MTVN advances to desktop operations with Pharos Mediator

completed of a new content management system for MTV Networks Europe North based
on the Mediator platform. Located in Amsterdam’s
Media Wharf near the city centre, the new
facility empowers desktop operations at MTVN North from ingest right through to
broadcast transmission and new media. Installation commenced in January, went
live in parallel mode in March and fully on-air during June this year. Pharos
was contracted as technology supplier for Mediator and as software systems
integrator for process and IT integration.

MTVN is now using Mediator for end-to-end content management across six
program channels and the new system has capacity for up to 20 channels.
Mediator manages ingest, media registration, quality control and promotions
editing workflow. Mediator browse is also used throughout the system. Mediator
additionally manages all transfer management and transcoding for the delivery
to VoD and mobile as part of the workflow. The system does not use conventional
playout automation because Mediator works as a ‘plug in’ to the MediaGenix
channel management system, interfacing bi-directionally to manage many
operations at the desktop in a creative office environment.

“Within the MTV Networks North region we are aiming to improve our channel
presentation by managing content directly and more efficiently from the
desktop.” says Roderick Aal, VP of Technology for MTVN North. “We
needed a unified workflow for all operations under a single enterprise with
browse at every desktop. To achieve this, it was essential to decrease internal
complexity and maximise integration between different systems and processes,
keeping all information synchronous throughout all departments automatically.
We also aimed to open up existing transmission operations to make publishing
accessible directly to the channel management teams. Delivering higher video
and audio quality by minimising transcoding steps throughout entire process to
offer digital delivery was also a priority.

“We chose the Pharos Mediator platform because it offers close integration
with our key third-party subsystems including Apple Final Cut, MediaGenix
What’s On and Publitronic Nexus. Pharos delivers efficient processes and better
workflows between these systems. We were impressed by Pharos’ ability to
respond to many of our specific needs within MTVN operations. Mediator improves
operational efficiency, particularly in handling multiple versions of content,
subtitles and multi-language audio. Our new system also allows secure remote
operations, which is sometimes a good thing. Occasionally our staff use
Mediator with browse to check or approve material when away from the

The entire workflow is handled using Mediator’s transfer management and
web-based user interfaces with integrated browse. Mediator also streams browse
content and metadata directly to the MediaGenix What’s On channel management
system. In addition to MTVN satellite and terrestrial DTV output, the new
system also manages delivery of Flash movies to web viewers giving file-based
delivery end-to-end.

“In terms of solutions architecture, the system we have devised in
conjunction with MTVN’s engineering and operations teams is the closest we have
come yet to a truly file-based workflow,” adds Russell Grute of Pharos.
“There is no baseband video cabling and no dedicated ingest server. Content
arriving on tape is ingested directly by Mediator to an Isilon IQ central
storage system as MXF files from a Sony Flexicart or from individual Sony
e-VTRs. Using the e-VTR network port overcomes the need to digitise files via
SDI during ingest. Increasingly, however, material is delivered to Mediator as
files without any tape. For MTV Networks North channels, Mediator is driven by
the MediaGenix schedule and delivers a flexible workflow to complete all tasks
in the right order for transmission priority.”

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