Aleph Media Case Study: Etere Nunzio Drives Newsroom with Over 150 Journalists10 March 2021
Driven by Etere Ecosystem, Romanian news channel, Aleph News, was launched on September 1, 2020 to deliver news to the new media market through cable, satellite and its e-news website. Etere Ecosystem manages the end-to-end workflow with an integrated framework that produces better operational efficiency and a more accurate control over the workflows.
In the last quarter of 2020, Romanian media mogul, Adrian Sarbu, the owner of Mediafax group and Ziarul Financiar, founder of Pro TV- the biggest media company in Romania, launched News Channel, Aleph News, with over 150 journalists on board with the company. Aleph News was launched with consumers of information and entertainment on mobile devices in mind, as the channel can be reached via cable and satellite on almost all of the communication networks in Romania. Furthermore, its audiences can also view the channel on its e-news website, alephnews.ro. To provide the best user experience, the channel is optimized for mobile viewing as well. Aleph Media comprises of several departments, including the news production unit, content editors and field journalists that work together to produce content for the local audiences.
Etere Ecosystem was a Perfect Solution to Meet the Broadcaster's Needs
After several rounds of demonstrations and evaluations, Etere was selected to implement a Newsroom and Media Asset Management system for Aleph News Channel. Etere Ecosystem was selected for this project based on the benefits it brings including its cost-efficiency, flexibility and integrative design that allows the station to have a single software to effectively manage its end-to-end workflow. Etere provides the advantage of having only one system to manage both the production facilities such as newsroom and content production, together with administrative processes such as planning, resource management and business intelligence processes. In addition, Etere was able to design and implement a series of custom integrations and workflows for the customer, making the solution a perfect fit for the broadcaster's needs.
The news production schedule at Aleph News includes one news broadcast every hour from 7am to 10pm. After 10pm, re-runs are scheduled for broadcast. The news programs feature talk shows in studios with multiple live feeds. As a result, Aleph News requires a very robust newsroom system that is able to manage a large amount of data, resources and feeds that run concurrently. Not only that, the system needs to be able to manage a large amount of real-time updates. Etere features a distributed architecture that enables a highly resilient and fault-tolerant performance. Moreover, Etere Ecosystem framework allows the station to have a 360 degrees view of all internal and external processes in real-time. The integrated processes enhances accuracy and reliability in every step of the workflow.
Aleph News is a revolutionary news channel that was launched with new media as part of its expansion plans. Besides an e-news website, the channel was launched with social media publishing as part of its business development strategy. The channel can also be reached by consumers of information and entertainment on mobile devices. Aleph News taps on the potential of the 21st century new media market. As a forward-looking technology provider in the media and broadcast industry, Etere is committed to helping its users to be future-ready and to empower them with innovative software tools optimized to achieve organizational goals.
Challenges and Solutions
Being a brand new channel with over 150 journalists working together concurrently, the project is not without its own set of challenges but the Etere team was ready to help Aleph News achieve its business goals. To prepare for the designing of the workflows, the Etere team worked closely with the Aleph News team to understand their newsroom workflow, needs and operational procedures. As the channel is very new, many of the newsroom processes were not established yet. Aleph News and the Etere Engineers worked on a DevOps approach from the planning, designing, testing, fine-tuning to integration phases. Many of the customer's requests were developed on-demand, tested intensively and subsequently integrated into the workflow. This approach is able to provide a shorter software development life cycle whilst providing continuous delivery and robust testing that results in a more customized fit for the company. After months of preparation, development and integrations, Aleph News went live with Etere on September 1, 2020.
An Integrated Framework for Better Management and Higher Efficiency
Etere Ecosystem brings an integrative framework to Aleph News that effectively connects all the processes in the system. In this workflow, a news story is conceptualized and created by the journalist or content editor on the Nunzio desktop application or Etere Web. Subsequently, media files are uploaded and linked to the news story. In the scenario that tasks such as editing jobs need to be created and assigned, Etere T-Workflow is able to manage this process automatically. Aleph News has an in-house video editing team that performs editing tasks using the Etere Adobe Premiere Extension Panal that provides a seamless integration between the Etere system and Adobe Premiere Pro.
