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?

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.

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.

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.”

The European Central Bank selects BCE for advanced live streaming

Following a European Invitation to tender, the European Central Bank selected BCE for handling the webcasting of live and on-demand monetary policy decisions press conferences.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro. The ECB was looking for a video partner to ensure the coverage of the Governing Council press conferences and other event webcasts.
BCE was selected for its advanced webcasting platform allowing content reception, transcoding, packaging and worldwide distribution.

 

This project benefits from the recent acquisition of Freecaster, combining expertise and know-how of both companies to perfectly answer the needs of the ECB.

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Connected to RTL City, its headquarters, via dark fibre, the teleport of BCE will ensure the downlink of the ECB production feeds. With its advanced IP-based infrastructure, BCE can transcode the live content and repackage the streams. BCE’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) will then ensure the worldwide stream distribution.

“For this project, BCE will rely on three pillars, its teleport, allowing content reception from anywhere in the world, its 1000 square meters datacenter with IP connectivity and transcoding platforms and its CDN with a worldwide connectivity,” explains Baptiste Fosséprez, Products & Services Development Director at BCE. “The software technology layer will be a mix between BCE’s existing streaming solutions and Freecaster advanced solutions.”

The live streaming expertise of Freecaster grants access to new solutions such as an advanced video player. Besides the stability of the player and its classical features such as adaptive streaming and multiplatform compatibility, the system will be completely customized to ECB’s needs and will integrate a video teaser with a countdown before broadcasting and multilingual selection during the live stream.

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The videos will be distributed as live stream and as Video on Demand (VoD) on the ECB website as well as on social networks including Periscope, Twitter and YouTube. The live stream workflow will be monitored from BCE’s Network Operations Centre (NOC) during each production and the ECB will have access to advanced statistics tools to both measure the audience and monitor the quality of service.

“Acquiring Freecaster was part of BCE strategy to develop its Total Video offer. The ECB project reflects perfectly the new dual expertise of BCE (linear and non-linear), with the combination of live broadcast and a VoD portal.” Concludes Frederic Lemaire, CEO at BCE.

janda Productions to grow the digital reach of Huawei New Zealand TV Awards with Grabyo

janda will use Grabyo’s browser-based video production platform to clip, edit and share video clips from the Huawei Mate30 Pro New Zealand Television Awards to social media in moments. By providing live social video updates, janda will ensure the awards can be accessed from anywhere in the world by increasingly mobile-centric audiences.

The production company will increase exposure for event sponsors and raise awareness of the event with branded video bumpers, automatically added to clips distributed through Grabyo.

janda will also raise awareness of the awards by leveraging the social reach of New Zealand’s finest television talent who will be in attendance.

Once clips are created using Grabyo, janda will share relevant branded clips with high-profile influencers at the event and encourage them to distribute across their own channels. By tapping into the social networks of actors, directors, and producers across New Zealand’s TV industry, janda is able to reach a highly targeted audience with tailored video content.

Andy Dowding, Co-founder and Director of janda Productions, comments: “The Huawei Mate30 Pro New Zealand Television Awards is a huge night for the local media industry. The awards have grown each year in popularity and we want to make sure the night is enjoyed by as many people as possible. This is why we will be creating more content for our channels than ever before, as well as sharing content with the faces of TV in New Zealand – to make sure everyone can celebrate the achievements of this fantastic industry.”

 

Elliot Renton, Head of APAC at Grabyo, added: “We’re excited to help janda Productions enhance the digital content offering of the Huawei Mate30 Pro New Zealand Television Awards. janda is a market-leader, and combining its expertise with the power of Grabyo’s platform will result in something special for New Zealand’s TV industry. This partnership will allow janda to connect to social audiences with quality content.”

janda Productions will use Grabyo’s Studio platform to clip, edit and distribute content to its social channels in real-time. Grabyo Studio is accessed through a web browser, only requiring a laptop and internet connection to use. The platform’s intuitive tools reduce the cost and complexity of digital video production and distribution to all major mobile, social and online video platforms.

