At the end of January 2020, the Antenne Réunion channel evolved into HD broadcasting. The project was a success thanks to a tight schedule, committed and agile teams, the competence of Lora Solutions, Anyware Video and integration led by BCE (Broadcasting Center Europe).
Antenne Reunion, broadcast on satellite, DVB-T and operators’ boxes, is the first private local channel on Reunion Island. More than a channel, it is a complete media ecosystem comprising a TV channel, an integrated advertising agency, websites (media and classifieds on employment, training, etc.) and diversification activities.
With more than 28% market share, Antenne Réunion is the island’s favourite channel. Its programmes include local productions and events, as well as programmes from premium channels such as TF1 and M6. Among the programmes produced directly by the channel, the news is the most popular with viewers.
The channel was founded in 1991 and has, for the past two years, been launching a project to switch to HD (High Definition) which included three major phases. It is currently in the third phase: the broadcast upgrade. The first step was the redesign of the production management with mainly Ross equipment, be it Xpression or Carbonite mixer (January 2019); the second phase was the upgrade of the TV news set with Panasonic HD cameras (August 2019) and the third phase (January 2020) is the change of playout and the installation of Anyware Video servers to broadcast in HD.
“We had a gradual approach to change the production line before we started broadcasting. This allowed us to take control of the tools as they were deployed,” says Fabrice Chinjoie, Director of Technological and Digital Innovation at Antenne Réunion.
BCE led the overall project. In May 2019, BCE accompanied Antenne Réunion in the modernization of its HD production management. After analysis, BCE helped the group design a technical room, create custom furniture and select the technology and solutions best suited for the project.
BCE advised the group to migrate to a centralised platform based on scalable IP. After this consulting phase, BCE’s experts set up the new platform and three weeks later the HD production control room and eight cameras for the production and news studios were installed.
To ensure the knowledge transfer, BCE offered local training sessions at Antenne Réunion premises or at BCE on the temporary customer platforms. As a result, the staff were immediately operational in their new environment.
Up until 2001, the automation was on Broadstream Oasys. With the switch to HD, Antenne Reunion decided to switch to Anyware Video. The channel uses BCE’s Traffic Solutions and, in this evolution, decided to add Lora Solutions’ channel branding.
“This technological choice allows us to have solutions with French-speaking interlocutors and the integration has been very fast. It was supposed to be done in the first half of the year, but we accelerated to achieve everything in the first month of the year. In terms of methodology, all the integration took place on site, whereas usually integration is done at BCE, and then the material is sent to the site. There has been a great reaction from the Antenne Réunion teams and partners to move quickly in setting up the new workflow,” continues Fabrice Chinjoie.
Dynamic channel branding
Every day, the channel produces two news bulletins, one at noon and another in the evening (with a duration of 30 to 45 minutes) as well as other shows. The channel has two stages, one for news and one for production (with a green screen). Television news uses a lot of infographics. A solution was proposed by Lora Solutions, one of the new providers of the channel, as part of the implementation of HD.
The complete solution includes two channel branding servers (main and backup) and two customer preparation stations. Technicians can prepare the branding on a dedicated channel and do an HTML preview. It is possible to use the solution for linear channel branding controlled by automation, but also to do live channel branding on air with manual triggers.
The customer application also allows you to create software button boxes for manual control and immediate publishing of the pre-configured elements. For example, it is possible, while on air, to move the Antenne Reunion logo, to change its size or to hide a logo (on a partner programme stream). The distribution of graphic content in manual mode also allows quick interaction in case of emergency, health or cyclone alert messages.
Lora Solutions’ solution is also used to brand a radio show with added graphics. Just one operator can manage everything on their own. Lora Solutions did on-site training and on-air support at the launch on January 27. For the editing of its programs, Antenne Réunion has Tiger box production stations with Adobe Premiere Pro for news editing and storage on EditShare. In addition to its main programmes, Antenne Réunion also offers diversification activities such as teleshopping and distance sales.
“We had met BCE who were looking for a dynamic channel branding system and they were convinced by our solution. We did a remote demonstration to the channel technical management and then we were selected,” said Hélène Ly of Lora Solutions.