Hickstead's two international fixtures will now be available to a much bigger audience, thanks to the forthcoming launch of Hickstead.tv and live streaming - while the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting will be shown live on Horse & Country TV for the first time.
Action from the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting (25-28 June) will be streamed live from Friday to Sunday, giving viewers three days of great showjumping coverage. Hickstead's June fixture will now be available to a global audience, with showjumping fans from around the world able to watch action from classes such as the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, the Bunn Leisure Master's Challenge, the British Speed Derby and, of course, the Equestrian.com Derby - one of the most famous classes in equestrian sport.
The Equestrian.com Derby will also be shown live on Horse & Country TV on the afternoon of Sunday 28 June, so viewers in the UK and Ireland will have the option of watching on Sky 253. The channel is available in more than 10 million homes in the United Kingdom, with more than 1m people tuning into H&C TV during the final quarter of 2014.
"We think this combination of live streaming and live broadcast television points the way ahead for wider coverage of equestrian sport, both in the UK and abroad," says Horse & Country TV's Managing Director Richard Burdett. "We're delighted to be able to broadcast the iconic Equestrian.com Derby live on our channel, and to be working with the forward-thinking team at Hickstead."
For Lorraine Meadowcroft, CEO of title sponsors Equestrian.com, the launch of the streaming service is an exciting development. "To have the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting live streamed as well as being shown live on Horse & Country TV is an amazing opportunity to bring the event to a new global audience," she says. "New technology is fantastic and will give many thousands of equestrian fans around the world the opportunity to watch this iconic event, and Equestrian.com is really happy to support the Hickstead team in this new venture."
The Longines Royal International Horse Show (28 July - 2 August) will once again be broadcast by Sky Sports from Friday to Sunday, with action from the final two days of the show also being available on Hickstead.tv. Friday's feature class is the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, which will be shown live on Sky Sports. Saturday's Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup and Sunday's Longines King George V Gold Cup will also be broadcast on Sky Sports, while all the action from the International Arena over the weekend will be streamed live on Hickstead.tv.
"We're delighted that Sky Sports have given us permission to live stream coverage online in addition to their broadcast, as this will allow us to reach a vast new global audience," said Hickstead Director Edward Bunn. "We are looking forward to working with the team from Sky Sports again this summer and continuing a working relationship that first started in 2005."
The live stream televised content on Hickstead.tv will be professionally produced by Impact Media with multiple cameras, presenters, features, commentators and interviews. Anyone with an internet connection, be it mobile, Wi-Fi or fixed, will be able to watch Hickstead. Viewers will also be able to watch using a smart TV, Now TV box attached to a standard TV, computer, tablet or smart phone. The streaming will be in four different qualities, and devices will automatically select the optimum quality to suit the internet connection and device.
"Online streaming has worked incredibly well for other major equestrian events, including the Longines Global Champions Tour, and we've had an increasing number of enquiries in the past few years from showjumping fans who were keen to watch our international shows via a live stream," adds Edward. "The televising of our sport has changed a lot since the days of extensive coverage on the main terrestrial channels, and Hickstead must change and adapt to ensure that our events are seen by as many people as possible. Now, with a mixture of televised broadcasts on Sky Sports and Horse & Country plus live streaming, we're able to offer the best of both worlds."
Other benefits of the new live streaming service include viewers being able to rewind the live coverage to any point during the broadcast, while as soon as the stream has finished they will be able to watch the whole broadcast in its entirety again. All broadcasts will be archived on Hickstead.tv and will be available on 'catch up' for at least 12 months. A highlights programme will be produced of each event and will be available after the event on Hickstead.tv.
The new look www.hickstead.co.uk website will relaunch later this month, with sister site Hickstead.tv going live soon after, boasting photos and galleries alongside extensive video clips.