Radio: the next generation of video shows

Radio and TV were during decades two different worlds, but we have been able to see an evolution of radio towards video. With the development of internet, social network and technology, the industry is more than ready to trigger its mutation.

Looking back in time, I remember those radio stations installing one or two webcams to film their studios while broadcasting at the same time some useless information and some adverts. There was no interest for the audience as it was only used as a way to sell advertising space. In fact many time you could connect on the website of the radio station and see a beautiful and empty studio while the automatic playlist was running.

Fortunately the market is changing with real shows which put the audience / viewers in the action. We are talking about real live production now, with multiple HD cameras, multiple video feeds, graphics inserts, studio branding (completely synchronized with the radio playlist and the shows actions) and distribution.

I have been amazed by some solutions like StudioTalk (from Broadcasting Center Europe), the solution was recently installed at NRJ Belgique (a leading radio located in Belgium), RTL (France), FunRadio (France), BNJ (Jura) and RTS (Switzerland). From one single touchscreen it gives access to a complete production tool, with content management, live feeds management, integration of picture in picture, live interviews, animated graphics and distribution to any streaming platforms and social networks.

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When visiting the studios at RTS (Switzerland), the final broadcast result going out from StudioTalk is at a level which outperforms many television shows, but we are still on radio there, we are looking at radio and actually if you turn off the video and listen to the show, the experience is equally immersive.

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Of course its not only a question of technology, there is also a big work from the radio station to create content which suits both the video and the radio worlds. But again, those visual radio solutions integrate automated production systems which create the interactions, integrate the right graphics and switch to the right content in real time, so there is no excuse… Radio is becoming a fantastic video show and you decide if you want to listen or to watch it.

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So if you are at home looking at your favourite show on TV, you can go out in your car switch on your radio and continue to listen to it, and finally while taking a coffee at the restaurant, you can watch it on facebook.

A few years ago, many people were talking about the radio extinction, I believe that radio is evolving and that the next generation will enjoy richer content with maximized interactivity.

So what about you? Do you enjoy listening and watching radio? Do you know other “visual radio” stations? In your opinion, which radios should go visual now?

Sky News Australia installs vinten robotics and autoscript intelligent prompting in remote studios

Cutting-Edge, IP-Based Solutions Reduce Operational Costs Through Centralised Control of Remote Broadcasts

Sky News Australia has made a major investment in state-of-the-art robotic camera support systems from Vinten and Intelligent Prompting solutions from Autoscript for its six remote studios located throughout Australia. With the latest build-out just completed in Sky News’ Canberra Parliament House studio, the Vinten and Autoscript equipment is a vital link in the network’s strategy to reduce operational costs through centralised, IP-based control of remote broadcasts.

Sky News is a 24/7 multi-channel network providing international news, local news, and current affairs programmes to viewers throughout Australia and New Zealand. With headquarters, master control, and main studio based in Sydney, the network operates remote studios in Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

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In the newest project, Sky News has fitted out its Canberra Parliament House studio with three Vinten FH-145 robotic pan/tilt camera heads, driven by the Vinten HD-VRC control system, three Vinten Quattro pedestals, and three Autoscript EPIC-IP 19″ prompting monitors with integrated talent feedback monitors, driven by Autoscript WinPlus-IP News prompting software. Amber Technology, a Vitec Production Solutions Premier Partner, supplied the Vinten and Autoscript solutions and is partner for the build-out.

“Cost is a significant factor in today’s television production environment,” said Rick Zecevic, chief technology officer, Sky News Australia. “By allowing us to control all of our remote studios from Sydney, IP-based networks and technologies like those from Vinten and Autoscript are playing a huge role in helping us operate as cost-effectively as possible. At the same time, we have the flexibility of local control at each location when the need arises.”

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Rick Zecevic, CTO at Sky News Australia, and Tom Pavicic, Regional Sales Manager, Australia and New Zealand, at Vitec Production Solutions.

Zecevic added, “The Vinten robotic heads and pedestals, coupled with Autoscript’s prompting solutions, are a perfect choice because of their outstanding remote-control-over-IP capabilities, renowned reliability and performance, and advanced features. Plus, Amber Technology is providing us with outstanding local support throughout the process.”

With the completion of Sky News Studio 1 in Sydney, all six of the network’s studios will be fitted out with robotic heads from Vinten and pedestals working in concert with Autoscript Intelligent Prompting solutions.

“Sky News Australia is already reaping the benefits of lower overhead and operational costs since implementing our cutting-edge Vinten robotics and Autoscript prompting systems, which can be remotely controlled over an IP network with minimal local operator involvement,” said Tom Pavicic, regional sales manager for Australia and New Zealand, Vitec Production Solutions. “The ability to reduce costs while increasing quality is an ongoing goal for so many of our broadcast customers, and leveraging state-of-the-art robotics and prompting technologies, particularly within IP-based workflows, is allowing our customers to achieve this goal, just as we’ve seen with Sky News.”

