MUMBAI: Technology has been the saviour for most broadcasters while producing content amid the nationwide lockdown due to the Covid2019 pandemic. This was the unanimous view of panellists from news and entertainment channels, who came together for a virtual panel discussion to share their experiences of generating content from home or remote locations.
The virtual panel discussion, an initiative by indiantelevision.com held on 5 May, was moderated by Indian Television Group founder, chief executive officer and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari. The panellists who participated in the virtual discussion were TVU Networks SVP solutions Jared Timmins, Mathrubhumi Television senior manager-technical Bijumohan R, Asianet News Network chief promo director Ajith Nambiar, Fakt Marathi co-founder Shirish Pattanshetty, TV9 Network technical head Devendra Maurya, ABP News Network SVP broadcast technology and operations Manish Sharma, Odisha Television head technical and engineering Sukanta Rana, Hoichoi VP-content Anindo Banerjee and senior TV Journalist Bhupendra Chaubey.
Explaining how they have been able to provide tech-based solutions to broadcasters across the globe, TVU Networks SVP solutions Jared Timmins said, “We have seen people getting on cloud technology as soon as possible during this crisis situation, and our mobile application TVU Anywhere has seen 500 per cent jump in usage.” TVU Networks provides IP-based live video solutions.
“Unlike video call applications such as Skype and Zoom, our technology helps the broadcasters to achieve desired audio and video quality within the given internet bandwidth,” added Timmins. He also showed a presentation of their latest offerings of new technology and cleared the doubts of news and entertainment broadcasters who participated in the panel discussion.
Majority of the broadcasters are forced to use all the available resources amid lockdown to create content for the viewers. In this context, Bijumohan R said, “We have been using remote technology before the pandemic too, but the current crisis has forced us to use video calling apps such as Skype and Zoom more frequently.”
The news channel has reduced the workforce by two-third and has asked people to work from home or wherever they are located. The remaining one-third workforce has been asked to come to the office.
Echoing Bijumohan's views, Sharma said, “The technology that majority of news broadcasters are using today was already available and they have been using it now at an optimum level for content production.” ABP News Network was the first news broadcaster in India to use the very first model of TVU Networks.
Sharma believes that bonded server technology is a life saviour during these testing times. He added, “All our reporters, guests, speakers have been using the TVU Anywhere mobile application to send live information and also access to this app is given to all our guests during a live debate or for their byte.”
The news broadcaster organised its current edition of a summit called Shikhar Sammelan virtually with the help of the TVU Anywhere mobile apps and backpacks.
Chaubey, who moved on from CNN-News18 a month ago, has since then been working on his digital channel. He said, “The era of normal ways of broadcasting has completely gone. All those old broadcasting technologies are behind us.” He adds, “Digital or Zoom summits are exactly the kind of platform you’re talking about and is the way forward in future.”
News has been the TV content consumption driver during this Covid2019 period, as the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India and Nielsen India joint report states. news channels are the only ones successfully producing fresh content compared to other genres.
In this regard, Pattanshetty, said, “Majority of GECs are showing repeat telecast of broadcasted shows unless they have some content in the bank.”
Banerjee added, “Television has come to a standstill due to the Covid2019 scenario and repackaging of shows is the only way we are trying to survive. We are planning to come up with Live TV in our application; we have a huge library of over 200 films and series.”
Rana explained how the channel has been creating a 1.5-hour show every day from home for one of their GEC channels. He says, “We have created a script and have asked the artists to record their part on the mobile phone and send to the broadcaster, which we edit and telecast it on our channel every afternoon.”
The virtual panel discussion, appreciated by the panelists for its topicaliy and relevance, was watched by over 1000 people during a live stream on indiantelevision.com’s Facebook platform. It also received a resounding engagement on its Twitter handle.