New Media Technology Mantra

Big conferences begin in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. The meetings are where broadcasters from around the globe consider new tools to make content for television, radio and the Internet. As recession concerns loom there is a new incantation you’ll hear for some time to come in my opinion.

Broadcasting and Cable in a special report “NAB 2010 Shopping Lists” underscores attitudes of those who will watch exhibits in Las Vegas. B&C reports “top engineers from station groups are looking for technology that matches the new economic realities of the broadcast business.” No doubt from the convention floor exhibitors will shout the mantra “better and cheaper” and point to their products. However buyers are savvier these days and require fulfillment of such promises.

A fresh B&C report is clear indication of how broadcasters are thinking. BitCentral won a huge deal with Gannett Company and kicked Avid Technology to the curb, so to speak. According to Broadcasting and Cable 23 Gannett owned television stations in 19 markets will move from the expensive Avid video production solution as they overhaul news production. The newsroom computer system, non-linear editors and video storage system will be replaced at Gannett stations with BitCentral’s Precis and Oasis servers and the Associated Press’s Electronic News Production System.

Gannett’s vice president of technology, Jeff Johnson was quoted by B&C.

"First of all, one of the things we had to have was commodity-based hardware. Then it was just the tie-in with AP [ENPS] and the overall flexibility."

The times have changed and so has the mantra for purchasing media technology. Vendors will have to live up to claims of openness to win deals with major broadcasters like Gannett. It appears this year at least competition is wide open.

One of the best places to learn about new thinking in media technology will be at the Techcon10 Technology Conference held by the Public Broadcasting System for the United States. Techcon10 starts April 7, 2010 and you will get a good idea of the conference from last year’s presentations. For years, I handled the Avid exhibit at Techcon and learned the benefit of the PBS conference to comprehending media technology.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing next looks at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s local news center initiative.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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