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Covid success story: TVU Networks

By Paul Shen, CEO, TVU Networks

Wed 23, 09 2020

We’re all in this together. These were the words we came to say and believe as an organization in early spring as the coronavirus spread across the world and began to paralyze the business operations of our customers and the broader community. Even as we were transitioning our worldwide staff to long-term work-from-home arrangements and restricting travel for safety, we were planning and mobilizing as an entire company to help broadcasters to transition from physical studio operations to remote setups in living rooms and other shared living spaces in homes.

As one of the first companies to initiate a Business Continuity Initiative at the outset of the pandemic, we provided immediate assistance by offering the tools and technology needed by our customers and the community with no-strings attached to help keep businesses going. For instance, we provided TV stations with essential remote tools such as our TVU Anywhere mobile app, and many major broadcasters adapted its use for their reporters and anchors for live daily reporting.

Reporters from Tegna stations in the US began using TVU solutions for at-home news production and transmission right away. One of these early adopters was Emmy award-winning meteorologist and reporter Krystle Henderson from KPNX in Phoenix, Arizona. Krystle converted the wine room in her home into a studio where she could produce and report live forecasts with the help of our TVU Anywhere mobile app.

As all of us in the general public looked to our government officials during the early days of COVID-19 for guidance, we as an organization also recognized that local governments such as governor’s offices in the US needed to communicate regular vital information live to their state residents in a simple and effective way. Project Pool Feed was a second community initiative we launched working with news stations and municipal government offices to set up no-cost video pool feeds using TVU Grid to streamline the sharing of critical information on COVID-19. Project Pool Feed allowed TV stations in a local area to share live content between each other as well as with local government. With local stations all connected using TVU Grid, live press briefings could be distributed from the pool. Many states in the US have used our pool feeds for daily public briefings including California, Florida and Georgia for example.

Despite the restrictions of COVID or perhaps because of its restrictions, we’ve also not stopped innovating within our organization or in developing new tools and technology for the broadcast industry. Internally, we’ve transformed our operational and development practices to allow us to react even faster to our customers’ changing needs. It’s now possible for us through the combination of platform tools such as Jira and processes like DevOps to capture user feedback and enhancement requests and have changes made, tested and implemented into production practically overnight. Customers who have experienced our way of rapid development have responded very positively as it allows them to use the tool they need sooner without having to wait months as is the case with traditional development cycles.

In terms of product innovations, our latest solution, TVU Partyline, was developed from the frustration broadcasters we believe experience daily with using consumer grade video conferencing solutions for remote production. We created Partyline as a professional cloud-based alternative to the mass audience video conferencing platforms and designed it specifically for video production teams who require a much higher level of virtual collaboration. While consumer grade video conferencing may have been fine as a stop-gap measure at the outset of COVID, it is not adequate for this next phase of reproducing production quality up to the level of pre-pandemic expectations. This is what TVU Partyline was designed to address.

Although no one can predict the future, it’s becoming apparent business has changed and will not operate in the same way as it was pre-pandemic. While business continuity was the main focus at the beginning of COVID, future success will depend on organizations finding ways to grow and serve. We are focused at TVU on continuing to help our customers and the industry do this.

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