DigiCAP Co., the South Korean company highly involved in NEXTGEN TV’s rollout, has announced new interoperability for DigiCaster, its virtualized ATSC 3.0 broadcast gateway. This technical achievement enables ATSC 3.0 signals to be integrated with AWS Elemental Media Services and AWS Elemental Live to help accelerate ATSC 3.0 station deployments and open up OTT program distribution opportunities.
Accelerating ATSC 3.0 Station Deployment
This new interoperability enables broadcasters to build a single cloud instance using the DigiCaster ATSC 3.0 broadcast gateway coupled with virtual encoder and transport services from AWS Elemental Media Services and AWS Elemental Live. This combination can be used to create a cloud based STL (studio to transmitter link) that could be deployed using a single instance on AWS Marketplace. Imagine being able to put an entire ATSC 3.0 station STL on the air using a single software download and typing in the IP address for the station’s transmitter exciter input. This can greatly simplify and speed ATSC 3.0 station launches.
Opening an Era of OTT Innovation for Broadcasters
What features can ATSC 3.0 bring to this existing live streaming process? The ATSC 3.0 roadmap includes interactive and personalized distribution capabilities which are a natural fit for a streaming environment. The first requirement for these innovations to begin is enabling ATSC 3.0 signals to enter a virtualized cloud workspace. The first step has been taken!
DigiCAP VP Joonyoung Park says, “We are very excited to provide broadcasters the opportunity to use a single cloud instance to accelerate the ATSC 3.0 adoption process and open the doors for ATSC 3.0 OTT innovation.”
Codec manufacturer Tieline has announced a new firmware release for Gateway and Gateway 4 codecs supporting RAVENNA, used widely by broadcasters around the world to advertise and discover streams when streaming real-time IP audio.
Integrating RAVENNA support facilitates interfacing between Gateway and Gateway 4 codecs and RAVENNA devices over AoIP networks.
Tieline codecs specialize in streaming low latency, high quality audio over a range of wired and wireless IP transports and facilitate the integration of compressed and uncompressed IP audio streams around the broadcast plant. The codecs are often gateway devices in IP networks bridging between wide area network (WAN) nodes that may include the broadcast plant, other studios (inter-studio links), production facilities and live events. Gateway and Gateway 4 codecs deliver a flexible platform capable of adeptly routing audio between a range of equipment using proprietary AoIP protocols like WheatNet-IP, as well as devices supporting RAVENNA, AES67 and ST 2110-30.
The new firmware release is a free upgrade for existing customers.
On September 9, a resource management software manufacturer serving the broadcast, studio, media services and video transmission industries planned to launch the Version 10 update of one of its more widely used products at the 2021 NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Then came the Sept. 15 announcement from the NAB that the show would be cancelled.
Where does this leave Xytech?
That’s unclear, with the launch of MediaPulse 10 planned for an event that’s no longer being staged.
The NAB’s decision, however, isn’t likely to put a stop to product rollouts and upgrades, and the latter is what Xytech, which purchased ScheduALL in April 2021, is ready to share.
“Over the course of the past year, significant upgrades have been made to the platform to upgrade performance, security, transmission, project budgeting, asset management as well as major updates to the scheduling system and application UI,” Xytech says.
The three areas of concentration for the MediaPulse 10 update are mobility, the cloud and
features to support the changing nature of the business. “The MediaPulse Managed Cloud is faster and more secure, and the new mobile features support a customer base with new remote needs in a very different and evolving environment,” Xytech says.
The new budgeting module addresses the need to control costs on projects of all sizes including large annual facility projections, it adds. “Xytech is also tapping into the ScheduALL client base and has developed new features across the transmission and scheduling modules to make MediaPulse more impactful for users.”
For more information, visit xytechsystems.com.
In response to the rapidly growing immersive audio market and growth of the Dolby Atmos format in film, television, gaming, and music production, a Finnish loudspeaker manufacturer has brought to market an amplifier designed specifically for the needs of multi-channel workflows.
By combining the latest advanced Class-D technology and in-house designed proprietary buffer stage, Amphion‘s Amp400.8 offers up to 410W of power across up to 8 identical channels.
“Atmos is naturally of great interest to us and we have been digging into it deeply,” says Amphion CEO Anssi Hyvonen. “It has the potential of being something very interesting to the end customer, but only if it is done right. We strongly believe that the only way to utilize the considerable, often updatable DSP processing power of the latest immersive monitor controllers is to keep the monitoring chain as transparent as possible. Therefore, it should be free of any unnecessary additional DSP or other electrical circuitry. As the number of channels grow, even the slightest shortcomings in monitoring lead to lack of cohesion, which is clearly audible through speakers as well as headphones.”
