The Client: International multi-channel station that broadcasts to the entire African continent
A major international multi-channel broadcaster (hereinafter referred to as “The Client”) based in South Africa, broadcasts to the entire African continent and provides DStv satellite television service in sub-Saharan Africa. Its objective was to include or replace advertising blocks in thirty-five of its operated channels.
The main challenge stems from the fact that the Master Control Room was going to be in the Republic of South Africa, while the video servers and routers doing the disconnections were going to be located near Winchester in the UK.
- The technical solution needed to make physical distance transparent to operators and hide the operational complexities of remote control from them. In addition, the entire system had to be completely automatic, so the only duty of the operators is supervision.
- Another challenge came from the wide variety of channels that required the system to cope with a variety of different audio distributions, audio formats, operating procedures, video file formats, etc.
- Lastly, the channels distributed by the broadcaster in its DStv service include the most prestigious brands in the world of broadcasting and therefore the quality and resilience of the service in all its forms is paramount.
Vector 3 Ad-Insertion software was chosen by the international multi-channel broadcaster to operate the system. The client’s server architecture was ideal to face the geographical distance between the control-monitoring and the physical location of the equipment.
The ingestion of the files into SA is done by FileIngestor and FileChecker. In the same installation, these files are ingested and converted and the playlists are generated by a third-party programming system. The files needed for the following days broadcast are delivered to an automated transfer system that transports them to the Arquiva facilities in England.
Once there, the files are automatically checked again to ensure that the transfer has not affected the integrity of the files, and they are stored on a NAS. Playlists follow a similar automatic path and are also stored on the NAS. The MediaManager monitor allows operators to monitor the entire process and be aware of any problems that may arise.
As a final step, MediaCacher moves files to local drives as the time for transmission approaches. Once there, they wait to be loaded into the blocks to be reproduced when the trigger for each particular channel arrives. This process is supervised from SA through Channel Monitor that synthesizes in its GUI all the information that allows the operator to know that everything is going well. As the final act of the workflow, the running records are repatriated to SA for use in the billing module of the scheduling system.