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New York's CMSI Invests In New Cablecast System

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Cablecast Community Media, a division of Tightrope Media Systems, has announced New York's Community Media of Staten Island (CMSI) has invested in a new Cablecast system to provide live and on-demand streaming for its viewers, as well as improve its on-air look and scheduling.

The new streaming channels, which went live on Sept. 7, are part of an overall rebranding of the organisation that started earlier this year with a name change.

In April, CMSI changed its name from Staten Island Community Television, which had been in use since it was established in 1983. Jennifer Sammartino, CMSI executive director, said the term 'television' was antiquated because people are moving to streaming platforms to consume content. "We changed our name to keep up with these trends," she explained.

Planning for the streaming upgrade began last year. "So many people were missing out because they’re not using cable anymore," Sammartino said. "Even some of our producers couldn’t see their finished product. I knew this was something we needed to do. Being able to have this bigger goal in mind has really helped the pieces come together."

CMSI invested in four Cablecast VIO Lite OMNI video servers, Cablecast CG bulletin board and a branded streaming app, which works with Cablecast REFLECT to provide viewers with access to live and on-demand content from the cloud. Available in the App Store and Google Play, the free 'Community Media of Staten Island' app supports iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV platforms.

Following a soft launch over the summer, which allowed CMSI to fine tune its streaming presence and make sure its interface was easy to use, the app went live last month. Sammartino said the streaming app has been "warmly received" by viewers. "We wanted to take it to the next level and literally put CMSI in people’s hands," she added. "The streaming app is really a game changer for us."

CMSI supports four channels. Your 34 offers talks shows and current events, while Variety (channel 35) provides a showcase for local musicians and other performers. Religion and Spirituality programming is found on channel 36, while Civic Engagement, including government meetings and press conferences, is available on channel 37. Each channel is represented by its own live channel and VOD programming in the app, and can also be accessed through the CMSI website.

Streaming channels may be the big story, but there were other upgrades as well. Sammartino said the new Cablecast CG allowed CMSI to offer its viewers a community bulletin board for the first time. Scheduling through Cablecast also allows more flexibility, as it can automatically fill the gaps between shows with PSAs and other content. Plus, the Cablecast system has improved the on-air look of its cable channels, while the streaming content allows viewers to see CMSI programming in HD (cable systems Spectrum and Verizon only provide SD channels).
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