Amp400.8 is available for $4,500 and is shipping now.
For more information about Amp400.8, please visit: http://amphion.fi/create/
Wireless microphone system maker Shure has issued a firmware update for the recently released ADX5D wireless receiver.
Now available in the dual-channel portable receiver is a party dial feature that enables users to enables users to
Construct a custom group of frequencies, for instance open channels at a venue, and rapidly move between them.
In addition, the menu structure has been “optimized” to make frequently used features closer to each other and shortcuts are dedicated to most popular items.
Send your new equipment news to email@example.com.
The Copyright Royalty Board judges on Monday issued the public version of their final determination for webcasting royalty rates and terms.
Those are the royalty rates for webcasters that stream sound recordings from 2021 through 2025. This is one of the final steps in the process of implementing rates that we told you about earlier.
The document released by the judges is a deep dive into a legalistic discussion over how rates for entities like Spotify, AM/FM broadcasters, colleges and other streamers are calculated. The public version of their document is available here. Some confidential information has been redacted.
The document includes an extensive discussion of why the judges rejected the NAB’s idea that simulcasters should pay lower rates. They ruled that simulcasters and other commercial
webcasters “compete in the same submarket and should be subject to the same rate.
Granting simulcasters differential royalty treatment would distort competition in this submarket,
promoting one business model at the expense of others.” (That discussion starts on page 218 of the document.)
The rate for commercial subscription services in 2021 is $0.0026 per performance. The
rate for commercial nonsubscription services in 2021 is $0.0021 per performance. Subsequent rates will change based on a Consumer Price Index.
Noncommercial webcasters that don’t exceed a certain total number of tuning hours per month have a flat rate of $1,000 annually for each station or channel.
Public broadcasters and certain educational webcasters previously reached their own separate rate settlements for the five-year period with SoundExchange; the CRB approved those last year.
From Podcast Business Journal
Baton Rouge-based radio broadcasting company Guaranty Media has launched a new podcast network.
The company owns four stations in the Louisiana market, and the new podcast network has six shows.
Full details on the network, including an interview with Digital Content Director Jay Parker, can be found HERE.
What does Evergrande have to do with Entravision, Nexstar or Nielsen?
Absolutely nothing. Yet, media stocks were swept up in a decisively down day on Wall Street, fueled by what some are calling the potential collapse of a Chinese property Goliath.
The DRM Consortium is characterizing its own data from recent FM-band trials in India as “extremely positive and very encouraging.”
Digital Radio Mondiale is one of two digital systems being considered by AIR (All India Radio) for local and regional services on the country’s FM band. HD Radio is the other platform in the running.
AIR is expected to make a recommendation to the country’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Tests and trials of DRM were done in February and March.
The AIR R&D organization did its own measurements but the DRM Consortium says it took measurements too. “While the final official recommendation of the AIR Committee is still awaited, the DRM Consortium has gathered and visualized the data and measurements it recorded in parallel with AIR in New Delhi and Jaipur,” the consortium said in an announcement Monday.
“The measurements clearly demonstrate that DRM as the global all-bands digital radio standard can deliver an unmatched number of digital audio services in the given spectrum (up to three audio plus one multimedia service per DRM signal block), while allowing for maximum utilization of the FM band spectrum (with every DRM signal occupying only 96 kHz spectrum bandwidth, half the bandwidth analog FM requires for a single audio service).”
It said that the trial confirmed that DRM transmissions would not interfere with ongoing analog FM services. “Also, DRM as a pure-digital radio standard proved its ability to efficiently broadcast multiple DRM signals side by side from a single transmitter (multi-DRM transmitter configuration), and for operating in flexible configurations alongside an analog FM signal from the same transmitter (simulcast transmitter configuration).”
Further, it said DRM could deliver Journaline advanced text service in multiple languages, “to be ready for delivering Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF with CAP interface), and to efficiently enable traffic, travel and online teaching services over broadcast, without requiring internet connectivity.”
DRM said reception in the FM band was demonstrated on various receivers of various types including car receivers and mobile phones. “It was proven that existing receiver models, already supporting DRM in the AM bands as adopted by India, can support DRM in all bands by a simple firmware upgrade without hardware modifications.”
The consortium has posted its overview of these findings (PDF).
A global media company operating 42 TV channels and multiple digital products across six continents that’s a major player in content distribution and broadcasting worldwide is joining forces with Paris-based Canal+ Group.
