With its seven television channels and six radio stations spread across Spain, news represents one of Spanish Radio and Television (RTVE) Corporation’s main pillars. The company’s Canal 24 Horas (24/7 news channel), its Teledeporte (sports channel) and telediarios (daily news bulletins) have generated leading audience market shares over the last few years, writes Simon Hayward (regional sales director of Northern and Southern Europe, Avid).
Because of this growing consumer thirst for quality programming, RTVE has seen substantial increases in the volume of content created by its channels. And this was the catalyst to exploratory investigations to invest in an enterprise-wide media asset management system. No mean feat as it had to meet RTVE’s stringent requirements of storing hundreds of thousands of hours of footage but also be sufficiently flexible and reliable to provide media access from multiple locations.
A challenging brief
As Spain’s largest and most influential multimedia group, RTVE needed an expert in media asset management to advise, implement, transition and train staff on the mammoth task that is full-scale newsroom digitisation. RTVE’s overall objective was clear: to implement a file-based workflow capable of increasing the flexibility, speed, productivity and quality of their entire news production system.
After evaluating a wide range of offerings on the market, RTVE decided the answer to their challenging brief was an end-to-end Avid workflow. With the concepts and designs for the digital workflow in place, work began. The plan: to eliminate the daily use of videotape, bring the group fully into the world of file-based workflow, speed up and improve the quality of production, and generally make it a slicker, more professional operation.
To meet the tough challenge of implementing a MAM solution across diverse environments and locations, while at the same time incorporating remote access, media sharing and transfer facilities, a close working partnership was essential. We recommended Avid’s asset management solution, Interplay, to sit at the heart of the integrated news workflow. The other key components making up the end-to-end news solution were ISIS 7000 shared storage, AirSpeed Multi Stream servers, Interplay Assist, NewsCutter, iNEWS Instinct and iNEWS Command.
As with any large-scale project, we approached it one step at a time. The master control centre at Torrespaña was the first site to go entirely file-based, and after that success, RTVE asked us to follow up with similar projects in its Mérida, Las Palmas and Sant Cugat Del Vallés (Barcelona) facilities. Each of these sites included an ISIS 7000 shared storage system and Interplay production asset management system for ingest, archiving, coding, transcoding and transfer.
The creation of news bulletins is a fundamental function in RTVE, and we helped to advise them on the best tools to get bulletins to air quickly and efficiently. Avid iNEWS Instinct was picked as the journalist’s tool primarily because it allows them to work with text, video and audio in one application. And to help all contributors find the right clips and accelerate the editorial process, Avid Interplay Assist was chosen as it allows them to add locators, comments, annotations and personalised notes. To support the key journalist iNEWS Instinct editing stations, Avid NewsCutter craft-editing systems were installed to ensure the visual quality of stories before playout.
For master ingest and playout, RTVE contributors put in Avid AirSpeed MultiStream servers. And for regional centres, playout of daily news programmes is handled by Avid iNEWS Command with its dynamic playlist management.
With the end-to-end Avid workflow in place, RTVE can now connect its seven regional production centres. And it has allowed them to optimise access to legacy assets, data stock audiovisual archive, and all the recently acquired material used in news and post production.
The new production infrastructure has enabled staff across all areas of the news production chain to access content. This brings many benefits. It enables contributors to edit the most recently acquired video at their own workstations while the same material is made available across the rest of the organisation. It allows locally stored content to be accessed from any production centre. It makes online media at Torrespaña, the heart of the RTVE network in Madrid, available to regional centres. And it establishes a protocol to access legacy content (deep historical archive), which currently stands at about 250,000 hours.
Currently, the number of workstations with simultaneous access to online material at the Torrespaña centre exceeds 300 licenses. The spectrum of Avid solutions installed as part of the digitisation project now allows any professional to access a wealth of media from a single workstation - using advanced browsing and editing tools in a shared environment. This has truly revolutionised the way RTVE employees access, manage and share their content, and the company is now beginning to reap the rewards of a full-scale file-based news operation.