A new study based on a survey of senior engineers at over 350 U.S. stations has found that many stations are in danger of being overwhelmed by the challenges of their rapidly expanding online and mobile efforts and that stations need to do a better job of deploying workflow and quality control systems to help them better handle their multiplatform efforts.
The study, U.S. TV Stations Infrastructure: The HD Transition Has Just Begun, from Positive Flux, also found major short comings in the way stations were approaching their HD upgrades.
"Broadcasters are justified in their excitement for the opportunities made possible by delivering TV services to mobile and Internet-connected devices, but few have equipped themselves to handle the sheer volume and variety of formats this entails," noted Larry Thaler, president of Positive Flux in a statement. "Alongside completing their HD transition, stations should be carefully considering organizational improvements and workflow tools that will enable them to dynamically adapt their production and delivery chains without creating parallel organizations or new layers of technology."
The study also found that although nearly 90% of all stations have adopted non-linear editing, most stations have yet to develop unified workflows that will enable them to eliminate costly process duplication in delivering to multiple platforms.
In addition, many station executives are viewing HDTV and new platform support as simply a cost of doing business and have not paid enough attention to how those efforts might provide an opportunity to rethink station operations to both cut costs and improve their online and mobile operations.
Not surprisingly, the study also found that stations groups have barely begun to realize the cost savings from shared production synergies that could produce major economic benefits.
"Many stations would benefit financially and creatively by modernizing their operations," noted Don Perez, president of HD Consulting in a statement. "The process of converting to HD presents a rare opportunity to get at a station's underlying foundation and get things right. Positive Flux provides hard data that supports the argument for looking beyond half-measures and instead fully embracing an HD infrastructure."