What consolidation means for automation

What consolidation means for automation

Consolidation is a big thing in the broadcast industry at the moment. A lot of media companies are coming together, and aligning their operations.

But at the same time, there is significant shift in the supply side. This seems to be particularly affecting automation vendors. The recent acquisition of SAM – which was Snell and Quantel and Probel – by Belden, to be wrapped into the Grass Valley brand, puts a lot of popular automation systems into one point of control. How will support and continuing development be affected?

Consolidation is not always a good thing and this can be seen in at least one other automation supplier. Here the acquisition went wrong leaving what was an effective vendor in a very vulnerable position: very sad.

But from the media business side, if their consolidations are to deliver economies, then there has to be a more sophisticated, more integrated use of automation. Operational costs have to be controlled across the board.

Delivery automation – playout, as we used to call it – is mission critical. If your output goes black, then audiences turn away and advertisers do not pay their invoices. It is as simple and direct as that.

Automation is vital for efficiency; it has to be entirely reliable; and it has to be in continuing development to meet the challenges of new formats, new platforms and new delivery requirements. But consolidation on the vendor side raises some questions about which systems will continue to be supported and enhanced.

The answer is to look to a vendor which continues to be independent and stable, and dedicated to the industry.

Pixel Power has not only been a leading provider of technology to the broadcast industry for 30 years, it is still owned and run by the founders. There is no venture capitalist looking over their shoulder, looking for quick profits at the risk of long-term commitments.

But if Pixel Power is a legacy company, it does not mean that Gallium, Pixel Power’s automation platform, is a legacy product. It is the very opposite: as a platform it could only exist in today’s world of software-defined technologies.

It is proven. It is cloud ready – 2018 was the third NAB that Gallium has been demonstrated, running a premium channel including mixing to live feeds , entirely in the AWS cloud. It is flexible and extensible. It is not smoke and mirrors, it is very real.

As a bonus, it includes really good graphics (as you might expect).

In this time of turbulence, selecting technology partners is more critical than ever. The right choice is one which understands the industry today, has a vision for what will be needed tomorrow, but most important will be around to realise that vision.

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