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ITV’s Phoenix Rises Again With Pixel Power’s Factory

UK commercial television network ITV has deployed the second phase of its ongoing on-air promotions management project, Phoenix. The ITV Phoenix platform is now running with an automated production system based on Pixel Power’s Factory technology to handle multiple versions of trailers and promos every month.

ITV spent three years developing Phoenix as a replacement for previous campaign techniques, which were largely based on spreadsheets and emailed data. On a monthly basis the new system manages over one thousand different versions of promotional material, which go to the regional ITV centres round the UK.

Phoenix was installed by UK systems integrator NMR and is based on software and media asset management technologies produced by Vidispine and Cantemo, with custom development from another Swedish company, CodeMill. The user interface was designed by London developer 100 Shapes.

The initial design was carried out over a 12 month period, with a pilot implementation taking place during the summer of 2016. NMR chief executive Neil Anderson says all promos were running through the system by Christmas. Anderson describes the system as a "hybrid cloud deployment", which uses a variety of software systems, including Cantemo Portal for "front-end functionality".

Phase two of the installation was implemented over the first months of this year, involving Pixel Power's Factory automation platform. "The Pixel Power infrastructure has brought free clock and automation generation," explains Anderson. This part of the project also involved Telestream's VidCheck quality control software being added to the process.

The custom user interface allows schedulers to input information about promos into the system and produce a JPEG of the end-board. This is used to check that all the data is right, including sponsors' logos, social media tags and transmission slots. The master promo is produced from this work order, after which Factory is able to automatically generate multiple versions.

"The Pixel Power solution means all the teams get immediate visual feedback," comments Nick Haworth, head of technology for studios at ITV. "It is this level of system integration that removes the opportunity for errors, through the confidence that all the data is correct at the start of the process." Matt Scarff, director of ITV Creative, adds, "It eliminates repetitive work, allowing our creative staff to focus on what they do best."

Phase three of the Phoenix project is underway now and involves reporting processes. Anderson says this should be "closed out over the next couple of months".

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