NAB 2017

NAB 2017: Imagine Communications, Sinclair Broadcast Group Join Forces on ATSC 3.0

Imagine Communications (SL1516) will unveil its integrated suite of products uniquely positioned to unleash the full power of the emerging ATSC 3.0 specifications. Imagine Communications will demonstrate how the next-generation television standard creates the opportunity for national and regional broadcasters to harness new business and distribution capabilities, including the integration of broadband and broadcast for targeted and personalized content and advertising.

In partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG), Imagine will showcase its ability to offer broadcasters the industry’s most comprehensive ATSC 3.0-optimized solution portfolio, which provides unprecedented integration across traditional broadcast, over-the-top (OTT) multiscreen delivery and ad management domains. Joint demonstrations and presentations at Imagine’s booth are designed to illustrate how ATSC 3.0-enabled services can expand the business opportunities of broadcasters.

“The advanced capabilities of ATSC 3.0 provide national and regional broadcasters with the ability to completely revolutionize the services they offer consumers and how they can monetize those services,” says Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt. “The next-generation innovations that Imagine has been honing for the past few years in IP-based and Cloud-Native playout, multiscreen delivery and multiplatform advertising provide broadcasters with a tremendous opportunity to fully exploit the capabilities of this enhanced digital TV standard and to interact with consumers and advertisers in ways that have never been available to them in the past.”

The ATSC 3.0 specifications, a collection of industry standards in the later stages of readiness for commercial rollout, elevate broadcasters to a new competitive plane, enabling them for the first time to embrace the capabilities of IP-based transport to leverage both over-the-air (OTA) and Internet-based delivery pipes, as well as target specific geographies within their service areas. The blending of broadcast and broadband delivery plays a critical role in enabling broadcasters to offer localized and time-shifted content, as well as tap into deep wells of analytical data. Similar to cable operators and other content distributors that have enjoyed advanced monetization capabilities for years, broadcasters, through ATSC 3.0, will have access to a content delivery model that opens up opportunities to offer personalized, or targeted, programming and advertising.

Imagine has been a close contributor to Sinclair’s NextGen TV project, a well-publicized initiative to explore the technical and commercial capabilities of ATSC 3.0. Sinclair is currently working with Imagine in the Baltimore area to test the capabilities of Cloud-Native playout, regionalized advertising and the optimization of inventory across multiple platforms.

“ATSC 3.0 is a real game changer for Sinclair and other local and regional broadcast groups,” said Del Parks, SVP and CTO at SBG. “Imagine Communications has been a significant contributor to our efforts to put into practice the full power of this standard and provide the consumers we serve with an unprecedented and personalized television experience, both today and well into the future, while at the same time delivering advertisers a precisely targeted and highly engaged audience.”

Imagine’s ATSC 3.0 solutions leverage the company’s ad management, playout and distribution portfolios, which are tightly integrated and optimized to enable broadcasters to quickly seize this new opportunity and improve their positioning in the media and entertainment value chain.

Monetize Content
Advertising and programming content monetization options will expand with the adoption of ATSC 3.0, enabling broadcasters to sell and deliver diverse campaigns to targeted audiences and individual consumers. Helping to facilitate targeting and engagement using ATSC 3.0 standards is Imagine’s powerful and modular xG™ platform, a next-generation solution for managing orders, optimizing inventory and executing billing across all platforms, including traditional broadcast and OTT — supporting impression-based selling and delivery for all distribution models. Imagine’s multiplatform optimization tools tap into the power and scalability of the cloud to provide broadcasters with unprecedented control of and visibility into their inventory, empowering them to reach new levels of efficiency and profitability.

“The new capabilities of ATSC 3.0 provide broadcasters with a potential goldmine in new inventory and Imagine’s xG platform provides the most efficient means available for extracting its value by optimizing opportunities across all platforms and delivery mechanisms,” says Sarah Foss, CPO of Imagine’s Advertising Management Solutions portfolio. “Broadcasters have never needed to be concerned about selling ads across zones or across platforms before. As the dominant market leader in supporting zone-based advertising for more than a decade, Imagine Communications provides broadcasters with the tools and technology that will allow them to break out of the ATSC 3.0 gate at full speed.”

Originate Content
The Versio modular and Cloud-Native playout solution provides the scalability and agility to enable media companies to launch multiple channels essentially on the fly, eliminating many of the cost and time-to-market limitations of traditional playout and automation solutions. This will enable broadcasters to deploy new regional and local channels more efficiently, as well as make pop-up channels a realistic option by supporting Software as a Service (SaaS) models. Deployed in both datacenter and cloud settings, the market-proven Versio provides broadcasters with the freedom to experiment with new and unique content delivery and advertising models, enabling them to quickly capitalize on the capabilities of the new DTV standard. Versio, which is powering virtualized playout, master control and business continuity operations in multiple regions, is deployable in on-premises, cloud (both public and private) and hybrid configurations.

Distribute Content
Broadcasters can also turn to Imagine Communications to provide the OTT-distribution infrastructure they will require to pursue a new and potentially lucrative monetization opportunity enabled through adoption of the ATSC 3.0 specification. Imagine’s Unified Distribution architecture provides an end-to-end platform that broadcasters can leverage to stream fragment-based content (MPEG-DASH and HLS) over the air and over the Internet to IP-based devices through third-party or private content distribution networks (CDNs). Imagine’s Unified Distribution architecture uses advanced technologies such as ABR, just-in-time packaging, manifest manipulation for dynamic ad insertion and alternate content routing, and a full suite of SCTE-130 compliant services. By collapsing both traditional and OTT operations into a single infrastructure, broadcasters can avoid the expense and complexity of operating multiple networks.

Through the Selenio VDE HTTP-to-UDP gateway, Imagine’s Unified Distribution architecture also enables broadcasters to regionalize broadcast feeds at the level of granularity they require today using ATSC 1.0. The regionalized ad distribution capabilities of Imagine’s Unified Distribution architecture empower national or regional broadcasters to perform content substitution and targeted advertising on a localized or hyperlocalized level, creating the opportunity to significantly increase the value of overall inventory and introduce impressions-based ad models. As broadcasters begin implementing the new standard, Seleno VDE can be a bridge to legacy infrastructure at the edges of the network, enabling broadcasters to distribute fragment-based ATSC 3.0-compatible video and maintain compatibility with ATSC 1.0 transmission and the QAM-based infrastructures of distributors. This gateway function enables the regionalizing of ads in a hybrid infrastructure.

A critical component of Imagine’s ATSC 3.0-optimized solution portfolio is Zenium, a pure microservices platform for building smarter virtual applications and services. Zenium, which powers Versio and several other modular and Cloud-Native solutions from Imagine Communications, offers a groundbreaking approach to technical adoption by enabling media organizations to easily create custom solutions, adapt more quickly to market dynamics and deploy new services with unparalleled speed, reliability and flexibility. Imagine’s next-generation compression platform, the Zenium-powered Selenio One, for example, can quickly add support for ATSC 3.0-specified technologies, such as HEVC and AC-4 audio.

Imagine and Sinclair will be showcasing the capabilities of their ATSC 3.0 activities at the 2017 NAB Show, beginning April 24 in Las Vegas. In addition to delivering a joint paper at the NAB conference, Imagine and Sinclair officials will participate in an ImagineLIVE Power Session discussion at the Imagine booth (SL1516) on Monday, April 24, at 12:30 PM. The 45-minute knowledge-sharing session is entitled Broadcasters and ATSC 3.0 – New Revenue from the New Localism.

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