From Adobe Premiere Pro, each editor can view his assets, send files, preview and import them from Etere database without switching screens. Furthermore, they are able to link assets, search by asset code and integrate their task list from Etere into Adobe. From the Adobe interface, they are also able to retrieve rundown stories for a faster content publishing. Moreover, automated workflows can be triggered to check the file quality, formats and codecs of the files. Once the project has been updated, it can be exported to Etere directly from the Adobe interface. At this point the material can be used for news stories. Additionally, a low-res copy of the file is automatically generated by workflow and saved in the database for an easy retrieval when needed. Etere's integrative properties allow a seamless content editing workflow for content editors and creators.
Etere T-Workflow empowers the stations' administrators to design workflows and set broadcasting rules based on operational needs and business objectives. This results in a personalized fit for their system. Furthermore, with Etere's user-friendly T-workflow designer tool, the Administrators at Aleph News are able to create or modify broadcasting procedures without the need for any down time or external configurations. The full flexibility of Etere system allows Aleph News to break down workflow complexity and have a clear visualization of each step of the broadcasting workflow. Etere T-Workflow is driven by Microsoft SQL which is able to start 100,000 workflows in under one second. It is able to support even the most demanding of broadcast environments.
Moreover, engineers at Aleph News can monitor their workflows easily with the T-Workflow monitor which provides a centralized dashboard to view the real-time statuses of running workflows in the system. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to check how many assets are attached to a workflow and the statuses of assets tagged to a workflow.
To meet specific organizational and branding objectives, Etere custom designed a series of interfaces for Aleph News including
■ MOS devices activities dashboard on EtereWeb
■ Stories list on EtereWeb
■ Stories approval list on EtereWeb
■ Image gallery selection
■ Nunzio newsroom mobile application
■ Report for human resources
■ Etere Studio Player - Backup playout for Nunzio
■ Etere Web stories approval
■ Web report for human resources on EtereWeb
■ Upload images with metadata
Take your Newsroom Wherever You Go with Etere
Etere delivers the freedom to produce content and collaborate with teams from any location in the world. Etere Nunzio Newsroom can be accessed on multiple devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. With a centralized database and real-time updates, Etere Nunzio enhances multi-media planning, collaboration, editing and delivery across all units in the newsroom workflow. With a secured login on Etere Web, users can access all the core functions of the Etere application on a web browser. For example, news editors can approve stories directly from Etere Web while news journalists are able to upload multiple images with metadata and attach them to stories from the Etere Web interface.
In addition, Etere Web features a series of reports that can be customized to provide in-depth data of the system. Examples of pre-defined reports for newsroom that are available on Etere Web include human resources, track work orders on stories and stories broadcast by the hour.
Etere Nunzio Newsroom -Feature-rich Client
Etere Nunzio Newsroom is one of the most flexible NRCS (Newsroom Computer System) on the market with all the tools needed to develop a story from the initial idea to the final broadcast from a single interface. With its centralized dashboards connecting web, social media and broadcast workflows, field journalists can easily share content and collaborate in real-time, making it easy to create compelling content to engage viewers. Designed to streamline the newsroom workflows, Nunzio improves coordinated multi-media planning and collaboration across different production units such as the TV and web departments. In addition, Nunzio's robust MOS interface integrates with graphics, video servers, Etere Media Asset Management and Automation. As a part of Etere Ecosystem, Etere Nunzio Newsroom also features a seamless integration with studio automation for a more efficient editorial planning and collaboration.
With Nunzio Newsroom, Aleph News operators are equipped with a robust feature set and capabilities including
■ Management of complex stories with multiple video elements including video files, live streams, graphics and secondary media files simultaneously
■ Supports Newtek NDI
■ Supports E-paper and website upload
■ Add/update playlists from social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube directly from Nunzio interface
■ Real-time updates
■ Supports MOS-compliant Teleprompters
■ Flexible and scalable production workflow
■ Fully configurable data model
■ Sophisticated rights, search and communication tools
■ News tickers to create custom carousels
■ Dante audio support for superior audio quality
Quick Story Templates
Nunzio Newsroom features quick story templates which are grouped by categories (for example Economy, Politics and Sports). It allows journalists to deliver breaking news quickly without having to start drafting the news story from scratch.
