Imagine Communications and Disney/ABC Television Group Collaboration Still Making Headlines
The media can’t seem to let go of the big story coming out of Las Vegas this spring. Even though a couple of weeks have passed since the attention-grabbing event concluded, reporters and analysts are still churning out detailed accounts of the historic pairing and weighing the implications of its aftermath.
One media outlet referred to it as a “turning point” in the broadcast industry.
You were thinking Mayweather vs Pacquiao?
No. Sorry. That pairing turned out to be a bust.
What still has industry tongues wagging is the collaboration between Imagine Communications and Disney/ABC Television Group to transition the media giant’s global programming playout, delivery and network operations to an IP cloud architecture. Unveiled at the opening of NAB 2015, the landmark deployment was one of the most talked about events of the four-day conference and exhibition.
But the buzz didn’t die in Las Vegas. The weeks following NAB have brought a steady stream of detailed and thoughtful coverage of Imagine Communications’ collaboration with Disney on this future-focused project.
As they say in the news biz, it’s a story with legs.
Here’s a sampling of some of the post-NAB coverage:
A TVNewsCheck article, “ABC Blazing Trail to Brave New IP World,” by Phil Kurz provides a detailed description of how Disney/ABC Group is transforming its business by virtualizing master control and other elements of its global operations in a non-disruptive way:
The network is taking a big technological leap this fall, running its master control and routing functions with a cloud-based hybrid IP-baseband system with critical hardware and software products from Imagine Communications. While the network’s transition to a hybrid IP-baseband environment is profound, it will be completely transparent to ABC affiliates and O&Os, which will continue to receive a baseband signal via satellite as if nothing has changed.
Frank Beacham, of The Broadcast Bridge, describes the role some of the underlying Imagine Communications technology will play in optimizing Disney’s cloud-based playout and distribution operations. The April 28 article “Disney/ABC Moves Control Room And Playout To The Cloud” spotlights Zenium™, a software-based workflow framework that powers the Imagine Communications’ cloud architecture — VersioCloud — by abstracting discrete functions of the master control process, including files, graphics, audio and video processing, branding and events, into software components. The article offers a glimpse of Zenium in action through a quote from Imagine Communications CTO Steve Reynolds:
What Zenium does is takes each one of those individual master control functions and turns it into a software service, Reynolds said. Imagine can use those services to build a software ecosystem by putting those components together in the right order. VersioCloud uses those Zenium components to build an end-to-end workflow for master control and cloud-based playout.
Several observers picked up on the added agility the transformation delivers to Disney, enabling the broadcast leader to transition additional operations to a virtualized environment in the future, including this account from FierceOnlineVideo:
Further, Disney-owned ABC Television Group announced a deal with Imagine Communications earlier this month that will see much of its facilities-based broadcast infrastructure shift to a cloud environment. While that deal currently does not directly tie its broadcast operations to its OTT offerings such as Watch ABC, the infrastructure strategy could make doing so much easier in the future.
The redundancy and operational efficiency benefits of moving operations to the cloud were flagged by several commentators as highlights of the Imagine Communications-powered architecture. Holly Ashford of TVB Europe, for example, noted how the “geo-dispersed platform” allows Disney to aggregate “national operations into a unified entertainment delivery solution.”
The extended attention this groundbreaking deployment is attracting speaks to the significance of the milestone and its implications for the media industry’s future. The vision of video processing, playout and distribution moving to IP has shifted from concept to concrete — and industry observers are taking notice.
For those still looking for the latest on the pay-per-snooze in Las Vegas, Imagine Communications has you covered.
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