Channel 7 considers cloud move

Channel 7 has been investigating moving its sales and scheduling system to the cloud, depending on service levels and cost.

Channel 7 has been investigating moving its sales and scheduling system to the cloud, depending on service levels and cost.

"Hardware requirements for our new Sales and Scheduling system are being investigated for hosting in the cloud," Trevor Bird, general manager of group technical services for the Seven Media Group told ZDNet Australia. "The potential to scale our requirements without the time delay or capital expenditure impact of our own systems cannot be ignored."

It isn't unusual for broadcasters to rely on third-party services for their everyday operations, whether these would be considered as true cloud or not. For example, the ABC, which employs hosting providers Hostworks and Akamai to manage peak load times, including the recent iView premiere of the return of Dr Who.

However, Bird said Channel 7 was being cautious. "Our investigations continue to ensure suitable service levels and costs compared to providing these facilities ourselves," he said.

Other plans for the broadcaster include upgrading hardware platforms at Channel 7's centralised broadcasting centre in Melbourne implemented by content systems developer Quantel eight years ago.

Bird says Channel 7's current media management system (MMS), Content Share, allows the broadcaster to automate the workflows and transfers of content, but the hardware was another story. "Eight years later ... the hardware platforms are approaching end of life, so we are investigating the next cycle of refresh for these broadcasting sub-systems."

Channel 7 has decided to use Harris Nexio servers for the upgrade. The servers, provided by international IT and communications firm, Harris, are expected to be up and running by the end of Q1 2011.

More recently, Channel 7 has also begun implementing a Signiant workflow system to manage the distribution of content from its Melbourne centre. Bird said that the implementation will provide Channel 7 with "workflow management, asset tracking, quality control, automatic alerts and data acceleration of transferred material".

The project began in January and operations are expected to begin in the coming months. Further workflow systems reviews are planned following the completion of the Signiant system.

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