Active Directory Integration for the Management of User Rights
Etere allows system administrators to manage user rights easily with the integration of Active Directory. Based on specific user permissions, teams can create content, assign tasks, approve workflows and schedule publishing with all updates reflected in real-time. The agenda feature enables events and tasks to be integrated with Outlook for a clear calendar overview.
Etere includes a rich text editor that allows content creator to build compelling content easily with the option to insert content elements such as video, MOS objects and graphics.
Stories Basket for Fast and Easy Creation of News Stories
From a centralised dashboard, newsroom users are able to access all stories that require processing before being moved to the rundown. Users have a clear overview of what pending tasks before the story is ready for publishing.
In addition, journalists can create a new story easily from the story basket interface, all without opening the story editor. From the new story menu, users can enter the title of the new story; assign the story to a journalist and save the new story settings.
The story editor is an interactive dashboard with a rich-text editor that integrates all elements of a story on a single screen. It is seamlessly integrated with Etere MAM for a an easy integration of assets and low-res preview from the media library. In addition, users can prepare the content for the teleprompter, add secondary video objects to the main video files as well as keep track of the actual story duration.
Integrated Management of Live Events
From the story editor, users can add live event to the story editor by using the live features and selecting a configured asset as a live event in the configuration module. The estimated duration of the live event can also be inserted accordingly.
News journalists, editors and producers at Aleph News are empowered to build playlists of news feeds, visuals and graphics as well as re-purpose content across shows and platforms to increase efficiency for multi-site systems. Etere Nunzio is also designed to manage complex stories with multiple video elements including video files, live streams, graphics and secondary media files simultaneously. It enables the automatic and manual playout of all videos and video elements. From a single interface, multiple playback streams can run concurrently. Besides that, operators are able to play the individual video elements of complex stories individually.
The Integrated MOS Protocol and Interface
Based on the use of MOS (Media Object Server Communications Protocol), Etere MOS Gateway allows Etere Media Asset Management to communicate with Nunzio Newsroom which is used to receive feeds, create stories, associate media items with stories and place them into rundowns. It also bridges a connectivity with the Media Object Servers (MOS) which manages the ingestion, creation, editing, storage and broadcast of media objects. Etere MOS Gateway is based on the MOS protocol that connects news operations with the production of digital media.
Etere MOS Gateway updates the newsroom system whenever there are changes to ensure that the latest updates are incorporated at all times. With Etere MOS integration, reporters at Aleph News have an accurate and updated news delivery at all times. MOS integrates information including lists of rundowns, script text in rundowns, object status, playlists, object identifier and descriptive information about assets and graphics while exchanging these information with Etere Nunzio Newsroom. The application enables operators to search, view and modify asset forms, search and define segments for asset's linked media as well as insert both asset forms and segments into new playlists. It also enables newsroom systems to create placeholders for content that will be created at a later stage. In addition, clip preview and editing is also enabled via an ActiveX browser.
Etere MOS Gateway reduces manual interventions on tasks such as the replacement of a story rundown interface from one device to another, which in turn reduces operating costs.
Etere Studio Player is available on Etere Web. The station is empowered with the technological tools to prepare live and pre-recorded studio performances for broadcast. Etere Studio Player is a multifunctional studio player that can be used for live news as well as the insertion of advertisements for live news and studio broadcasting. The studio player application is designed to work on touchscreens and can be connected remotely to all devices in the control room including video and audio switcher, light mixer, VTRs, playout, title machines, generic GPI devices and multiviewer. The application features full duplex characteristics that ensures each command delivers a real-time feedback. The integrated console allows operators to switch between feeds easily.
Orchestrates Media Management Workflows with Etere MAM
At the heart of the system, Etere Media Asset Management orchestrates a streamlined workflow and seamless performance. Etere MAM effectively streamlines the process of ingest, index, storage and retrieval of media assets across the end-to-end workflow at Aleph News. Etere MAM provides an integrated platform to manage the complete media lifecycle. It also includes automated content processing such as file quality checks for video and audio. With its implementation, automated workflow processes reduces time-consuming manual intervention and improves the overall operational efficiency for the station. Its configurable workflows allows operators to plan the broadcasting workflow and tasks in advance for a more cohesive collaboration across departments.
