Imagine Communications delivers new TV upgrade contracts in Egypt and Bahrain

Imagine Communications has won two key projects in the MENA region. It has already completed the upgrade of the playout and asset management facilities for Rotana TV in Cairo, Egypt. In addition, it has been awarded the contract to supply an integrated media traffic, planning and scheduling system for Alarab News Channel, a new broadcaster based in Bahrain.

The project for Rotana TV, which currently broadcasts 14 discrete channels as well as time shifts and rebrands, reflects continued innovation in the Imagine Communications technology platform, which was implemented in 2009.

The upgrade project delivered significant benefits, allowing Rotana TV to migrate all of its channels to HD and enabling the playout centre to operate completely in the file domain. Simplifying internal operations, the enhancements enable Rotana TV to deliver output via a data stream for satellite providers Arabsat and Nilesat, and to other broadcast facilities in Europe and the US. Rotana TV plans to move IP delivery to outlets in Canada and South America in the future.

“When we installed our original automated playout and asset management architecture in 2009, we knew it was one step in our continuing growth and that we would need to expand it in due course,” said Dr. Naser Refaat, technical services executive manager of Rotana TV. “That system has proved extremely robust and reliable, and it is very pleasing that we do not have to lose any of that capital investment as part of our upgrade.”

At the heart of this upgrade are Imagine Communications Nexio Volt servers and Nexio Farad scalable online storage systems to enable the HD capabilities. Rotana TV already had Imagine Communications’ ADC playout automation and Nexio Motion digital media management, both of which were HD-ready. The Nexio Motion media management platform in place provided extensive functionality to manage and move media assets.

For the HD upgrade, the platform provided a file-based environment that included ingest stations both within Rotana TV and remotely at the broadcaster’s facilities in Cairo’s Media Production City. Other Imagine Communications’ equipment, including Nexio IconMaster modular master control switchers, graphics and Platinum routers with integrated multiviewers, was simply upgraded to handle HD signals.

The upgrade project, with new HD channels and file-based workflows, was designed and delivered by the Imagine Communications regional specialist centre in Dubai, supported by Systems Design.

In another recent win, Alarab TV has selected Imagine Communications software to help launch and manage a cost-effective, robust and efficient workflow for managing their operations. For Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief and general manager, said: “Our goal is to change the way news is broadcast in the Middle East, bringing the news that matters to our viewers in a completely fresh way. Imagine Communications’ software will help us meet that goal.”

Imagine Communications’ advertising management platform will be used by Alarab TV for detailed scheduling of both programme content and commercials, as well as advertising sales. The tight integration of traffic and sales information helps maximise monetisation opportunities through detailed management analytics and efficient workflows. Interfacing and data exchange with third-party automation and asset management systems enables Imagine Communications’ media software applications to drive Alarab’s entire transmission operation, directing playout while simplifying content management workflows.

“Alarab is the most anticipated television channel launch in the Middle East for many years, and we are excited to be a part of it,” said Bob Lamb, product management of Imagine Communications’ Media Software Portfolio.  “Alarab recognises that to be effective in the broadcast arena as a news provider, you need to manage operations as simply as possible. By implementing our integrated media software system, they will be positioned to realise those efficiencies through secure, streamlined and flexible operations.”

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