Greg de Bressac
Vice President of Sales - APAC,
Grass Valley

Broadcasting during lockdown

Amid the global lockdown and ongoing travel restrictions brought about by COVID-19, audiences want to stay connected with their favorite content more than ever. The broadcast and media industry is tasked with keeping first-class content on-air, whilst navigating restrictions on conventional operational models. All this must be achieved with budgets that are static or are shrinking.

What has not changed is the big question facing all broadcasters and production companies today, namely, how to create greater volumes of first-class content more efficiently. The reduction in live events – and, therefore, live content – has driven many viewers toward online content. Stream Hatchet reports that online streaming platforms have seen a 43-percent uptick in viewership after March 29, 2020. To keep pace with this rapid shift in viewing habits, broadcasters have to be able to handle very short timescales to market; the time between conception and launch is now weeks rather than years. Services today must be agile and highly adaptable in the face of dynamic audience demands. In other words, they must be able to spin up and down very fast.

This is where the need for the hyper agility of the cloud comes in. Our new cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) Agile Media Processing Platform (GV AMPP) is a game-changer. This solution unlocks the power of elastic compute for live sports, news, and playout workflows, helping customers easily transition to public, data center, or hybrid infrastructures that are future-ready and ultra-nimble. GV AMPP allows production teams to flexibly create customizable workflows, with a variety of apps like multiviewers, router panels, test signal generators, switchers, graphics renderers, clip players, and recorders – all of which can quickly be deployed to support a wide range of workflows. Built on a unique microservices architecture based on five core technologies – fabric, timing, connectivity, identity, and streaming.

Working smarter is something all broadcasters are looking to do more, and in the current conditions created by COVID-19, the reality of remote/at-home capabilities, in which only cameras need to be deployed on-location, is significant. Grass Valley’s remote production workflows offer broadcasters and content owners of all sizes greater freedom to cover live events and news effectively from within the quarantined areas. We have seen a spike in remote production in the region, driven by leading Indian broadcasters like Star Sports, which has leveraged the agility that remote workflows deliver with great success. As well as the obvious time and cost savings they bring, these models allow the same team of creative and on-screen talent to support multiple productions in a day, and loop-in the best operators and editors, ensuring that production values remain consistently high across an entire season. With GV AMPP, this has taken one step further, allowing truly distributed production, with technical and creative staff able to work from their respective homes. With travel restrictions likely to be in place for some months, this type of cloud-based production approach is invaluable in keeping live content on-air.

Another way Grass Valley is helping to protect broadcasters, content owners, and production companies, during these trying times, is through its Business Continuity initiative. The initiative provides customers with enhanced operational support by offering a series of free offers, discounted repairs, and 24×7 access to its global technical support team at no cost. Also, while a small number of components are typically sourced from impacted areas, we have made accommodations within our supply chain to source these materials locally.

The broadcast industry is relied on to get breaking news to viewers, and keep their operations running smoothly, while following social distancing guidelines. Grass Valley is here to help with tools and support resources to ensure that no matter where their teams are working, they can keep viewers connected and informed. 

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