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Autoscript – 30 years of continued success

Robin Brown (Product Manager, Autoscript)

Thu 21, 06 2018

Autoscript – 30 years of continued success

This article originally appeared in the IABM Journal, issue 105 which is available to view online here

Autoscript has been in business for more than 30 years now; in that time a lot of vendors in broadcast and media have come, shone brightly for a short time, and then disappeared. Can you let us into the secrets of Autoscript’s continued success?

We believe success comes from the ability to listen to customers and develop products that fit their needs, and that has been our driving force from the beginning. In addition to equipment sales, we operate a full-service hire department for any type of shoot, which puts us in even closer proximity to our customers and their real- world requirements. That direct and immediate relationship with end-users gives us fast and accurate feedback.

Also, our status as a Vitec Group brand gives us the global perspective of a company with offices in six locations around the world. This enables us to draw on the experience of engineers in other Vitec brands such as Vinten, some of whom have been designing broadcast products for 30-plus years. Through these relationships, we can ensure that Autoscript products are more seamlessly integrated with equipment from the other brands and therefore offer our joint customers more comprehensive solutions.

Autoscript has what some would regard as a direct competitor to you also within the Vitec group – Autocue. Please explain how the relationship works.

The Vitec Group acquired Autocue in 2014. As a brand, Autocue does serve some of the same markets but has a broader reach, with solutions for smaller productions and independent content creators. By leveraging the strengths of both Autoscript and Autocue, the Vitec Group is able to address the entire spectrum of prompting requirements across applications of any size and scope.

As you’ve said, Autoscript runs a rental service as well as direct sales to customers around the world. What’s the cut-off point between renting and buying – how do you advise your customers on this?

The rent-vs.-buy threshold depends highly on individual customers and their needs. Factors include rental costs and frequency of use, as well as each individual’s desired return on investment. One trend we’re seeing is that teleprompters are now being adopted more frequently outside of the realm of traditional broadcasting, and a greater number of those customers are realising the benefits of owning their own equipment.

The rent-vs.buy threshold depends highly on individual customers and their needs. Factors include rental costs and frequency of use, as well as each individual’s desired return on investment - IABM Article Autoscript – 30 years of… Click To Tweet

You’ve recently introduced a new product range under the name ‘intelligent prompting’. Can you tell us what you mean by this and what makes it different – and better! – than alternative prompting solutions?

Autoscript – 30 years of continued success

At Autoscript, we identified a growing need for a seamless teleprompting solution that could support our broadcast customers in their continued migration to all- IP operations. We wanted to develop a modern prompting system that could deliver on all the promised benefits of IP as the new standard for all communication and distribution – namely, complete flexibility of content transportation, reductions in operational and capital expenses, and widespread availability.

The result is Intelligent Prompting, which we’re proud to say is the first completely IP-enabled teleprompting system. For the first time, broadcasters are able to adopt a fully IP-based prompting solution, with a scalable architecture that can support them at any stage in their transition to IP operations.

With every component designed from the ground up around an end-to-end IP workflow, Intelligent Prompting delivers the connectivity, flexibility, ease of use, and redundancy critical for our customers’ live broadcast operations into the future. To give a key example, Intelligent Prompting ensures that much less data is sent over the IP network by placing the intelligence needed to generate the script inside each prompting monitor. In this manner, the monitor is able to produce the video output directly, while remaining in constant communication with the master application to ensure perfect ongoing synchronization and easier operation.

For the first time, broadcasters are able to adopt a fully IP-based prompting solution, with a scalable architecture that can support them at any stage in their transition to IP operations - IABM Article Autoscript – 30 years of continued… Click To Tweet

You’re in a sector of the market that is unlikely to move to full virtualisation any time soon, but the market continues to move fast. What’s next for Autoscript?

Things definitely move fast in this business. As recently as March 2017, there was no such thing as a fully IP- enabled prompting workflow anywhere in the world.

Autoscript – 30 years of continued success

Fast-forward to now, and the IP promoting workflow enabled by Intelligent Prompting is already becoming expected by many broadcasters. Even more exciting is the customers that are now using Intelligent Prompting to its fullest advantage; for example, one U.S. broadcaster has chosen the solution for remote prompting over an IP network from its American headquarters to Sochi for this year’s World Cup.

Moving forward, we’ll continue pushing the boundaries as we’ve done for Intelligent Prompting. Virtualisation might not be in the cards just yet, but we do have some exciting things in the works. To give a few examples, how can we better incorporate iPads for convenient remote prompting? Can the teleprompter hardware become more intelligent? And can the cloud help our customers manage their infrastructure more efficiently? You’ll have to wait and see!

How can we better incorporate iPads for convenient remote prompting? Can the teleprompter hardware become more intelligent? And can the cloud help our customers manage their infrastructure more efficiently? - IABM Article Autoscript – 30… Click To Tweet

You’ve been members of IABM for many years now. What are the member benefits that you find most valuable?

IABM’s Global Market Valuation & Strategy Report is a critical tool because it supplies data to help us make calculated decisions for the future, as do the regular trend reports. The exhibitions and interactive sessions with customers in the different regions of the world are extremely valuable, and IABM gives us ample opportunities to meet with other manufacturers. These interactions keep us in touch with future technical developments, help us identify common trends, and confirm our views on market direction. Also, since we’re deeply involved in the broader market for newsroom solutions, our membership helps us stay in touch with groups and standards efforts in that realm. Plus, as a Gold member, we have the added benefit of IABM training programmes for our staff.

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