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Mediator selected by TG4

Leading Irish language broadcaster TG4 has selected Pharos Mediator to build better workflow across the business and prepare for new content delivery and archival.

Leading Irish language broadcaster TG4 has selected Pharos Mediator to build better workflow across the business and prepare for new content delivery and archival.

The selection of Pharos Mediator was based on an intensive EU procurement process in accordance with Government funded organisations.

As Neil Keaveney, director of technology for TG4, explained: “We looked at media management solutions roughly five years ago. At the time we felt that the available technology and solutions were not mature enough and our needs could still be met by a combination of file and tape-based systems.”

However, since its launch in 1996, TG4 has grown its audience substantially and was an early pioneer of broadband-based TV services, which it launched in 2003.

The multi award-winning broadcaster is also part of the scheme run by the Broadcast Commission of Ireland to archive media content in high resolution for future generations as well as providing programming to schools in 32 counties via the HEAnet national high speed network.

As John Higgins, systems/project manager for Media Asset Management systems at TG4 explained: “With more content required for on-demand, a strong in-house production team and high definition TV just over the horizon, we were starting to feel the strain on our people and resources.”

Following extensive research at several industry trade shows and backed by a six-month project to catalogue their existing workflows, Keaveney and Higgins began the formal EU tendering process in late 2007. The procurement project reduced the number of prospective suppliers from six to just two with a combination of Sony and Pharos proving the best fit based on a tough final assessment criterion grading features, reliability and flexibility.

“It is a balancing act between all the different criteria but we were particularly impressed by the way Pharos manages workflows, the strength of Mediator’s desktop user interface and the fact that Pharos provides an open API,” commented Higgins. “We are a pretty self sufficient organisation and we felt that a system that would allow us to make modest changes in-house without recourse to external developers fitted well with our ethos.”

The project is currently going through final equipment testing with the first ingest phase due to go live in September. The Pharos solution will act as the key integration platform between other key technology systems from MediaGenix, Omneon and Sony.

“The system is going to have a profound and positive long term effect on our organisation,” said Keaveney. “The benefits will be felt across every department and will ultimately let our staff focus on their production and content preparation jobs and less on the time-consuming administration duties that have gradually taken up more of their valuable time.”

The new system is HD compliant even at the desktop. The Pharos browser-based user interface opens up the possibility of TG4 utilising remote services for graphics design or post production which have traditionally been of limited value due to its remote location in Connemara on Ireland’s west coast.

“TG4 entertains nearly a million viewers every day, producing everything from live news and sport, as well as highly popular in-house shows such as ‘Paisean Faisean’,” said Russell Grute, marketing director at Pharos. ” An award winner for its promos and idents, TG4 also offers the TG4 BEO VoD service. Pharos and Sony have worked closely to devise one of the most tightly integrated systems ever, to improve productivity and allow TG4’s creative and technical teams get the most out of every piece of content and equipment.”

Final roll out of the complete solution is planned for mid 2010.