[12 September 2014]
Made TV, the largest licensee for city television stations in the UK, has signed a systems integration contract with Megahertz. The agreement sees Megahertz designing and implementing complete production, news and ENG kits for five new stations, together with a centralised playout facility.
Made TV was formed to win and operate city TV licences, and is the largest operator in terms of number of stations. Its plans include stations for Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Tyne & Wear, with a fifth station covering Tees-side to follow shortly. This gives it a reach of more than 11 million people, via Freeview digital terrestrial transmission, Sky satellite and Virgin cable.
“Good partnerships are always journeys but in this case it has been an odyssey,” said Jamie Conway, Made TV CEO. “Megahertz was with us when we lobbied for these licences and supported our effort to reassure the British government that city TV was sustainable. They were with us when we won our licences, and they are still a valued and integral part of the company as we count down to the first station going on air.”
Each station will have a production studio with three robotic cameras and the capability to add two additional cameras as required. The Leeds site also includes the playout, master control, distribution and asset management operations. In addition to studio production, each station will produce news and programmes ‘out and about’ using ENG equipment with live contribution capability when required.
The channels will initially be broadcast in SD but all production will be carried out in HD to permit resale of content and allow easy future upgrades. The channels will be broadcasting pre-recorded, live-studio and live on-location material and all sites are networked together, allowing broadcasters to share content and facilities as required.
“The manner in which Megahertz has designed this system is amazing,” Conway continued. “Our studios in Bristol will be operating as part of a network as if they were in the room next door to their colleagues in Newcastle. This gives us great economies of scale and internal knowledge sharing.
“Megahertz will be playing an important role in the future development and strategy of the company. If we had tried to do this five years ago it would have been impossible, but with today’s technology and the right systems integrator we are launching services that rival any of their national counterparts.”
For Megahertz, managing director Jon Flay said “This has been a fascinating project, particularly as we were brought on board right at the beginning, helping Made TV develop their business case through the use of the latest technology. Together we designed a solution that is slick, practical, operationally efficient and inherently robust.”
City TV in the UK was first proposed in 2012 and 13 companies were awarded 19 licences, of which Made TV is the largest. Six stations are already on air in Grimsby, London, Norwich, Glasgow, Nottingham and Brighton. Made TV will launch in Bristol in October with three other services coming on air before Christmas.
Megahertz will be discussing its systems integration and build capabilities at IBC2014 (12 – 16 September) on stand 11.F20.