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CBS’ Media Distribution Center


CBS’ new Media Distribution Center (MDC) in New York City replaces aging, tape-based legacy equipment in the current Broadcast Origination Center (BOC) with the absolute state-of-the-art in HD digital file server-based scheduling and playout technologies. Delivering full service in early 2010, the MDC handles up to 80 inbound feeds and 18 outbound network feeds for program playout to U.S. affiliates. Fiber and satellite links connect the 19,735sq-ft facility to CBS Television City in Los Angeles, where scripted programs are prepared for air and disaster recovery operations are located. The MDC will integrate live news and distribute live sports programs with regionalization as required and can support content for new media platforms such as CBS Sportsline, mobile TV applications and VOD services.

Key objectives for the MDC focused on automating and streamlining the workflow for all scheduling and playout operations and minimizing the potential for errors. This required a bulletproof strategy for managing internal and external resources. CBS turned to Pilat Media’s Integrated Broadcast Management System (IBMS) for media management, program content scheduling and in-house technical facility scheduling.

By integrating its centralized, TV network enterprise-wide database and exploiting its comprehensive integration capabilities with other systems, IBMS is helping the MDC run at peak efficiency. Support for CBS’ legacy systems enabled IBMS to provide a smooth, progressive migration path to MDC functionality. Broadcast-relevant data flows into the IBMS system from a wide variety of interfaces. Commercial and promo information are received from the CBS sales system. Program format and timing information are entered into IBMS. The system also takes in data from a separate sales traffic system for The CW Network.

Feeds from a Xytech Web service and ScheduALL enterprise resource management software provide scheduling data for external and internal routing and transmission resources, respectively. An interface with Telestream Flip Factory alerts IBMS to newly arrived commercials that are delivered as files on commercial delivery servers, and a two-way Web service interfaces to OmniBus which is the MDC automation provider. OmniBus manages and controls the movement and playout of all media operations. In addition, highly dynamic Web service interfaces handle the synchronization of schedules and playout and plant routing between IBMS and OmniBus. To close the loop, OmniBus passes as-run information back to IBMS, which in turn passes it on to the sales systems for both CBS and The CW.

Media management, performed by a joint Pilat Media-OmniBus solution, is helping CBS migrate to a tapeless environment with all the associated efficiencies. The combined system processes acquisitions, logging the details of material received into the system and manages ingest of that material to servers. In parallel, it also manages the MDC tape libraries, all within a single integrated environment.

  • New studio technology — network
    Submitted by Pilat MediaDesign teamCBS: Brent Stranathan, Howell Mette, Jay Bergman, Leslie Hanson, Barbara Santangelo, Don Fowler, Leonard Kies, Maggie Harris, Russell Khaimov, Al Heller, Chris Konoski, Eileen Pedersen
    OmniBus: Sam Shore, Stu Pearce
    Pilat Media: Phil Eadie, Bob Lamb, Eli Lev, Nic BridgewaterTechnology at workCitrix: User access application running on Dell 1950s
    Encore: Controlled router
    Harris: Velocity online nonlinear editing, Nexio AMP 3601 video servers
    HP: Blade servers
    NetApp: File servers
    Nortel: Ethernet routers and switches
    OmniBus: Colossus automation and play-to-air system
    Oracle: RAC Nodes running Enterprise Linux on Dell 2950s
    Pilat Media: IBMS

© 2009 Penton Media, Inc.