Vizrt Predictions 2014: Adapting the Art of News Storytelling

Petter Ole Jakobsen, Vizrt CTO

Technology will drive storytelling
The art of storytelling will become more complex and more informative. Audiences are growing more diverse and get their information from a myriad of sources. If a broadcaster is going to survive they must be able to adapt to new technologies that will help them get content into and out-of the studio quickly, while also remaining reactive to changes as a story happens.

Broadcaster shift to mobile and online first
The numbers of viewers that consume content online and on mobile devices first, instead of on-air, will only continue to grow. Broadcasters must now approach production as not just on air first, but also mobile and online. Content including graphics will need to be adapted for different devices, and the audience needs. When broadcasters accept this reality, a ripple effect will occur for the rest of their storytelling.


A shift to social storytelling and analysis
News content is rapidly available online and content is more readily available from various sources beyond traditional on-air newscasts. Broadcasters will need to become more flexible and able to shift gears quickly to adapt at the moment the story changes. With the number of social networks continuing to grow, broadcasters will need to implement a stable platform that can seamlessly adapt video and graphics content, with social media management considered as audience story changes with unfolding events.

As social media consumption and interaction increases, broadcasters and content owners will be able to use the metadata to analyse and use content in various ways. For example, being able to geo-locate people with different opinions or get a snapshot of social opinions across the world on news or events, will enable the broadcaster to engage further with their audience. 

That said, relying on social network analysis alone to drive communication with your audience, will simply not be enough. Many broadcasters have already implemented second screen experiences so they have direct control over how the audience interacts with programming and in the year ahead, many more will follow. This will offer clear advantages such as the ability to create custom topics and polls to drive conversation and debate, as well as delivering targeted advertisements to specific demographics.


The evolution of the control room
Presenters are given tools that allow them to control the flow of a broadcast. Multi-touch screens and tablets add flexibility, but combined with the growing number of screens in a studio, they also add to the complexity of the production. At the same time, broadcasters are reducing the number of bodies running the newscast in the control room.


Control room automation systems allow the broadcaster to expand their capabilities using fewer staff, opening the door to handling a large number of screens and rapidly changing content. What could not be done in the past with a director/technical director team using a massive vision mixer, can now be accomplished with a simple software interface and keyboard.


Changing internal content distribution models
Another struggle broadcasters deal with is sharing content internally between parts of a news organisation. There is still a division between on-air news production and managing content on the broadcaster’s website. When broadcasters shift to the online and mobile first model, these lines become blurred. Using intelligent media management systems will allow the broadcaster to make the same content immediately available to all parts of a news organisation in the format they need – on any desktop. Editing graphics and video takes place quickly and easily on the desktop. On the distribution side, the live broadcast and graphics are all composited once for immediate output to the screen size and resolution needed for any platform. This not only saves the broadcaster time to air but also gives opportunities to have individual branding and sponsors across platforms without needing any additional render time.

We will definitely see some interesting changes for broadcasters over the next years.