Disney/ABC Television Group Shifts to IP-Based ‘Virtual Master Control’ for Linear Broadcasts

After having successfully deployed its cloud-based WATCH services across its networks, Disney/ABC Television Group is transitioning its linear broadcast operations — global programming playout, delivery, and network operations — to a unified IP cloud architecture using Imagine Communications.

It’s a big move for 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,” said Vince Roberts, EVP, global operations/CTO, Disney/ABC Television Group. “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 Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt, “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 and potentially hundreds of locations.”

This groundbreaking deployment is designed to advance Disney/ABC Television Group’s business and architecture objectives, allowing the network to:

  • Expand the Disney/ABC Television Group brand and network reach with flexibility to deliver content across more markets and devices
  • Readily launch new linear and TV Everywhere channels, with elastic scalability
  • Reduce network risk by providing global support for disaster recovery
  • Optimize content delivery and monetization by supporting hyper-local content
  • Increase market flexibility to modify existing operating models as requirements change
  • Improve operations across diverse geographies through optimization and centralization of master control functions

Disney/ABC Television Group is deploying VersioCloud, Imagine Communications’ advanced, fully IP-enabled, integrated playout in the cloud platform. Designed for a network origination and regionalization 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 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. Its 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 multiregion events and advertising campaigns. ImagineCommunications’ professional-service teams will support the transition and training, helping ensure a seamless transfer for each production facility.

To find out more about VersioCloud, Zenium workflow manager and Imagine Communications’ end-to-end hybrid workflow solutions, visit www.imaginecommunications.com.

With its industry defining WATCH ABC, WATCH ABC Family, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD, and WATCHDisney Junior services, Disney/ABC Television Group became the first entertainment networks to provide authenticated users access to live, 24/7 linear network streams as well as to 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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