ABC considers new AV syndication system

Would allow "better than real-time" transfer of audio and video out to capital city sites

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is looking to upgrade its news syndication with a “state of the art” system allowing it to more quickly, and cost-effectively move files among its sites around Australia.

The new system, if deployed, would give the ABC the ability to transfer News and Current Affairs media between its Grass Valley K2 video servers located in eight ABC capital city sites, effectively sharing content on a 24/7 basis.

According to ABC documents, the availability of sufficient IT bandwidth between ABC sites had now made it viable to transfer media as files to augment existing transfers over satellite and fibre circuits.

Presently, the ABC’s media file syndication is done via a custom in-house Sydney-based visual show automation (VSA) control system.

This system interfaces with profiles set up on the ABC’s Grass Valley video servers in each ABC site, using an asynchronous system. Control signals are then sent over the ABC IT network, and news media is then distributed over satellite and fibre circuits.

About three to four hours of media content per day is sent using the news syndication system, however with a 24 hour news channel on the cards at the ABC, the new system would see more use.

The new system would also deliver Doctor Who TARDIS-like speeds of “faster than real-time.”

“Transfer times from GV K2 server outbox to GV K2 server inbox need to be better than real-time for transfer of individual items between all sites. Additionally, a send from one site to all sites should be achievable, preferably, at better than real-time,” the documents read.

“The potential of transferring media faster than real-time has added benefits for News and Current Affairs programs where media needs to be shared nationally to meet very tight deadlines.”

This month the ABC launched an online drama titled Bluebird AR which incorporates a similar story telling format to alternate reality games.

In April it said it would forge ahead with its screening of Twitter comments on its live interactive talk show Q&A as the broadcaster seeks to find a way to merge social media and television.

During the month it also flagged that it would new, expanding content and the number of platforms – including the iPad -- the service runs on.

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