CBS News Selects Volicon's Observer System for Competitive News

CBS News in New York has successfully deployed Volicon's Observer System, a multi-channel broadcast monitoring, streaming and archive system. With this system in place, CBS News can now monitor six of its competitors.

The Observer system replaces a less efficient process at CBS News of maintaining air records in VHS format archived on shelves. "Previously, when a request came through for a recorded segment we would have to manually find and pull the tape off the shelf, a cumbersome and sometimes unreliable process," said Frank Governale, Vice President of Operations at CBS News. "Now we can pull live or archived data instantly and share it over the Internet, without even having to leave our desks."

The Observer product, based on cutting edge video compression and streaming technology developed at Volicon, allows users to monitor multiple broadcasts, compare content, and archive to local storage. A powerful search engine can locate content-based closed caption text. Users can quickly locate desired broadcast material, create clips, and send to other users for review. The Observer works with Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser running on off-the-shelf PCs with no need for special software. Because the Observer is Internet-based, CBS News can view its own transmissions as well as its competitors' from any PC, anywhere in the world.

Familiar "VCR-style" controls are combined with color cues to clearly indicate channels displayed, whether they are live or recorded. Users can add or subtract channels from their display and toggle between windowed, split and full-screen display with a simple mouse click. Its simple interface allows users to quickly move to an actual or relative time stamp based on the Observer's clock.

According to Governale, "The Observer enables CBS News to actually look at what our competitors are doing at the same time, a major benefit for us. As events go on the air, we can actually see who broke the story first, right down to the second."

CBS News is currently using the Observer to track and monitor six competitors as well as its own network programming. "We worked closely with CBS News to customize the Observer with features that would satisfy their specific needs," stated Eli Warsawski, President and CEO of Volicon. "Our product has evolved based upon what we've learned from working with CBS News, an organization that has always been recognized as a technology leader."