Etere allows Aleph News operators to insert custom metadata including descriptive comments, images, loudness, graphic type, asset status and more. Administrators can also create profiles to group assets with similar characteristics together for a more streamlined management.
Resource Planning with a Centralized Management Console
Etere MAM also serves as a centralized resources repository where studio operators and managers can generate work orders, track orders, manage expenses, manage files and content rights, book appointments and create tasks. With the resource manager, the TV station is able to manage resources and tasks more easily. This is an indispensable tool at Aleph News which has over 150 journalists, news producers and content editors working on different tasks across the end-to-end newsroom workflow.
Hi-Res Player for Quick Previews
Etere MAM integrates a high-resolution player for the preview of media files. It is useful for quick edits, trimming and checking of media files.
File Consistency with MD5 Signatures
To add to that, Etere MAM features MD5 signatures inside each file. MD5 signatures ensures that file content does not change after the process of archive retrieval and moving on WAN.
Active Directory Integration
Etere supports Microsoft active directory integration for a streamlined approach to the management of user permissions. This provides a framework that is both reliable and flexible, even with over 150 journalists working on the newsroom concurrently. Users can be assigned user permissions based on their roles and departments. These user permissions may include permission to access/approve media, metadata and workflows. Sometimes users may have cross-function roles which Etere is able to manage effectively. System administrators are able to design, plan and customize their user permission structures easily from the admin console.
Integrated Transcoding Capabilities
Etere Transcoder is an integrated file-based solution that is able to transcode and provide all major format conversations required in production, post-production and distribution workflows. It is also able to perform frame rate conversations between different video standards.
When file-based media is ingested, it may be encoded in a different bitrate and standard from what it is expected to be delivered. With Etere Transcoder, the operators do not have to switch screens to have the files in the correct formats that they need. Etere Transcoder can be driven by automatic workflows to decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux and filter any media files. Not only that, files can be renamed automatically according to customizable workflow rules.
Media Manager for all your File Transfer Requirements
Etere Media Manager is an integrated part of the system which is able to automate the transfer, copy and movement of digital content from one level to another based on customizable workflow rules.
Logger for all Compliance Needs
For the purpose of compliance recording laws, Aleph News records the broadcasts from the RTMP stream which exits from the main encoder. They leverage on the use of Etere Memory which automatically records and stores all transmitted media in a configurable low-res format to fulfill broadcast recording laws. Etere provide all the software tools needed to record, create, edit clips, add metadata, transcode and distribute content.
SNMP Console for a Centralized Monitoring
Etere provides a centralized interface for a real-time system monitoring of devices and processes across systems with SNMP Console. The software application is also able to receive SNMP messages sent by other non-Etere applications and devices including switches, routers and firewalls. Etere SNMP console handshakes Etere applications to check that they are running correctly. In addition, it provides a virtual overview of your machine room with real-time status of each machine. In the event that a connection to the machine has failed, Etere automatically sends a visual-alarm and real-time email notification to the relevant contacts that were configured. The centralized monitoring tool ensures an optimized performance at the station in every stage of the workflow.
Etere F90 effectively manages a fully automated and paperless information exchange between systems. It features automated checks and updates of the system's data including playlist changes. The advanced technology helps to keep the system at Aleph News accurate at all times, even when dealing with a large amount of changes and a fast-paced operation in the newsroom.
Open System with High Interoperability
In this project, the system also interfaces with Blackmagic Video Router, Qumulo Storage, RT Software and CUEIt Software. Etere features high-level interoperability with third party systems and devices. Aleph News is able to effectively control and manage the end-to-end mediacycle with a single system and achieve a streamlined workflow, greater operational efficiencies and a successful launch in the Romanian market.
Etere Ecosystem has provided a revolutionary approach with its integrated framework, scalable and interconnected workflows that allows Aleph News to have better control and flexibility over their news production workflows.
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