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Down-to-earth benefits from head-in-the-clouds thinking

By Phil Kurz

Cloud computing and software as a service offer broadcasters the solutions they need to transform their business from one of high fixed costs to that of low variable costs, which will allow them to compete more effectively with the onslaught of new media entrants. At least those are the prescriptions Chyron executives outlined April 19 during their press conference the day before the NAB Show opens in Las Vegas.

To kick off the press event, Chyron CEO and president Michael Wellesley-Wesley said the days of broadcasters accepting –and in some cases even embracing- high fixed costs as a cost of doing business and a way to limit competition are over. New competitors can leverage software tools and new distribution platforms, like the Internet, to sidestep the high fixed costs of traditional media distribution and compete with a lower cost structure with stations.

To stay competitive broadcasters must change the way they create content, said Wellesley-Wesley. “Chyron must help them (broadcasters) navigate this change, and we have the tools at hand to help them do that,” he said.

Those tools are based on the dual concepts of cloud computing and software as a service. The cloud –an etheric content repository of digital assets, including graphics, images and video content- gives content producers access to these elements from anywhere at any time via the Internet. (In reality, the cloud is far less wispy and more substantial, taking the form of servers under the care and control of Chyron.) Coupled with content software tools that are sold as a service on a monthly basis per user seat, this approach will produce savings of five to 15 times what was required to accomplish the same tasks under the old high fixed cost paradigm.

Already, Gannett Broadcast has employed this approach with Chyron’s help at 23 stations, allowing share content across the group via the cloud and reduce costs. “Gannett can create a graphic once and use it 23 times as opposed to creating the graphic 23 individual times,” said Chyron COO Kevin Prince. “That’s where costs savings come from.”

At the press conference, Chyron announced the AXIS Cloud Hosted Platform, offering redundant content storage, an open API, disaster recovery, hosting, library management, storage, order tracking, backup, reporting metrics and instant scalability.

Chyron also announced a variety of content partners, including Associated Press, Microsoft MapPoint, Thomson Reuters, Microsoft Virtual Earth, Custom Weather, and MGN Online, to offer stations access to everything from maps and satellite imagery to weather and data feeds to populate template-based graphics.

Extending the concept beyond graphics and content, Chyron also announced a variety of application partners offering a diverse roster of software services, including Maximum Throughput with its MaxEdit craft editor, Polopoly with content management and several others, all with the aim of delivering a complete end-to-end workflow.

The company also announced the release of its HyperX3, its most powerful real-time 2-D/3-D character generator and graphics platform to date.