosophy is, if we educate our customers and lead them in a certain direction, that improves their business and then our business improves on the back of that. We help them be successful. If they’re successful we are successful.”