CANAL+ is taking a 70% majority stake in SPI International. It’s a move that’s also a vote of confidence in SPI, as has pledged to keep the current management team and operational structure in place.
SPI’s Founder Loni Farhi and CEO Berk Uziyel will continue to manage and develop SPI’s business with the support of their executive committee. “The parties will be able to generate reciprocal synergies to further strengthen the two groups’ presence in the
international markets,” Canal+ says.
In a joint statement, Farhi and Uziyel said, “It is very exciting news and the start of a new era for SPI INTERNATIONAL. CANAL+ and SPI share a common vision for continuous growth and a strong international presence. We have been strategic partners for years, where we have built a great tradition of collaborations and achieving mutual goals. Now we will have the chance to join forces under one roof. SPI will further accelerate its growth with CANAL+ while leveraging natural synergies. SPI International has an amazingly talented team that has produced incredible growth in the last decade. Now, with this great team and with much enthusiasm, we are delighted to become part of the CANAL+ family. Our joined forces will strengthen the existing entertainment products and expand the distribution of our compelling content to far larger audiences.”
Maxime Saada, CEO of CANAL+ Group, adds, “The acquisition of SPI INTERNATIONAL is
part of the strategy we have been implementing for several years. We have set ourselves the goal of reaching a minimum of 30 million subscribers by 2025, and SPI INTERNATIONAL will certainly be a key asset in achieving this ambition.”
The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is designed to help CANAL+ expand its content investment strategy, which already includes Studiocanal, and Kino Świat in Poland.
The power of the auto insurance brands can be seen once again at Spot Cable.
The latest Media Monitors Spot Ten Cable report is out, and for the last week, four of the top 10 spots by play count are represented by auto insurance specialists. Who’s at No. 1?
As social media and technology companies face criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of misleading information on their platforms, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that some 48% of U.S. adults get news on social media sites “often” or “sometimes,” a 5 percentage point decline from 2020.
The latest Media Monitors Spot Ten Radio report has one big takeaway with respect to the most active ad category at broadcast media: auto insurance brands.
At radio, there is a leader that is not present at Spot Cable. It shows that broadcast media is the preferred way to go for achieving stronger ROI.
That’s because Progressive is the category leader at Spot Radio once again, with GEICO at No. 9.
Some 46,194 spot plays are attributed to Progressive, as DuckDuckGo is the No. 1 paid advertiser by play count for the week.
Meanwhile, it is another big week for Babbel, and it and McDonald’s are back in the Spot Ten.
Cumulus Media has selected two individuals who will serve in newly created positions across its Music & Entertainment and Sports divisions.
Their role: to lead new content development across the audio content creation and distribution company’s platforms.
Reporting to EVP/Content and Audience are Doug Cohn, who’ll take the role of SVP/Music & Entertainment, Content and Audience; and Bruce Gilbert, filling the role of SVP/Sports, Content and Audience.
Cohn was formerly SVP/Music & Talent for Nickelodeon, where he played a key role in the career success of JoJo Siwa. He previously spent more than a decade at such entities as Atlantic Records and VH1.
For Gilbert, the role is a promotion for the 7 1/2-year company veteran, who will continue to direct all sports programming for Cumulus’ stations and for its Westwood One Sports arm.
For two generations of rock and roll fans, it was a South Bay monster, gaining steam against a direct format rival in the early 1980s with such industry veterans as Ken Anthony in afternoon drive. By 1998, powered by the Lamont and Tonelli morning show, signals were added around the San Francisco Bay area to expand the station — perhaps the first opportunity to “microcast” and target specific communities.
Now, thanks to GeoBroadcast Solutions technology being tested, the ability to narrowcast for this station, now targeting Bollywood music fans, by using one FM signal appears to be a success.
SiriusXM has selected three new senior marketing executives as SiriusXM continues its current growth initiatives by launching a new national brand advertising effort designed to reach larger audiences.
Now reporting to Chief Marketing Officer Denise Karkos and supporting the company’s SiriusXM and Pandora brands are:
- Jasmin Chanana, Senior Vice President, Digital and Customer Experience
- Anne Milan Alo, Executive Creative Director
- Kimberly Wilson, Senior Vice President, Brand and Advertising
Karkos comments, “Their collective experience across major consumer and business-to-business brands will help accelerate our brand and business growth. The diversity of this set of leaders at my table is imperative in our pursuit to build SiriusXM to new heights.”
Chanana joins SiriusXM from EY, where he was a Managing Director in their Digital Practice, leading the New York office. Milan Alo joins SiriusXM from Netflix, where she was the streaming services Head of Creative Studio, Title Promotions, leading a multi-disciplinary creative team responsible for fully executing the creative campaign for The Queen’s Gambit.
