Montréal, Québec, Canada
June 11, 2012
Astucemedia—a Montreal-based provider of broadcast live graphics products and services with an office in Dubai, UAE—just completed a major project involving the creation of on-air graphics and templates as well as real-time data integration for Sky News Arabia. This project also makes Sky News Arabia the first installation of Astucemedia’s new Data Platform Suite. Astucemedia developed this innovative modular product to make it easier for broadcast networks like Sky News Arabia to integrate, manage, and display data-driven live graphics.
Sky News Arabia—a joint venture between BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp. (ADMIC)— launched on May 6, 2012 as a dynamic 24/7 breaking news network serving 50 million homes across the Middle East and North Africa. With its satellite, online, and mobile services, the Abu Dhabi-based network’s audience swells to 100 million homes worldwide.
“Astucemedia’s Data Platform Suite and data integration expertise were key components in establishing the look and feel of Sky News Arabia. Astucemedia has an unsurpassed understanding of live graphics and the Vizrt suite of products in our workflow, as well as an impressive a track record working with Arabic news broadcasters,” said Oliver Pitkin, broadcast project manager for Sky News Arabia.
“Astucemedia also worked tirelessly alongside our UK and Abu Dhabi graphics teams to provide a huge amount of graphics in a very short period of time for what is now one of the most ambitious live graphics operations in the Arab region,” Pitkin added.
Bridging data feeds with live graphics
Astucemedia’s Data Platform Suite provided a seamless, bespoke “bridge” between four incoming realtime data feeds—including Storm for weather, GSM for Sports, Thomson Reuters for business data, and Twitter—and Sky News Arabia’s Vizrt live graphics workflow. Astucemedia’s data integration services further ensured that the real-time data feeds would automatically populate appropriate graphics templates for on-air display, but also providing a single interface to monitor, edit and approve any data sources from the Newsroom.
“Sky News Arabia’s technical requirements lined up precisely with the purpose of our Data Platform—a new solution that is currently unique in the industry. We are the only experienced company in broadcast graphics that offers a single modular application that allows users to manage different data models and feeds. This involves creating an abstraction layer and unifying the data stream into the graphics and/or web site. Regardless of how the data feeds change, users do not have to make changes to the templates, broadcast graphics, or any other aspect of the operations. The Sky News Arabia launch was one of the most challenging and ambitious projects, from a data, graphics, and operations perspective, for Astucemedia as well as for the region,” said Alexandre Leclerc CEO and owner of Astucemedia.
“Astucemedia worked very closely with the creative team of Sky News Arabia and the UK team for the integration of the graphics in Vizrt,” Leclerc said. Astucemedia created templates for every type of data display, including live scores, fixtures, rankings for soccer, basketball, golf, motor sports, and tennis as well as weather, business data including historical data for live business chart and Twitter Feed. They also created versions of the graphics for many applications including the video wall, full-frame displays, side panels and CG displays.
Comprehensive services and customer support
As part of the data integration services, Astucemedia also enabled the Thomson Reuters data service to feed a graphical display on Sky News Arabia’s website athttp://www.skynewsarabia.com, as well as the on-air graphics. They also integrated Sky News Arabia’s in-house content management system (CMS) with the graphics workflow platform so that “ad fillers” would automatically move from the CMS to air in order to fill airtime in regions where certain commercials would not run.
“Astucemedia successfully met all of our technical requirements to ensure that Sky News Arabia had a very smooth, successful launch,” said Khaloud Al Ghamdi, broadcast computing manager for Sky News Arabia. “As a crucial partner in this endeavor, Astucemedia worked closely with us to deliver an effective graphics workflow and valuable help and support.”
In a media landscape crowded with prominent news networks also customer of Astucemedia, such as Al-Jazeera, MBC Al-Arabiya, Sky News Arabia is now well-positioned as a fast-paced, independent, informative news source.
Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Astucemedia is a full-service systems integrator specializing in the design and implementation of interactive broadcast graphics, real-time data integration, custom applications, as well as on-site training and technical support. Astucemedia clients include: Al-Jazeera, MBC Al-Arabiya, SaudiTV, BahrainTV, ABC, Fox Sports, CBS, TF1, TSR, Bloomberg, NDTV, Global News, and many more. Astucemedia opened an office in Dubai to better support broadcasters in The Middle East. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.astucemedia.com.
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Editor’s Note: Product photography is available upon request.