This is the second in our series of mini-blogs looking at the world of control. In the first we looked at CiAB technologies and the problem of a lack of manual control options – not always, but often. This is, as some manufacturers have realised, a mistake. Based on our conversations, broadcasters and playout providers have realised it as well.
We have been hearing about CiAB for 15 to 20 years but it’s only in the last few years that it’s really come to fruition in terms of larger organisations being able to deploy it. However, it’s now too often the case that people view CiAB technology as the be all and end all. But if you talk to broadcasters at the level that we do, they immediately ask, how do you get your branding media into it?
Why is branding media so important?
As one executive from a playout provider said to me several years ago, try taking all the branding and “now and next” graphics off MTV and see what you’re left with. A load of videos played back-to-back. That’s not a channel.
Let’s use an example, say I have 120 channels that I have to move material around, how do I deploy CiAB technology across all or some of those without having to significantly increase my staffing levels, and therefore cost? Each channel requires its own branding and interstitials – variants on a theme, obviously – so the complexity is huge. If you take the leading channels – like BBC1 – then the complexity can seem overwhelming. But even basic thematic channels aren’t graphically static.
We have had several conversations in recent months about the problem of getting material – often branding material – onto CiAB systems across a facility, in the right place at the right time. Of course, the desire is for this to be automated. It would be fair to say that those who don’t work in this particular broadcast subsector may well assume that this is a problem long since solved. It isn’t.
Enter Mediant, our highly successful media management tool for branding to do this manually for a long time but we are now in the process of extending this so that it can be automated to be deployed across playout facilities. One of the key challenges is making sure it works with multiple automation systems and those various protocols and that’s a key part of our expertise. Watch this space.