Wilson joins SiriusXM after a 16-year tenure at The Walt Disney Company where she served as VP/Multiplatform Marketing and held several distribution marketing leadership positions. Wilson previously worked for iHeartMedia and BET Networks. Wilson will lead SiriusXM’s brand marketing and advertising, digital content and audience engagement teams.
NEW YORK — There’s a new over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV offering that’s now available for viewers across the U.S., accessible via such platforms as Roku and Amazon Fire TV. It allows viewers “to connect with local news and information relevant to their lives.”
Yes, there are plenty of apps that do this already. But, this is the first to involve Hearst Television stations.
All Marketron services were offline as of Monday morning due to a “cyber event.”
Whether this was the result of an attack or another kind of issue is unclear, though the company is using a cybersecurity firm to resolve it. It wrote overnight on its website that it had invested heavily in recent years “to prevent a situation like this.”
This is a significant outage, given that the company serves approximately 6,000 media organizations and, according to its website, manages $5 billion in annual U.S. advertising revenue.
The company’s products include sales and traffic management software tools used by broadcast and media organizations.
“Marketron is experiencing a cyber event, which is impacting certain business operations,” the company wrote in a tech update on its website.
“Currently, all Marketron customers may experience an interruption in services as a result.”
As of 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, all Marketron services were offline.
Marketron Traffic, Visual Traffic Cloud, Exchange and Advertiser Portal were all affected. The company said it decided to take down RadioTraffic and RepPak as well “out of an abundance of caution.” Its Pitch platform was not affected.
The company wrote that it had been unable so far to confirm the root cause of the problem and that it was working to identify the scope of the event and whether there was any threat to customer data.
“Marketron and an industry leading third-party cybersecurity firm are working around the clock to restore service. Our only priority as a business is to get your business up and running. We hope to have a better sense of timelines on Monday morning.
“We understand that any impact to your business is unacceptable.”
Supply Side is a series of occasional interviews with industry manufacturers and service providers,
Ben Barber is president/CEO of Inovonics Inc.
Radio World: What’s the most significant technology trend for radio stations in your part of the business?
Ben Barber: Monitoring of their stations. That is the biggest growth sector in equipment that we see. Engineers are spread thin, and they need to know what is happening at their remote stations.
RW: How is the company approaching that?
Barber: Inovonics has two new HD Radio Modulation Monitors. Model 551 is a 3U box with lots of meters and diagnostics on the front panel. The Model 552 is a 1U box that is more for the remote site where you use it to log in remotely to obtain all the pertinent data you need.
RW: How are these different from what’s on the market?
Barber: Both models, 551 and 552, have web interfaces so they are accessible from any web-enabled device and not from a PC application. This makes them much easier to monitor and remotely operate. Second is SNMP functions for everything in the box, both monitoring and control.
As I mentioned, monitoring your station’s modulation and overall signal health has become a larger part of our sales over the past year or two. I think the reasons are twofold.
Engineers are stretched more thinly and the ability to know what is going on at stations they can’t easily monitor is essential. Secondly, more and more networks are centralizing their operations and they want to know what is going on in remote markets. So, for the single engineer monitoring a number of local stations or the large network wanting to monitor all of their stations, the needs are very similar.
For years, engineers have approached us to come out with an HD modulation monitor with a number of key features that have been missing from current offerings.
- The ability to check your FM/HD modulation from any web-enabled device, and from anywhere. Having a PC application is fine but what about when you’re using your tablet or smartphone and you need to check modulation levels, Artist Experience or other transmission metrics? A comprehensive web GUI can’t be beat.
- SNMP. This is a huge piece of the pie that has been missing. More and more remote controls are using SNMP to aggregate alarm data and then feed that information to engineers. Networks that have NOCs (network operation centers) need to be able to poll all of their sites to get up to date information on their health. SNMP is the way to do this.
- Monitor multiple HD Channels simultaneously. Both of our new HD modulation monitors can monitor 4 x HDs simultaneously in real time and supply metrics and audio back to the engineering team.
- Meter History. Our monitors can show the past 24 hours of RF metrics, audio metrics and alignment measurements. This is very useful in seeing trends and finding problems in the field.
RW: How has the pandemic affected Inovonics’ business?
Barber: Sales were where you would expect them for such a year. The shutdowns of 2020 were hard on us, though we all came through with our jobs intact! The good news is that we were able to focus on product development.
