Chyron announced Monday that Fox Television Stations has become the second major broadcast customer for Axis, its online graphic system that allows users to create template-based graphics at their desktop through a Web-based interface, then renders the graphic on its own servers and delivers the finished product as a file transfer via the Internet.
Gannett Broadcasting has already deployed the subscription-based Axis system across its stations to allow producers and reporters to create daily breaking-news graphics, maps and charts at their desktop, while higher-end graphics have been centralized in a new facility based at KUSA Denver. Gannett has eliminated most local graphics positions as part of the move.
Chyron hinted at NAB last month that several large broadcasters were interested in the Axis approach. Fox, which already used Chyron’s graphics hardware systems at most of its stations, has now entered into a multi-year deal with Chyron to use Axis as an enterprise-class graphics workflow solution for many of its stations.
“We are delighted to welcome Fox Television Stations as the latest user of Axis services,” said Chyron president Michael Wellesley-Wesley in a statement. “Our companies have had a long collaborative history and we are pleased to help with this project. It is clear that our Axis online services will play an important role in the future of graphics production - on-air and online – for newspapers, radio, pure play internet and, of course, television broadcasters.”
The Axis system could potentially be used across the 18 Fox-owned (16 Fox affiliates, and two MyNetwork TV affiliates) stations that produce local news, though Fox hasn’t disclosed any formal rollout plan. Earl Arbuckle, VP of engineering for the Fox Television Stations, says the system will likely be deployed at some stations this year, though he won’t commit to a number.
Arbuckle says it is too early to comment on whether rolling out Axis will result in headcount reductions, and adds that he won’t know what effect it will have on day-to-day operations until the system gets up and running. He notes that Axis can theoretically be used for everything from hi-def broadcast graphics to Website content.
Currently, Fox has a mix of graphics roles at its stations, with both dedicated artists on high-end machines and some journalists creating template-based graphics at the desktop. While most Fox stations have Chyron hardware, including Camio graphics servers, XClyps still-stores and HyperX graphics systems, there are also a few Pinnacle Deko devices and Vizrt template-based systems sprinkled throughout the stations.
Arbuckle says buying Axis is about making Fox’s operations more efficient and avoiding hardware obsolescence. He notes that graphics devices tend to get revamped pretty quickly, which made the concept of buying an Internet-based service instead of investing in new hardware attractive.
“The software as a service [SaaS] model seemed to offer a better return to us versus buying new graphics boxes every couple of years,” says Arbuckle.