Case Study: A New Way to Get TV News Content

October 24, 2013, 13:19 by dliu

The Newsroom’s Problem

Year after year, Pew Research reaffirms that local TV channels remain the dominant way Americans get their news at home, “a reminder of the central role television still plays in news consumption,” according to an Oct 2013 report.  In response, more local TV stations have been adding news time to their programming schedules, resulting in a greater appetite for short-form, well-produced TV news content. Yet at the same time, most news directors surveyed by the annual State of the Media report say they have no plans to hire more staff.

So the problem presents itself:  how do you fill a growing news “hole” with no additional resources?

New Programming Resources

Enter ProPixTV, a startup company run by several former TV executives who saw the potential for independently-produced feature content that could be syndicated to local TV stations, and used to sell more advertising inventory. “There was a need for more localized news content,” explains Joe Coscia, ProPixTV’s Director of News and Content.  “We are a unique new content initiative with revenue opportunity.  We are providing local news content which has evaporated from local TV newscasts because of costs, lack of resources, and the shift to online.  What we do with ProPixTV is good old storytelling, newsgathering, and specialty reporting.”

Being TV pros, the ProPixTV team organized the production side of the operation very quickly:  TV journalists with certain specialties – like food, cars, tech, travel, health and more – were contracted to produce a series of spots which would be relevant to local audiences. A “beta” library of evergreen material was produced.

Distribution Problem – Solved!

Then came the search for the most efficient way to aggregate these videos and deliver them to client stations.  Remember that these are large broadcast-quality files — too big to pass around through social media — that require professional-grade transmission.

“The big bottleneck was distribution,” recalls Mathew Sheen, Director of Development for ProPixTV. “Newsrooms currently use a mix of acquisition methods, but many of them are expensive or unreliable.  They might require leasing satellite time or buying proprietary ingest equipment.”

Then they learned about TelVue Connect, the cloud-based media management system that solves many of these problems at once, and at a lower price point than competitive systems.

From the contributors’ point of view, TelVue Connect has two big advantages:

  1. Contributors need only an Internet connection and a web browser for drag-and-drop uploading, even when dealing with large files, multiple files, or DVDs.  No specialized equipment or software needed.

  2. TelVue Connect accepts a wide range of video file formats, and automatically  transcodes them in the cloud for the end user.  No more manual transcoding.  “All the conversions are done in cloud, freeing up local clients who don’t have to worry about changing codecs.  And the video is pristine.  That’s priceless.” – Mathew Sheen.

From the TV station’s point of view, there are additional benefits, like:

  1. the ability to browse and preview videos right in any browser interface

  2. the administrator’s ability to moderate content – before allowing a program to go to air

  3. audio normalization to CALM standards

  4. closed captioning support

  5. metadata templates with fields to add the entire script

And from ProPixTV’s point of view, TelVue Connect is a huge selling point for their product, because it makes it much easier for prospective clients to view, download, and re-broadcast.  It took only a five-minute tutorial at one of ProPixTV’s beta partners for the editorial staff to know how to use it.

Efficient, Fast, Cost-Effective

Mathew Sheen says the decision to go with TelVue Connect was an easy one to make:  “We now use TelVue Connect for point-to-point delivery.  It is so cut-and-dried simple!  The technology is seamless, and it is invisible — integrated right into the station’s infrastructure.”

TelVue Connect can also be used by groups of TV stations to share content among themselves.  This can apply to geographically-linked stations, stations that share a common interest (like higher education), as well as groups of stations owned by a single company.

ProPixTV found TelVue Connect to be efficient, cost-effective, and a great time saver.  “It’s the user experience: quickly browse the media, quickly read the scripts, and quickly deliver the content.  Any TV station or program syndicator that is looking for ways to move video that’s too cumbersome for FTP sites and too expensive for transponder time should start looking at TelVue Connect.”

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