NAB: Disney/ABC to Deploy Cloud-Based Master Control

First major network transition to cloud-based playout will provide more flexibility for new services
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Related: NAB Show 2015 Complete Coverage

The 2015 NAB Show kicked off with a major tech deal between Disney/ABC Television and Imagine Communications that will see Disney/ABC move its linear broadcast operations – global programming playout, delivery and network operations - to a unified IP cloud architecture.

The transition to IP and cloud-based technologies will be a major topic this year at the show and the Disney/ABC announcement marks the first time that a major network will deploy a cloud-based playout or master control system.

This deployment will take time but when completed it will provide the network with much more flexibility so that it can easily launch new services and rapidly respond to consumer demand, something that is difficult with current
broadcast infrastructure.

It will also more closely unify TV and digital operations and provide a foundation for how broadcast programming could be made, moved, managed, and monetized in the coming years, the company says.

"By leveraging evolving IP and Cloud technologies we are able to move beyond what's currently possible with traditional proprietary ‘Big Iron’ broadcast infrastructures," said Vince Roberts, executive VP, global operations and chief technology officer, Disney/ABC Television Group, who announced the project during the Imagine Communications event at NAB on April 12. "Imagine Communications' IP solutions enable us to automate and deliver workflow processes and technologies to a more agile and scalable environment. Our shared vision and close collaboration will enable Disney/ABC Television Group to take a uniquely innovative approach to the next generation of television and media distribution platforms."

In an interview, Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt noted that the move by a major programmer like Disney/ABC to IP, IT, software defined networks and cloud-based infrastructures highlights the importance of those technologies for the industry’s future.

“Their transition to cloud-based playout provides a platform to accelerate the expansion of their acclaimed programming and gain freedom from dependencies on geographic content origination and physical playout facilities,” Vogt said.

Disney/ABC Television Group is deploying VersioCloud, Imagine Communications’ fully IP-enabled, integrated playout in the cloud platform.

The VersioCloud solution uses Zenium, Imagine Communications’ software-defined workflow management platform.

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