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'Stream Circle Is My IBC Must See' - Provys

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"On all of my trips to the IBC since the early 90's, I have always prepared a last minute list of must-sees. This year, I simply cannot omit the revolutionary, Game Changer award-winning Stream Circle solution," writes Martin Junek from Provys.

Twenty years ago, the new digital production workflows triggered a transition from a precise synchronised analogue signal to a digital domain i.e. data and files. But the TV station's output was still a real-time analogue signal in sync with the internal clock. On the delivery side, digital broadcasting was just around the corner, and only a question of time and the price of set-top-boxes. As a result of this, viewers were not forced to buy new TV sets.

Later, about ten years ago, most countries stopped analogue broadcasting and sold some bandwidth to telcos for better data services. Television has not been real-time since then and nobody really complains. Digital transmission allows more channels but it is still extremely expensive if it is not watched by many thousands of people. Broadcasters need to deliver more channels for less money but DVB has a limited bandwidth and is expensive. At the same time, IP delivery is becoming cheaper and allows the launch of specialised channels targeting smaller audience groups. Furthermore, most people still want "to be entertained" and so require linear type programming. These are exactly the needs that Stream Circle fulfils: a cost effective TV type of entertainment production, extremely cheap for traditional broadcasters and quite affordable for newcomers as well.

Bearing in mind that today's digital transmission is no longer real-time, on account of the delay caused by effective encoding, we may well ask ourselves if the investment in complex equipment, in order to achieve a real-time digital signal prior to encoding, is really worth it. In broadcasting, this is not evolution; it is a revolution (Financial Directors, on the slim chance that this may end up on your desk, please read carefully), and this revolution will be televised.

Stream Circle claims that, in addition to linear programme scheduling and delivery through IP networks, it also facilitates complete automation workflows for playout, which include live video, full-featured graphics insertion, closed captioning, crawlers, multiple audio channels, etc., etc. All of this is a cloud based linear TV service requiring no CAPEX. Technically, the streamed channels can reach their viewers in a number of ways: standard delivery through available CDNs such as Amazon, through a Smart TV application or an HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) application.

Even though the cost effectiveness of the Stream Circle solution could allow the broadcasting of non-profit channels, it must be assumed that the typical user would be profit orientated. In other words, advertisement sales will be critical in these operations. In this context, Stream Circle allows us to benefit from much more accurate audience data applicable in the "programmatic" ad-sales approach. And of course, Stream Circle provides a playout platform which is able to automatically acquire and play the advertisement content, just-in-time, together with immediate reporting to an integrated ad-sales solution such as Provys, for on-line ad-campaign evaluation and processing.

As Josef Vasica, CEO of Stream Circle points out: "If we turn our attention to the workflows of the traditional broadcaster, we may assume that they run some standard traffic system, and real-time broadcast automation to support the operations for daily services. Certainly, they would prefer not to build a new master control for each internet TV channel. This is precisely the open door for Stream Circle to offer its internet linear automation service purchased on a monthly basis to maximise cashflow efficiency. The only necessary step is to integrate the traffic system and the ad-sales platform with Stream Circle using its SOAP-based APIs to deliver the content metadata, schedules, ad-campaign content and provide on-line reporting."

There are too many features to list here. However, one new addition which grabbed my attention recently is the "Slow TV" application with specialised RSS (Rich Site Summary or often called Really Simple Syndication) feeds embedded. Enthusiasts will be able to choose their own scintillating subjects for inclusion; anything from plane spotting to watching paint dry.

In conclusion, you are highly recommended to drop in and see the Stream Circle stand at this year's IBC, a visit which is certainly top of my list.

Image: Example of Stream Circle playout.

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