Background: In 2012, Univision and News and ABC News revealed plans to launch a new news and entertainment network. The network was envisioned as the first English-language news network specifically created for Hispanic millenials. It would provide 24/7 life-style news coverage. A new 150,000 square foot facility was planned to house the new network and to become the new home of both Univision’s extremely popular Network News and its new media properties. . The partners established a rigorous time-table for the project, planning to go from plans to on-air in about fifteen months. The facility would need to accommodate the shared space and, as much as possible, to integrate the technical and functional footprints of the channels it would house. The location of the new facility on the edge of the busy Miami-Dade International Airport presented specific challenges related to noise and vibration that had to be overcome as well.
Mission: While it was envisioned that much of the planning and decision-making would be handled by Univision, the group’s many obligations meant that additional resources would be needed. Positive Flux was hired, even before the first Univision employee was assigned, to assist with the overall vision of the facility, development of technical solutions and functional workflows, and then to manage the build-out from start to end. Positive Flux would work with and coordinate a variety of architectural, systems integration and technology vendors involved in the project.
Method: Positive Flux joined the project in its earliest stages and assisted with fundamental planning, from defining the requirements, scope and timeline of the project, to budgeting and evaluating ROI. Positive Flux developed models to reflect the expected capabilities and requirements of the new facility based on an analysis of past performance, comparable facilities and the company’s inherent knowledge of production operations. One of the highest priorities was to manage costs by finding opportunities to reduce duplication of technical and facility resources. Positive Flux worked with the architectural team to take advantage of the requirements of the adjacent channels to optimize the use of space. The team also worked closely with the procurement and sourcing teams for Fusion and Univision to identify vendors, solicit proposals and make final technology selections for all broadcast operations. Positive Flux then assisted Univision and ABC in managing the systems design, testing, training and launch support for the new facility.
Results: With the help of Positive Flux, both channels were able to begin broadcast in October 2013. Positive Flux was instrumental in developing a number of technical innovations. A new graphics order management system, designed by Positive Flux, provides both channels with a single, centralized graphics creation system. The highly automated system streamlines the placement of orders for new graphics and dramatically reduces the complexity and cost of graphics operations.
Positive Flux also proposed, designed and managed the deployment of a new acquisition workflow that brings significant efficiency to the process of ingesting remote feeds and tracking record operations. Positive Flux brought together three vendors who had never previously worked together in order to realize this new system. The result is a system that handles 250% of previous ingest volume using only 20 percent more staff. Digital displays in key areas throughout the facility keep staff apprised of the status of feeds, recordings and outbound signals.
Positive Flux helped train staff to take full advantage of the new systems to derive maximum benefit from these and other innovations.
In summary: Positive Flux augmented teams from Univision and ABC by providing visionary leadership to create a new, state of the art facility and successfully launching the new Fusion channel and consolidated News operations.
Univision & ABC News
Integrated News Production Facility
Mel Weidner, SVP Executive Project Management Office at Univision
Marcos Obadia, VP Engineering at Univision
Michael Siegelman, VP Engineering at Univision News
Bob Murphy, VP ABC News