TV2, the second national broadcaster in Norway based in Bergen, has a history of developing products in-house, which go on to become major commercial successes. Vizrt, for example, grew out of the channel’s own need for weather graphics.
In 2002 TV2 started an internal project to develop a news production automation system, driven originally by the need to reduce the headcount in the gallery. By reducing the number of operators to just two – the director and an all-purpose technical assistant known as the “octopus” because of the number of panels under her hand – TV2 could economically justify the launch of a 24 hour news channel.
The technology developed was spun out in 2007 as a separate company, Mosart. Its innovative approach to news workflow is now in use by broadcasters including ARD, Sky, Al Jazeera and BBC. It is also the mainstay of TV2’s own news channel, which provides the experience and research platform for future developments.
To allow production by just two people, Mosart is closely linked into the newsroom computer: iNews in the case of TV2. Changes in running order or content are managed in iNews by the programme editor away from the gallery. Any changes are implemented virtually instantly, so it is possible to change any event in a programme right up to the event already loaded in preview.
In the gallery the director has extensive control over any aspect of the playlist, but in practice tends to rely largely on taking the next event, discussing any changes required over talkback with the editor.
At the recent transmission of the early evening news programme, which I attended, the first item was a report on high winds and bad weather which had affected the west coast of the country. It included a live two-way with a reporter out on the dock, along with interviews with other specialists, and it rapidly exceeded its planned time.
The Mosart user interface screen features a large clock which turns red when an event over-runs: the director was able to give the editor precise details of how much time needed to be trimmed from later events in the programme to get back to schedule. Because the editor implemented the changes in iNews they were immediately transferred to the prompter via MOS, as well as updating the server, audio and video mixers and graphics via Mosart. The January issue of TVBEurope will include a longer feature on the business case behind Mosart.