David Honig is a civil rights lawyer practicing before the Federal Communications Commission and federal appeals courts. David co-founded the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC). He currently serves as MMTC’s President Emeritus and Senior Advisor, focusing on broadband adoption, literacy, redlining, and employment and ownership diversity.
He was interviewed by Suzanne Gougherty, director of MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council. Answers were edited for clarity and brevity by Veronica Devries, MMTC Earle K. Moore Law Fellow. MMTC commentaries appear regularly in Radio World, which welcomes other points of view on industry issues.
Suzanne Gougherty: Decades ago, the minority tax certificate program was an economic incentive provided to broadcast companies to sell their stations to potential minority buyers — was it successful?
David Honig: It was very successful. It quintupled the number of minority-owned broadcast stations in the 17 years the program was in effect.
Gougherty: Please explain how the tax certificate program worked for broadcast companies.
Honig: If you sold a radio/television station or a local cable system to a minority-controlled entity, you would be given, by the FCC, a certificate which states if you had a capital gain on the sale you can defer payment of the tax on the capital gain if you reinvest in comparable property. It was a way of incentivizing sales to minorities.
The history of it is interesting. In 1970 the FCC was requiring companies that exceeded the station ownership caps (the number of stations you can own in a local market) and other local ownership rules to divest in order to comply with these standards. Because these were compulsory divestitures, to make it go down somewhat easier, the commission said capital gains taxes could be deferred on these compulsory sales.
Subsequently, this tax certificate was extended to voluntary divestitures. In 1977, then FCC Chairman Dick Wiley convened a Federal Advisory Committee to examine whether there were more aggressive steps that could be taken to diversify broadcast ownership. He did this because there were very few minority-owned stations at the time (one television station and 60 radio stations in 1978 when the program was announced). I helped staff that committee. In 1978 the tax certificate program was extended to sales to minority-owned companies. In that way it built on existing framework that the industry was familiar with. The economic impact was spread widely, and it was certainly an incentive to sell to minorities. The program was announced in 1978 and continued until 1995.
Gougherty: Did broadcast companies use the program to increase their ownership portfolio into larger markets or stations?
Honig: Yes, there are examples of it being used by incumbent minority broadcasters to expand the size of their portfolio or the markets they were able to be in so that they could leapfrog up from medium markets to large markets. That was a common use of the economic incentive.
Gougherty: Why was the program stopped?
Honig: Suffice it to say that there was a misinformation campaign.
For 26 years, we have been trying to get the program back. This seems to be the year that has the greatest chance so far of having it come back in some form.
Gougherty: There is a proposal pending in Congress by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Sen. Gary Horsford (D-Nev.), Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to bring back the Tax Certificate program. Is it basically the same program; if not, what’s different about this current proposal?
Honig: It is no longer a race-conscious program. It focuses on the eligible companies, that is who can be a buyer, as being socially disadvantaged individuals. There’s extensive case law that points out how an agency must justify a finding that people of color or women are socially and economically disadvantaged and it tracks those standards very closely. It also provides for reports to Congress, to assure that the program won’t be abused. I looked at more than 200 tax certificate deals at the time and there was only one deal where there was fraud, and the FCC did punish that company eventually.
There is also a new provision in the Senate version of the bill that would allow a station owner to receive a tax credit equal to the value of the station, if he or she donates the station to a training institution such as an HBCU. A tax credit is a very valuable thing: it’s tax you don’t pay. This is a way to help small broadcasters especially, and we are hoping this provision will make it to the final version of the bill after both houses of Congress come together.
Gougherty: What will be the process to ensure fraud does not occur with the certificates — such as the involvement of a nonminority entity using a “front” person, who does not have any activity with the organization at all?
Honig: There’s very high visibility with a program like this. It’s a small industry in terms of the number of companies. Everyone would be watching them to make sure that no one is playing games with the program or trying to create a fraudulent buyer. The commission has been very aggressive in cracking down on frauds in other contexts. It would be very stupid for anyone to think they can try and outsmart the FCC Enforcement Bureau.
Gougherty: Is there any opposition to the bill?
Honig: First, the NAB has been wonderful helping to organize support on this issue. All 50 state broadcasting associations wrote a letter to the members of Congress endorsing the return of the tax certificate policy. That has never happened before. No one has come out in opposition. That doesn’t mean there won’t be opposition, but no one has chosen to go public and oppose it. We hope that its value will be recognized in a bipartisan way. We note, for example, that nine former FCC chairs voiced their bipartisan support. There was a voice vote on the House version in the House Commerce Committee that passed with no dissents. So, all the Democratic and Republican members were at peace with how the legislation was presented in the House a few months ago.