News broadcasters are required to re-think their operations from the ground up, as operations shift away from traditional workflows based on disconnected hardware systems, toward integrated software solutions that leverage standard IT hardware and technologies.
News broadcasters are under enormous pressure to evolve their business models. In order to empower larger numbers of non-technical personnel to create and play out quality content, broadcast operations are migrating away from proprietary, hardware-based workflows and toward all-IT, software-based production environments. Since these solutions run on commodity hardware, they pave the way for new workflow efficiencies, a business model built around OpEx rather than CapEx, less dependence on specialized technical staff, and the flexibility to deliver more powerful and scalable production environments. And on the software side, solutions have become stable and reliable enough that the broadcasters are gaining confidence in their ability to handle high-stake, high-budget live broadcasts.
For news organizations steeped in traditional, hardware-centric operations, it must feel as if the ground is shifting under their feet. They know the transition to IT-based operations is inevitable, just as it was with print and radio. They are facing growing competition for advertising releases from pure-play online news services and OTT video. At the same time, viewers have never had higher expectations for television news - not only for accurate and up-to-the-minute coverage, but also for stories that are presented in new and compelling ways.
As a result, news producers are under more pressure than ever to push the envelope of innovation and introduce new and different ways of telling a story. It goes without saying that they need to deliver breaking news to air faster than the competition, and to do it as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible. These challenges call out for integrated, software-based solutions that can leverage standard hardware and the existing IT infrastructure, offering easy-to-use tools that everyone in the news department - including sports and weather - can use to create content and deliver it to air.
Connecting the Newsroom. Against this complex backdrop of evolving consumer demand, news production challenges, and advancing IT technologies, vendors are developing the next-generation newsroom -â€¨a complete, end-to-end, producer-driven workflow focused entirely on content creation and playout. A unified, software-based environment and extensive automation come together to address every aspect of news production, whether it is setting up camera shots and controlling robotic cameras, providing software-based video switching, enhancing a story with sophisticated weather graphics, or generating replaceable graphics for a virtual studio.
In the next-generation newsroom, producers are in the driver's seat. No longer at the mercy of complex hardware and technologies that once created delays and required specialized technicians to operate, they are empowered to tell a story efficiently and in the exact manner they wish. They can also monitor reporting trends across the station.
Producers are Not the Only Winners
Stations are able to invest in storytelling by making content generation fast and simple. Also, they can preserve their capital budgets by moving to an OpEx business model that enables them to run more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Directors now have a single easy-to-use tool for constructing all of the cues for a show including cameras, switchers, audio, virtual sets, and graphics.
Editors can build, edit, and package graphics quickly and easily that are brand-conforming and indistinguishable from live graphics.
Art departments are able to unify the brand across a station, network, or station group and maintain content across all clients from a single interface.
The Indian Market
Avid is represented by Real Image in India, Media Alliance-Italy represented by CDM Broadcast, CMS Broadcast, Grass Valley, Ross Video, ENPS from Associated Press represented by Shaf Broadcast, and VTI-BEI are the major players who have been servicing the 417 news channels in India. Octopus marketed by SRSG Broadcast and Ark Solutions also have some presence.
Elements of the Next-Generation Newsroom
ChyronHego has elaborated in a comprehensive manner its vision of the next-generation newsroom. It enables a producer-driven workflow built around content creation tools that drastically shorten the time from a story's concept to its broadcast. Content management, distribution, and MOS interfaces with newsroom computer systems are delivered in a single server to enable sharing of both ground- and cloud-based content and unprecedented collaboration between users.
All functions are assembled together in a unified newsroom computer system that everyone can access instantly from their desktops, with pre-defined templates for efficiency and speed. In minutes, users can enhance their stories with news and weather graphics, edit content using non-linear editors (NLEs), create compelling and visually stunning broadcast touchscreens, and generate virtual graphics to accompany the station's virtual studio design. With access to cloud-based content storage through lightweight remote client software, field producers and editors are able to access available content elements anytime and from anywhere. Producers can order content directly without ever having to leave their familiar production environment, and they can work continuously while orders are delivered in the background. A simple and clear workflow connects the newsroom to the art department and the control room, freeing users to focus on writing the news and breaking it first.
For a station in a highly competitive news market, seconds count in the drive to deliver breaking news to air as quickly as possible. In a next-generation newsroom, a software-based live production workflow replaces functions that were previously the domain of expensive, specialized hardware, giving broadcasters a "virtual control room" for managing switchers, automation, graphics, and video playout from any location and anytime using a web browser. The software enables a repeatable, reliable environment for packaging and presenting the content with fewer touch points. And by automating all essential production functions, the newsroom is able to deliver the news to air quicker and with greater accuracy.
A side benefit is that newsrooms are now able to shut down the rumor mill by delivering accurate and professionally produced stories to air almost as fast, if not as fast, as online news sources whose information is often questionable. It is a win-win for news operations as well as viewers.
But this ecosystem is not just about speed to air - it delivers tools that producers and journalists can use to tell a better story with the correct and relevant angle, with unique features built in that add dimension and interest to the news.
For the growing numbers of stations that have invested in a sophisticated and realistic virtual set, a next-generation newsroom makes it easier to take maximum advantage of that investment. The mystique and complexity of virtual and augmented reality are stripped away, and these powerful technologies are now within reach of non-technical journalists. Using the same templated process described for weather above, they can generate highly sophisticated graphics to help tell the story in no more time, and with no more effort, than it takes to create a simple lower third.
In the end, a news operation is a business enterprise driven by audience share - so naturally, greater the audience, greater are the revenues from advertising and subscription-based services. Therefore, migrating to an all-IT production environment does not just benefit viewers; it is a powerfully compelling business move.
In a traditional business model driven by capital expenditures, specialized hardware that was not only expensive but also difficult to maintain and operate could be a tremendous drag on the bottom line, especially if it stood in the way of building audience share. But the equation is turned on its head in a file-based, software-driven model that shifts the focus to operating expenses and content creation. Here, profitability is tied 100 percent to an operation's ability to make more and better content that attracts broader classes of viewers.