Report: Huge Gaps in Multiplatform TV Delivery Capability by US Broadcasters

written by: Richard Kastelein

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The rapid growth in the delivery of content for viewing on mobile and Internet-connected devices is outstripping the pace at which broadcasters have deployed the workflow and quality control systems needed to effectively support these opportunities. This conclusion is part of the study, U.S. TV Stations Infrastructure: The HD Transition Has Just Begun, released by Positive Flux, Inc., a firm that specializes in transforming media companies to address new opportunities.

"Many stations would benefit financially and creatively by modernizing their operations," said Don Perez, President of HD Consulting Inc. "The process of converting to HD presents a rare opportunity to get at a station's underlying foundation and get things right. Positive Flux provides hard data that supports the argument for looking beyond half-measures and instead fully embracing an HD infrastructure. Positive Flux gives broadcast engineers the numbers they need to make the case for getting the most from their station's HD conversion."

The study surveyed senior engineering management at more than 350 U.S. broadcast stations of all sizes including station groups, O&Os and independent stations. The results provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date view of the state of systems architecture and operational methods employed at network-affiliated stations.

"Broadcasters are justified in their excitement for the opportunities made possible by delivering TV services to mobile and Internet-connected devices, but few have equipped themselves to handle the sheer volume and variety of formats this entails," says Larry Thaler, president of Positive Flux. "Alongside completing their HD transition, stations should be carefully considering organizational improvements and workflow tools that will enable them to dynamically adapt their production and delivery chains without creating parallel organizations or new layers of technology."

The report includes analysis of several key infrastructure issues that will be significant to manufacturers, system integrators and station owners and engineers who will address the explosion of formats needed to support multiplatform TV. These include:

  • While almost 90% of stations have adopted non-linear editing, most have yet to take the next step of developing unified workflows that will enable them to eliminate costly process duplication in delivering to multiple platforms.
  • Many station executives view HDTV and new platform support as a cost of doing business, rather than an opportunity to rethink station operations and add efficiencies.

  • Stations groups have barely begun to realize the cost savings from shared production synergies, representing a huge untapped economic benefit and an important opportunity for streamlining processes.
  • Although all stations pass their network's HD feed, many have merely inserted an HD bypass switcher to air network content and therefore still need cost-effective solutions to upgrade their Master Control facilities. Those same facilities would provide a ready and logical location for supporting the output needs of mobile and over-the-top services.

  • Station engineers lack visibility into where their signals go after leaving their facilities. As stations embrace new economic models and new technology including mobile, interactivity, and addressable advertisements, knowledge of these downstream paths will become critical for new business development.

A complete executive summary of the report is available at

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