Disney/ABC transitions to IP-based virtual master control for linear TV

MUMBAI: After having successfully deployed its cloud-based Watch services across the Disney/ABC Television Group of networks, the company is now transitioning its linear broadcast operations – global programming playout, delivery and network operations - to a unified IP cloud architecture using Imagine Communications.


Imagine Communications is video infrastructure, advertising systems and workflow management solutions company serving media networks, broadcast stations, digital media, communication service provider and enterprise markets. This marks a significant evolution in Disney/ABC Television Group's broadcast operations, and establishes a foundation for how broadcast programming could be made, moved, managed, and monetized in the coming years.


“By leveraging evolving IP and Cloud technologies we are able to move beyond what's currently possible with traditional proprietary “Big Iron” broadcast infrastructures. 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,” said Disney/ABC Television Group executive vice president, global operations and chief technology officer Vince Roberts.


“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with the Disney/ABC Television Group on this groundbreaking project that represents the future of broadcast television. 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. We are focused on supporting Vince and his team’s cutting-edge vision with the advanced technologies and on-the-ground professional service experts to support a seamless transition to cloud playout across multiple deployment phases,” added Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt.


Disney/ABC Television Group is deploying VersioCloud, Imagine Communications’ advanced, fully IP-enabled, integrated playout in the cloud platform. Designed for a network origination ecosystem, this geo-dispersed platform aggregates national operations into a cohesive, resilient and unified entertainment delivery solution. VersioCloud advances the evolution of longstanding broadcast operations, including master control functionality. Software-based systems enable the integration of formerly discrete, hardware-based functions, expanding the productivity of master control room operations while optimizing workflow.


The VersioCloud solution is powered by Zenium, Imagine Communications’ software-defined workflow management platform. Zenium’s modular and flexible architecture provides the capability to plug-in content augmentation functions for affiliate branding platforms including triggers, live caption data, loudness control and externally generated crawls and tickers. A hierarchical programming model with an intuitive user interface enables associations to be made between programming blocks that move, track and trigger together, providing operational flexibility and simplification in executing complex and multi-region events. Imagine Communications’ professional service teams will support the transition and training, helping to ensure a seamless transfer for each production facility.


With its industry defining Watch ABC, Watch ABC Family, Watch Disney Channel, Watch Disney XD and Watch Disney Junior services, Disney/ABC Television Group became the first entertainment networks to provide authenticated users access to both live, 24/7 linear network streams as well as an extensive offering of advantaged window on demand episodes on desktops, connected TVs, smartphones and tablets.  In the process, the company developed a proprietary cloud-based software solution that considers and automates complex business rules specific to the delivery of live and on-demand television feeds.

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