The year 2020 has required everyone to create and learn new ways to continue delivering great work, including the news industry. Sharing information and best practices has transitioned to an online setting, which is how Fred Fourcher, founder and CEO of Bitcentral, ended up sharing information through a TVNewsCheck webinar in July.
The topic was The At-Home Studio and the Future of News Workflow, and in this webinar, Fred and other industry leaders shared topics and insights relevant to 2020, from how engineering teams are refining their approaches to remote productions and how the industry will be affected over the long term. Fred and other technology and broadcasting executives discussed the ways remote productions changed teams overnight, as well as the new demand for at-home studio set-ups and the associated evolution of technology.
Broadcasters are prepared to stick with remote production workflows for as long as needed in this current environment. The big question we are facing today is: Will current remote workflows remain a permanent part of television news production?
“The shift to at-home production workflows led to huge spikes in usage for vendors who specialize in file delivery and content sharing, and they haven’t seen traffic decline since March,” Fred said. From our perspective, broadcasters have been making heavy use of Bitcentral’s Oasis remote contribution tool. The Oasis asset management system uses “story-first” tools to allow users to contribute from laptops, tablets, and mobile devices using a secure managed file transfer system, meaning they can work from anywhere.
Remote contribution has jumped by four or five times since January for some customers. “Across the board, our customers have increased their remote contribution by an average of 265%, which is quite a big increase,” Fred shared. “When we look at the geography, the larger markets increased at a much higher rate than the smaller markets.”
Companies have been optimizing performance and efficiency at the homes of anchors, producers, reporters, and directors consistently since March. Many teams are remaining mostly remote, with camera operators returning only to swap out gear or perform maintenance. At NBC Boston, field teams were paired with a reporter, and those pairings stayed the same, something shared by Keith Barbaria, VP technology for NBC-owned WBTS Boston, NBC Sports Boston, Telemundo Boston, and New England Cable News. He noted that a work-from-home rotation was implemented for other teams in the building, including producers, broadcast engineers, IT, and production staff. And, camera operators and reporters drive to locations in separate vehicles, with a car following a live truck. It’s all part of how the industry is adapting to the changes required by events in 2020.
Broadcast and technology companies across the U.S. will continue to employ remote production through 2020 and into the future. It’s clear these organizations are constantly developing new plans to make operations better than what they are today, and the right solutions can make that a seamless process.
Want to know more about how Bitcentral is supporting broadcasters with remote news production? Let’s talk. We’re here to help!