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NextGen TV: Sinclair, USSI Global Announce Major Datacasting Pilot

ATSC 3.0
(Image credit: ATSC)

HUNT VALLEY, M.D. and MELBOURNE, Fla.—Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. and USSI Global announced today that they will partner to offer the nation’s first commercial datacasting service using the NextGen Broadcast standard (ATSC 3.0). The pilot program will deliver local content, advertising, and data files to the rapidly growing Electric Vehicle Charging station market. 

The pilot will help validate the promise of datacasting as a commercial service for broadcasters with USSI Global combining its digital signage and managed services expertise with Sinclair’s NextGen Broadcast capabilities to provide this first-of-a-kind datacasting offering, the companies reported.

In announcing the pilot, Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s president and CEO said, “Predictions of broadcasters supplementing their programming businesses with ancillary services has captured the imagination of all broadcasters. It’s been a part of the `digital promise' since we began the conversion from analog transmissions 25 years ago. Everyone has been waiting for the promises to be fulfilled. That has now arrived with our partnership with USSI Global, which opens wide the door to an enticing array of new services that enhance the choices for businesses and individuals alike.”

Anthony Morelli , USSI Global’s chief operating officer added that: “USSI Global’s experience in the broadcast and digital signage industries uniquely positions us to power datacasting services for EV Charging stations, one of the fastest-growing business opportunities for DOOH. Our strong partnership with Sinclair in the Broadcast Market makes the pivot to datacasting a natural progression. USSI Global’s ecosystem allows us to build out a multi-tenant EV charging network.”

The companies said the pilot will confirm the technology’s ability to achieve several goals, including the ability to support EV Charging systems with dedicated content in select markets; to refine the system design; to optimize presentation of content; to collect audience data; to validate financial assumptions; and uncover unknowns.

As part of the effort, Sinclair will leverage existing content and advertising capabilities using NextGen Broadcast capabilities. The pilot program will require wireless delivery, storage and integration of data into USSI Global’s ecosystem and will demonstrate a capability that can be scaled across the country, the companies said. 

Similar to a typical digital-out-of-home (DOOH) solution for foot traffic near an outdoor kiosk, this datacasting application supports multi-tenant advertising and real-time updates of local content, providing a unique personal experience. 

This user experience combines local content and advertising with data file distribution to all USSI Global kiosks in a given DMA. Feedback to Sinclair will include audience measurement and impression-based analytics captured through USSI Global. 

In addition, USSI Global’s field technicians will install and maintain all kiosks, and the company’s managed services team will provide remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and other support services from its full-service network operations center (NOC).

This datacasting use case will also demonstrate the potential for significant scalability as a growing business. The US Department of Transportation has set a goal of 500,000 EV Charging stations nationwide by 2030. When fully implemented, the goal is for EV owners to be able to find at least one charging port within 50 miles anywhere in the 50 states.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.