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Vimond and TV 2: Improving the Newsroom

Journal Article from Vimond

Wed 07, 04 2021

Paul Macklin
Product Manager, Vimond IO

The lifecycle of a story in the media world today is increasingly short. Sparking the interest of your audience, gaining their attention with exciting and important stories as well as being first to publish are key goals for all media organisations.  As a broadcaster in a modern mass media consumption space, one has to keep up with the end-users’ constant demand for fresh content around the clock and hold a reputation as the first platform that reports breaking news stories.

The Norwegian broadcaster TV 2 has a history of using technological innovation to empower creative talent to provide engaging viewing experiences. In early 2020, in collaboration with Vimond, TV 2 created the TV 2 Nyhetene (“TV 2 News”) mobile app available on Android and iOS to deliver breaking news and global events in their viewers local language. In contrast to other digital services from TV 2, this app features only video content.

Within the news app journalists drive the whole content creation and delivery process, operating the tools for production and the content management system behind the online video platform.

- Allowing us journalists to be part of the whole process enables a faster workflow from production to distribution without any unnecessary bottlenecks. This creates a more efficient workflow than journalists are used to from other platforms. In addition, we value that the system is cloud-based. This gives us more flexibility and possibilities.
Camilla Island, reporter in TV 2 News.

TV 2 Nyhetene app

TV 2 news app provides access to Breaking News, Sports, Politics, Crime, International, Business, Lifestyle, Entertainment and Regional News. The app summarizes the most important recent news in its top section, before proceeding to categorized news. Its navigation is inspired by the “stories” format of social media applications that enables the users to easily select the stories relevant to them.

For Breaking News the app supports live video feeds and push notifications to instantly inform the viewer of the latest events. Vimond IO allows TV 2 to create different versions of stories from their live content or content in their Media Asset Management system. All videos are produced with embedded subtitles to support video viewing without sound enabled on the device. Most news stories also have descriptive voice overs.

TV 2 News APP is designed to be a platform for getting daily updates about the latest current affairs. Journalists not only create content but also operate the CMS to curate the applications, so the tools need to be easy to use and respond to the time demands of a modern online news service. In this highly competitive space, if you’re not first, you’re last and delivering breaking news stories to their viewers first is vital, with a lean technical and operational footprint.

- In order to keep up with the ever-evolving user preferences of how they want to consume news, we need to be agile and experiment with our distribution. It may require a significant effort to change or add to an existing workflow in an established news organisation, but by utilising cloud services like Vimond IO and VIA we get the flexibility to quickly test out our theories. If successful, we can scale up and optimise the workflow.

Arild Rugsveen, Project Manager in TV 2 Digital.

Cloud native workflow

To support the TV 2 News app, Vimond provided a browser-based end-to-end cloud solution. Starting with the Vimond IO, a video editor and clipping tool, TV 2 journalists can work from any location at any time to create breaking news stories.

Through IO the teams can source content both from live feeds and files uploaded directly in the UI and mix it with restored content from the TV 2 News archive. Content can be saved in multiple aspect ratios ensuring the right fit for the right distribution point. TV 2 has taken advantage of this by creating 1:1 aspect for Social Media in parallel with 9:16 for the news app. Videos are also rendered in various bitrates to support different internet connections from 3G to high speed broadband. When editing one can add custom graphics, images, music, video and audio transitions and voice-overs to create visually striking content suitable for each platform.

Working in a browser-based application allows for remote work that gives flexibility and the ability to scale up teams beyond a physical location. By using one that is also cloud native, TV 2 can replace the heavy on-premise systems, hardware expenses and the need for a fixed physical location to save cost and speed-up the process.

Once the stories are finished and edited, they publish to Vimond VIA, Vimond’s powerful CMS, where journalists curate the content for the mobile applications keeping the content current and updated. The solution also distributes content to the Airport shuttle train in Oslo, with daily headlines playing in carriages for all passengers to view. Using Vimond’s tools, journalists can create and distribute video content in different formats to online platforms before their competitors, creating an experience that is part of their viewers’ daily routine.

Operational Workflow

The reporter starts by identifying source video content in TV 2’s MAM. The selected content is pushed to an AWS storage area and picked up by Vimond IO. The content is made available in IO’s library, where it becomes an asset in the video editing process. Clips are trimmed and adjusted to the output aspect ratio, and graphics and voice are added before the video is rendered in a preconfigured selection of bitrates and resolutions.

When the video is rendered the reporter adds some simple metadata and the content is pushed to the Vimond VIA CMS application. The various versions of a clip are linked so when the reporter assigns the video to a section all versions are available to the mobile app which selects the appropriate version to be applied to the specific display category.

If Breaking News is occurring, the journalists on duty have predefined modules in the CMS that can be easily adjusted to the current situation. When published, the module will appear on top of the front page with a running livestream, bullet points summarizing the event and related video stories.

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