FedNet Uses TVU Grid for Exclusive Live Coverage of U.S. Presidential Impeachment Hearings to Schools and Media Outlets

Capitol-based Multimedia Provider Selected TVU Networks’ IP-based Solution for Its Scalability in First Live Streaming Initiative

FedNet is providing live broadcast coverage of the impeachment inquiry hearings and the upcoming U.S. Senate trial against U.S. President Donald Trump this month using TVU Grid from TVU Networks, a technology and market leader in IP-based live video solutions, for video distribution over IP networks. FedNet maintains a secure video network throughout the Capitol complex, broadcasting thousands of hearings, press conferences and live coverage of Senate and House Floor debates every day. FedNet’s selection of TVU Grid’s IP-based video switching, routing and distribution for the impeachment hearings marks the first live streaming initiative by FedNet.

FedNet is providing live gavel-to-gavel, multi-camera switched coverage of the hearings, plus live interviews with legislators. Multiple event broadcast feeds will be available as a service offering on TVU Grid, with FedNet looking to reach educational institutions with relevant fields of study such as political science and journalism as well as commercial media outlets.

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“We needed an infinitely scalable set up,” said Keith Carney, President, FedNet. “With TVU Grid, we can scale to any number of locations to our network without increasing bandwidth requirements at each site. And we can route live video streams using TVU Grid anywhere in the world with sub-second latency. It’s an extremely fluid system, which is perfect for us. And we’re very confident in the robustness of the platform with the number of national media companies currently on TVU Grid.”

TVU Grid provides point to multipoint bidirectional live video distribution over IP. Using the TVU Grid platform, users can view public video sources that are available around the world, and request to take the stream and make it available for their own viewing audience. TVU Command Center, the centralized management platform for all TVU solutions, is also the source of control for TVU Grid. Through TVU Command Center, you can see the status of all transmissions and TVU Servers.

“The hearings this month are a large national and international news event,” said TVU Networks’ CEO Paul Shen. “We’re honored and thrilled FedNet selected TVU Grid for its scalability and centralized control for their first live streaming endeavor. We look forward to what they’ll be able to accomplish with future events such as the State of the Union, political conventions and the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections.”

FedNet is now live streaming the hearings on TVU Grid. Current FedNet and TVU Grid users can access the stream through TVU Gridlink on TVU Grid. Others can preview the live stream by signing up for TVU Gridlink at gridlink.tvunetworks.com.

Riedel Bolero and MediorNet Provide Comms Solution for Winterthurer Musikfestwochen

For the seventh straight year, Riedel Communications Switzerland AG provided a comprehensive communications infrastructure for the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen, held last August in the historic old town of Winterthur, Switzerland. In its biggest commitment to date for the world-famous music festival, Riedel supplied a communications and signal routing backbone based on its Bolero wireless intercom and MediorNet real-time signal transport, processing, and routing technology.

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Now in its 45th year, the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen showcases the best in Swiss music including international newcomers, promotion of young talent, and an exciting supporting program. The festival spanned 12 days and included five stages, featuring over 70 acts and supported by 1,000 volunteers.

“The Musikfestwochen grows bigger every year, and this year’s production was the largest and most complex ever,” said Sandra Smolcic, Co-Director of the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen. “It is essential that we have an experienced and reliable partner at our side, and Riedel Switzerland is that partner. It’s the perfect win-win situation: We get a first-class and tailor-made communications backbone, while Riedel Switzerland leverages our close partnership to implement new concepts and solutions at the festival. With its local Swiss presence, Riedel’s close proximity to our operation and optimal service are also critical success factors.”

Riedel once again provided the radio-based communications infrastructure for this year’s festival, deploying 110 digital radios and seven radio groups to serve the organization, security, and medical services as well as supply and cleaning. Working within the constraints of the special and challenging infrastructure of the old town, Riedel devised a solution for optimal radio coverage by installing a repeater in the bell tower of the city church.

For the first time, Riedel added 15 beltpacks of the award-winning Bolero wireless intercom system integrated with three MediorNet modular frames. The MediorNet nodes networked the front of house, stage, and sidestage. Thanks to the range of the Bolero beltpacks, Riedel was able to cover the entire festival area, spanning the entire old town of Winterthur, with just four antennas.

“As an outstanding cross-disciplinary festival that is carried out with a lot of passion and initiative, the Musikfestwochen in Winterthur is particularly close to our hearts,” said Roger Hess, General Manager, Riedel Switzerland. “Rich in tradition, the music festival is growing steadily without losing any of its unique charm. At the same time, the demands and challenges placed on organizers and infrastructure expand every year. In this sense, the festival is a wonderful example of the scalability and flexibility of our solutions.”

NRJ Belgique goes visual with BCE’s StudioTalk

NRJ Belgique recently started to video broadcast its radio shows. To do so the leading Belgium radio station selected StudioTalk, the visual radio solution from Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE).

Part of NGroup, the leading French speaking radio group in Belgium, NRJ Belgique is a private Belgian radio station broadcasting in Wallonia and Brussels.