Freecaster, Fastly and Flowplayer partner for Tomorrowland 2019 live streaming

Celebrating the 15 years of its music festival, Tomorrowland is the world’s biggest electronic dance music event, taking place in Belgium and more recently in the Alps.

Since the Amicorum Spectaculum in 2017, Freecaster has been doing the live streaming of the event. The company managed to deliver high quality video to the world, using its strong platform, a large Content Delivery Network and some innovative features.

For the 2019 edition, The Book of Wisdom – The Return, Tomorrowland asked Freecaster to live stream the event for 72 hours non-stop. To ensure the perfect continuity of the streams as well as offer to the viewers the most immersive experience, Freecaster teamed up with Fastly and Flowplayer.

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Since its foundation in 2004, Freecaster has developed as a specialist in online video services for both live and on-demand high-quality content serving customers such as TV and radio broadcasters, brands, event organisers and sport and cultural events. Among Freecaster’s customers are the Belgian Public Broadcaster RTBF as well as fashion houses (LVMH group and others), international institutions (European Commission, Bundesrat – the German Federal Council) and sports championships (FIM Motocross World Championship – MXGP). Since 2019, Freecaster is a subsidiary of Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE), a European leader in media services, system integration and software development in the areas of television, radio, production and postproduction, telecommunication and IT.

“Innovation has always paved the way of BCE activities. The all-IP infrastructure leaded our company to hybrid and cloud while increasing the distribution of media content on a global scale. The acquisition of Freecaster and its integration in our workflow was a significant move to the non-linear market. Tomorrow, the engineering of new solutions will enhance the development of BCE in the digital media world,” says Frederic Lemaire, CEO at BCE.

Tomorrowland footprint reaches more than 10 million viewers with multiple artists performing at the same time on several locations at the festival. Sharing this fantastic experience with the online community is a complex task and Freecaster has managed to deliver the right solution to meet the organizer needs.

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“The target for our customer was to expand the festival experience to the electronic community, with the opportunity to follow the main action of the festival live and experience the thrill of Tomorrowland,” explains Ray Dulieu, CEO and founder at Freecaster.

Flowplayer worked hand in hand with the developer team of Freecaster to ensure the perfect implementation of its FP8 – Native, award-winning HTML5 player within the Freecaster’s Online Video Platform (OVP). This dynamic HTML5 video player developed by Flowplayer, has a reduced size ensuring faster loading time and stability. It also features a dynamic DJ line up allowing viewers on web and mobile to switch seamlessly between the different live stages within the same HTML5 video player.

“The new version of our video player, with the multi-stream features, allows live streaming, live switch from one stage to the other and gives a clear view of what is coming next,” adds Ray Dulieu.

Freecaster’s OVP streamed four live stages on Tomorrowland’s website, app and on partner networks as well as five radio feeds for selected internet radio networks. During the two weekends of the festival, the OVP was monitored using Freecaster’s monitoring dashboard. Thanks to data provided by Fastly, Mux and Touchstream, the interface gives a detailed overview of the traffic statistics. Freecaster’s engineers can access to the dashboard remotely, solve issues immediately ensuring the best viewer experience.

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To deliver the best experience to millions of online viewers, Freecaster teamed up with Fastly. The company edge cloud platform enables the delivery of live video over common HTTP streaming formats, including Apple’s HLS, Microsoft’s HSS, Adobe’s HDS, and MPEG-DASH. For Tomorrowland 2019 it ensured the live stream of 3PB with a 250 Gbps average transfer rate (Freecaster, September 2019). Fastly’s fast and globally distributed network provided the viewers with instant video streams, without buffering nor interference. During the event, Fastly’s Network Operations Centre provided Freecaster with Live Event Monitoring, daily reporting and dedicated on-site support.

“Fastly’s network speed and self-service features helped to considerably improve the performance of our live streams for the largest dance festival in the world. Fastly also provided a dedicated team of network engineers to monitor the event from their Network Operations Centre, ensuring any issue that could arise would be addressed quickly. Offering more than peace of mind, it allowed our teams to focus on other areas of the delivery workflow during the event,” concludes Ray Dulieu.

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