News & Blog

The Quiet Summer Months

It wasn’t that long ago that the summer months were a quiet time in TV land. It was a time to clean up, get rid of backlog, compensate for long production days and, of course, vacation! But it hasn’t been all that quiet at our company for several years now. A lot less content is produced in the summer months, but large and more complex projects for realizing the technology “behind” television productions quickly result in a lead time of several months without any summer stops. That’s why we experienced a first this year in June: we decided not to put together proposals for two wonderful projects because if we had been awarded the contract for these we would no longer have been able to guarantee proper care and attention for our existing customers.

With 400 broadcasts and counting since December 2015, we have had a lot of success with our Cloud Production concept. Because we’ve had to say no on a fairly regular basis, this summer we will be adding several cloud directing and audio galleries at the Studio Center in Hilversum (Media Park). While I write the text for this column, I hear the sound of the demolition company’s pneumatic wrecking hammers pounding away in another part of the building. Prior to this, our people removed miles of old cables. If the thickness of the oldest copper cables is anything to go by they must have been here before Prince Bernard opened Studio 1 at the end of 1967. Old walls and installations are being demolished. Even a rock-solid voice-over booth with double stone walls and a concrete ceiling and floor ended up in a skip. We will continue the demolition activities until the original floor and structural ceiling are entirely visible again. The open areas that have been created are impressive. And all this was necessary for the technology for one studio. The former large equipment and directing rooms of Studio 1 will be rebuilt in the coming months into several cloud directing and audio galleries and playout rooms.

Lots of work is also taking place at the Data Hotel (Media Park). Dozens of racks, UPS units, an additional emergency generator and cooling systems will be delivered and installed over the coming months in order to house the state-of-the-art broadcast technology. All these installations are needed to facilitate the growth stemming from both national and international sources.

And if that weren’t enough, after an intensive tender process, we were selected by Ziggo Sport as their supplier for all the technology for their sports channels. Until the end of the year we will be working hard on establishing a very modern and flexible workflow for producing and broadcasting Ziggo Sport’s TV programs. Just like many distributors nowadays, Ziggo also has a clear ambition to be active in content. And we will assist them in their efforts with an efficient end-to-end workflow for satellite downlinks, capturing, highlight editing, promo editing, media asset management, scheduling, live graphics, directing, cloud production, playout, live encoding and distribution. In short, everything a broadcaster needs for producing, broadcasting and distributing programs. I am not allowed to release any details yet, but one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be very innovative.

Of course, we can’t do this alone. We are currently looking for 50 new colleagues to assist us with developing, operating and managing all this technology. We are looking for smart and ambitious people by making clever use of modern communication tools. We are using social media to bring our job openings to the attention of people who would otherwise not be very easy to reach. We have also entered into a cooperative venture with MBO College Hilversum (institution of secondary vocational education) for a Media Technology degree from which we expect great things. We are also hoping that a lot of technical engineers will spend their construction workers’ holidays with us. In the meantime, cold water is ready to… cool our new equipment.