Positive Flux Helps Univision Create Innovative News Production Headquarters
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.
Positive Flux Helps HBO Latin America Group Launch HBO GO Platform
Works from within HBO Latin America to Steer all Phases of Project Evaluation, Technology Planning, Deployment and Testing
NEW YORK, NY, January 29, 2013—Positive Flux, a firm that prepares media companies to make the most of emerging distribution opportunities, today announced that it has been an integral part of the team developing the HBO GO® online entertainment platform that recently became available to subscribers throughout Latin America.
Background: Positive Flux has worked since the project’s inception in late 2010 to help with feasibility analysis, technical evaluation, and operational coordination, as well as the platform’s development, deployment and testing.
“HBO GO is an exceptional entertainment experience that was built and developed in-house to HBO’s exact standards and requirements,” said Emilio Rubio, president of HBO Latin America. “To extend it to new markets, we need project support that works from within our organization, not from the outside looking in. Positive Flux has been instrumental to the HBO GO Latin America project, complementing HBO’s resources and working effectively within our organization while bringing valuable expertise from across traditional and digital media.”
HBO GO in Latin America is being distributed in conjunction with regional Pay-TV operators.
Mission: Positive Flux worked with executives to detail the benefits, costs, technology, challenges, and risks HBO Latin America would need to consider for the project. In order to ensure a successful launch in the region, Positive Flux assisted the Latin American team in identifying and solving unique, region-specific quality issues related to bit rates, encoding technique and bandwidth availability in different markets. The goal of the project was to integrate the new platform with the existing HBO business systems and enabling the system to handle multiple languages.
Method: “Extending HBO GO to Latin America presented many new challenges, both technical and as a business,” said Dionne Bermudez, senior director of new media and business development at HBO Latin America. “Positive Flux has a unique combination of technical knowledge and business acumen that makes a great fit for new media distribution projects on a larger scale than have been attempted before. Positive Flux refers to everything as ‘we.’ They fully immersed themselves in our company, our team, and this project.”
Results: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to help one of Latin America’s premier entertainment brands extend its groundbreaking TV Everywhere service,” said Larry Thaler, president of Positive Flux. “This project was far more complicated than simply replicating the U.S. version of HBO GO. Instead, working as part of the team at HBO Latin America, we started with the superior user experience of HBO GO, then enhanced the underlying platform to manage the different requirements of the multi-national distribution model.”
Clearchannel: Clear Channel Radio Releases Stunning Concert Video Faster than the Speed of Smartphones
Background: Clear Channel Radio operates the P.C. Richard & Son Theater in Tribeca, NYC, hosting concerts from many of the biggest names in music. The venue produces excellent sound and its intimate size provides a unique concert experience for a limited number of contest winners. If you’re not one of the lucky few to win tickets, you can watch video from these events on Clear Channel’s website, http://iheartradio.com . The production is shot EFP (Electronic Film Production) style, is highly stylized using a 24p (24 frame per second) film look, utilizes handheld cameras and very quick cuts – providing a dynamic and edgy look. Video captured at the event is edited and posted online at a later date.
Mission: Positive Flux was brought in to help streamline the production process and shorten the time from concert to air date. This was driven in part by the proliferation of smart phones with video recording capability. Audience members would frequently post the concert on the web before the concert was officially released on iheartradio – reducing the amount of traffic to the website. The mission was to provide a new toolkit that would allow Clear Channel Radio to release the concert without changing it great look, in less time that it would take an audience member to post.
Method: After initial observations, Positive Flux documented the current workflow timing and began to explore technologies. A thorough research process led to three leading solution contenders, which were demonstrated with key personnel. After new workflow plans were established, the technology was selected and installed. While this was taking place, Positive Flux briefed team leaders, arranged observation visits of comparable systems, suggested candidates for each of the new positions and helped bring the team up to speed.
Results: Chris Costello, Clear Channel’s Executive Producer and head of Production explains, “While anyone can capture a video on their mobile device, we want our viewers experience to be as close to the real thing as possible. We want them to see drops of sweat on the musician’s faces, the bright pops of colorful lights, a crisp view of the stage from in between hundreds of excited fans. We want them to feel like they’re actually there. That’s why we are excited to deliver a full, HD 6-camera shoot in real-time as the concert is under way. Our goal was to preserve the high quality of our content while delivering it to our online audience immediately. Positive Flux understood our needs and provided the guidance we needed to make the right choices.”
From the very first day with the new approach, Clear Channel Radio exceeded their original goals; producing a quality concert experience live while maintaining their edgy style. The live concert was streamed in real time permitting Clear Channel to maximize its audience by rapidly delivering a fantastic live streaming experience that no mobile device can match. What used to take all night was now done immediately. The packaging process, which used to take an entire week, was completed in just a few hours.
Summary: Thanks to new devices and fast wireless networks, the ways in which people experience and share media have changed dramatically in a short time. The evolution of Clear Channel Radio’s concert production capabilities is a great example of how Positive Flux helps it’s clients apply technology and creative workflows to turn the changes in audience behavior opportunities.