Following the multimedia development of its activities, NRJ Belgique decided to upgrade its studio with a visual radio solution, allowing the broadcast of its radio shows.

The radio station wasn’t looking for a simple multi-camera solution, they were looking for a solution to ensure the automatic camera production, manage the studio branding, integrate the branding of the station in both the branding screens of the studio and the final channel broadcast and of course distribute the feeds to the web.

StudioTalk was the perfect match for NRJ Belgique. As a matter of fact, BCE’s all-in-one solution can produce, and record shows seamlessly in automatic or manual mode. All the cameras, the sets and the feeds are controlled from one single touchscreen. The management of the content as well as the branding and effects are centralized within the same interface and the distribution can be easily triggered to any streaming platform or social network.

“Our solution is quite unique, as it give to radio stations the best of both worlds, on one hand it is a powerful video production and distribution solution and on the other hand it matches perfectly the so called radio environment, allowing NRJ Belgique to use the solution with almost no learning curve” concludes Olivier Waty, Technology and Project Director at BCE.

Broadcast Solutions Finland modernises Director’s Cut production control rooms

The Finnish production company Director’s Cut, based in Helsinki, has recently equipped part of its production facilities with new technology and optimised workflows.

Broadcast Solutions, with its Finnish subsidiary, planned and implemented the measures. The aim of the modernisation was, besides renewing the technology, to increase flexibility in daily work and optimise production workflows. Director’s Cut’s existing infrastructure proved too outdated and inflexible to cope with the increasing number of simultaneously produced sports programs.

In the two renewed multipurpose control rooms, Director’s Cut creates the Finnish national programmes for international sporting events (e.g. football Champions League, ice hockey or tennis). Director’s Cut’s primary customer is MTV3, Finland’s largest private television station.

After the successful implementation, it is now possible to produce up to six Finnish-language programme feeds simultaneously from two multipurpose control rooms with only two producers. One Mainfeed and two Sidefeeds can be produced per control room. Audio processing takes place in a Lawo Powercore. Control is via Lawo VisTool user interfaces and an 8-fader Ruby console for the Mainfeed and via two 4-fader Ruby consoles for the two Sidefeeds. Broadcast Solutions created the VisTool interfaces especially to meet the individual workflows of Director’s Cut.

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The new facility also includes six commentator booths equipped with Lawo LCUs and 43″ Sony monitors. One Grass Valley 1ME Kula vision mixer and two Grass Valley channel branding processors are available per control room for image processing.

As part of the renewal, Broadcast Solutions also replaced the video matrix, which had become too small, with a 168×168 Grass Valley Sirius 830 matrix with an integrated 96 x 12 multiviewer. A Lawo VSM system controls the complete installation.

One challenge of the successfully implemented project was the short project period and the fact that the modernisation was carried out during ongoing operation with only ten days available for the actual switch-over.

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Customer demand for personalized TV services is spurring majority of broadcasters to offer tailored ads

Over half of broadcasters are investing up to 20% of their budget in trialing new customer content or services.

Four-fifths (80%) of broadcasters are considering implementing ads tailored to the consumer but are increasingly falling behind streaming services due to hesitance around adopting cloud technologies, according to research carried out on behalf of ATEME, the emerging leader in video delivery solutions for broadcast, cable, DTH, IPTV and OTT.

The survey of those in middle management positions or above within the realms of TV and broadcast also found that 96% of broadcasters feel there is a demand from customers for more personalized services. As over a third (34%) of broadcasters currently generate revenue through adverts, offering personalized adverts could help them increase this revenue. Consequently, over a quarter (26%) are currently looking into how to offer these services to customers.

“Our research found that more than half (58%) of broadcasters are investing up to 20% of their budget in trialing new customer content or services as they prioritize personalization to offer customers enhanced viewing experiences,” said Remi Beaudouin, Chief Strategy Officer, ATEME. “By using technology and the data available to them to tap into this trend, traditional broadcasters will be able to create a tailor-made viewing experience and potentially open up new revenue streams,” he added.

As broadcasters look to adopt the latest technologies, 66% say they would consider moving to the cloud, while 28% have already done so, in a move that would allow them to store their content catalogue more effectively and add more personalized services, as is the case with streaming platforms.

The speed of cloud will also allow broadcasters to innovate faster, using virtual broadcasting to create new one-off channels in a matter of hours to capitalize on events and develop offerings to appeal to more niche audiences. This technology is currently being used by almost two-thirds (60%) of broadcasters, while of the broadcasters not currently doing virtual broadcasting 70% said they will do so within a year. However, despite the use of cloud becoming more commonplace in broadcasting, 44% cited a perceived lack of control over their content as their biggest concern about this development.

“Cloud has been surrounded by many misconceptions over the years which have deterred broadcasters from adopting it. However, as broadcasters get to grips with the potential impact of cloud on their business and the services they are able to offer, we are seeing its adoption increase,” added Beaudouin. “Moving to the cloud will allow broadcasters to adopt new technologies and make more effective use of their data so that they can begin to offer the level of personalization more often associated with streaming platforms and their algorithms.”