While the pace of technology change in television news has been dizzying over the past decade, broadcasters’ shift to Internet-based tools is still in its early days, according to top engineers speaking at TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum in New York on Tuesday.
During the panel discussion “Tech Leaders on the Future of Newsroom Technology”, moderated by G.A.P. Media Group CEO and former Fox technology exec Andrea Berry, representatives from the broadcast and vendor communities described how IP delivery, cloud-based workflows and powerful media asset management systems will make it easier for broadcasters to capture, share and distribute news content.
“There’s never been a more exciting time to be in this business than today, ever,” said Del Parks, SVP-CTO of Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Sinclair has embarked on two major initiatives based on cloud technology. One is an enterprise-wide deal with Avid Technology for cloud-based editing and content management systems across its 65 news-producing stations. In addition to eventually standardizing editing platforms across Sinclair, which has been on an acquisition spree in recent years, the long-term Avid deal will also implement a content management system that will store proxy versions of each station’s stories in the cloud to facilitate easy sharing amongst the group.
Sinclair is about two-thirds of the way to completion in converting to the Avid software systems, which run in a virtualized environment at each station on common off-the-shelf IT hardware. Parks said the next step is to develop a media asset management (MAM) system that will better help Sinclair share content among stations. The group shares about 500 stories per week, through a mix of FTP (file transfer protocol), Avid systems and a Masstech product.
Sinclair also chose a fully cloud-based system to launch its “KidsClick” daily children’s programming block last July, eschewing traditional playout gear for Imagine Communications software running in the Microsoft Azure cloud, with LTN Global Communications providing IP delivery to stations. Sinclair had already been using LTN’s network to deliver its digital subchannels Charge!, TBD and Comet.
“KidsClick is all IP,” said Parks. “The only time it goes to HD-SDI is at the TV station, because the encoders take HD/SDI in.”