Today with the agility of disk storage, CIB, and other file-based playout and graphic systems, the whole workflow changes, becoming more efficient, much lower cost and reliable. What stays the same are the original graphic elements and their choreography, which are designed by experts. But now they are created on computers and delivered as files. Any additional branding elements can be pre-programmed and added live on-air with up-to-date information from last-minute scheduling or from Internet or metadata. The dynamic display of the graphics, videos, new text, etc. is run live by the on-air graphics engine.
Given the flexibility of modern on-air graphics systems, there are many ways the channel can grab the viewers’ attention and deliver the message that will keep them on-channel. For example, as one program is finishing a quick crawl, a lower third or squeeze back can show the ‘Coming Up Next’ — or, for multichannel broadcasters, ‘Starting Now On ...’ — messages over the end credits. This can be effective with, or without, a voice over. However, waiting until the program ends is too late, as viewers could already be scanning other channels. Of course, the content of the message is important; giving information about upcoming similar programs could well attract current viewers.
Channel branding vehicles can comprise items such as trailers, break bumpers, line-up menus, forthcoming programs, and cross-platform and cross-channel branding. But all this needs to be delivered in such a way as not to disturb or deter viewers from watching the channel. For instance, music channels create templates for the singer/group and song title. Different templates are often used for different shows, but the information comes from the metadata of the clip, or from the MAM, and is automatically shown after the clip starts and again near the end. Also using the same metadata or MAM, the coming-up-next clips can be created and shown, even if the music clips are interactive and shown in viewer-rating order.
News channels can create templates for latest information. This can be news tickers, share prices, weather and exchange rates. These may take the metadata from a database, or the Internet, to keep the information current. Information can be shown concurrently or sequentially with added graphics generated by the computer. So arrow-up, arrow-right and arrow-down graphics can indicate the direction of share-price movement from the last-shown data or from the day’s opening prices.
The most developed CIB systems can comprise just commercial off-the-shelf hardware and CIB software. Given reliable operation, playout systems based on this technology can run fully redundant automatic remote playout anywhere in the world via the Internet. This can make delivering a TV station anywhere, complete with local branding and content, an economic reality, even for small audiences. It enables the whole operation to be run from an established broadcast center to worldwide locations at a cost that makes sense.
Advertisement insertion systems allow network content to be locally branded. Targeting advertisements for specific audiences with ad insertion and digital program insertion, a station can use local or network advertising to maximise the business potential for the local audience.
All in a box
Some CIB systems offer a cost-effective turnkey file-based solution that combines video playback and rich branding graphics — both generated from the same box. Then good graphics and some simple programming is all that is needed for the channel to be considered one of the best available.