Under the two-year deal, announced at a New York pre-National Association of Broadcasters conference press briefing Wednesday, Meredith stations will purchase up to 250 ENG-style AJ-HPX2000 2/3-inch and AG-HPX500 2/3-inch P2 HD camcorders, upgrading from existing Panasonic DVCPRO ENG gear in use at most Meredith stations. Several Meredith stations will also invest in Panasonic AK-HC931B and AK-HC3500 HD studio cameras as they move to HD news production.
Meredith is one of several large station groups to select the Panasonic acquisition format for local news production over competing tapeless camcorders from Sony and Thomson Grass Valley, joining groups such as Raycom, Cox Broadcasting, Media General and Fox.
Some 270 stations in the United States are using P2, and the Japanese company has shipped some 32,000 units of P2 to the United States in total and 60,000 worldwide to date.
The Meredith television stations that will be outfitted with Panasonic P2 HD gear include: WGCL-TV (CBS) Atlanta; KPHO-TV (CBS) Phoenix; KPDX-TV (MyNetworkTV) Portland, Ore.; KPTV (Fox) Portland; WFSB-TV (CBS) Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; WSMV-TV (NBC) Nashville, Tenn.; KCTV (CBS) Kansas City, Mo.; KSMO (MyNetworkTV) Kansas City; WHNS-TV (Fox) Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.; WNEM-TV (CBS) Flint-Saginaw, Mich.; KVVU-TV (Fox) Las Vegas; and WSHM (CBS) Springfield, Mass.
Panasonic also announced that it will offer a 64-gigabyte P2 memory card this fall that will be able to store one hour of DVCPRO HD video at 100 megabits per second. The new card will actually find more favor with documentary producers than broadcasters, director of product marketing Joe Facchini said, as stations don’t want cards that hold that much video for news applications.