Sinclair Broadcast Group establishes a milestone by leveraging cloud-native public environment to distribute children’s programming to affiliates
Imagine Communications is working closely with Sinclair Broadcast Group to streamline and customise the distribution of U.S. broadcasters’ children’s programming by centralising playout operations in the public cloud. The new implementation, which went live-to-air in mid-October 2017 and is among the first instance of a major broadcaster moving a critical operation to a fully virtualized public environment, enables SBG to realize a variety of cost and business advantages.
KidsClick, a three-hour block of age-appropriate children’s programming airing daily on a number of broadcast stations, is SBG’s newest entry into the program content arena. By centralising the playout and ad trafficking operations of KidsClick in a virtualized environment using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, SBG is empowered to deliver programming and advertising that can be customized to the requirements of individual affiliates.
“The scalability and customisation capabilities that the public cloud approach offers is unlike anything we could do using a traditional, on-premises model,” said Del Parks, CTO, SBG. “And since we’re only delivering this programming for a few hours a day, the flexibility of originating in the public cloud is a far superior alternative to purchasing traditional equipment that would sit idle for many hours at a time. We also gain experience and confidence in this operating model that we can use for future cloud deployments.”
KidsClick operations are powered by Versio™ Platform, Imagine’s modular, software-only and cloud-native playout solution designed for fully virtualized environments, both private and public. In the KidsClick model, an instance of Versio, running a playlist and ad load, is assigned to each time zone. In the future, stations may customise programming and deploy targeted advertising to a specific broadcast area.
“This broadcast industry first is an important positive first step showcasing the power of Versio Platform running in a public cloud environment used to streamline operations, speed to market and tap into the flexibility and reliability of a virtualized environment for the distribution of broadcast content,” said Tom Cotney, CEO of Imagine Communications, adding that the project took roughly six months from concept to deployment. “SBG is demonstrating that even the largest broadcasters and media companies in the world have the potential to thoroughly improve the performance and efficiency of their operations by moving them to virtualized, geo-dispersed environments.”