Sky News


Sky News Arabia brings world class news coverage to the Middle East, in the Arabic language, 24/7 online, via tablets and on smartphones.  As a start-up, its production facilities represent the state of the art in television and online news, and building its new centre was one of the largest undertaken in the region.

Newsgathering is expensive, and Sky News Arabia wanted a broadcast system which worked smoothly and reliably, and used automation to minimise the requirement for operational staff. The design required the latest thinking in workflow to achieve this seamless automation, and best of breed products to maximise quality and flexibility.

A project of this scale, which looks to achieve efficiency through automation, calls for the integration of systems from a number of manufacturers, which in turn requires new developments in those products and to create an open interface between them. Designing these interfaces and promoting the development of the additional functionality was a critical aspect of Diversified’s task.

An excellent example is in the unified bookings system required by Sky News Arabia for its communications systems around the world. In the traditional television news operation, each element required is booked separately, calling for a lot of manual co-ordination. Sky News Arabia wanted to be able to make a single booking for all functionality. Diversifed drove the development of new functionality for the Broadcast Bionics PhoneBox system. It is now capable of controlling the Riedel intercom infrastructure, so that as well as setting up the complete signal path a ScheduAll booking also sets up the talkback paths between the appropriate locations.

The result is that a single booking can set up an encoder in, say, Cairo, and connect it via MPLS or satellite path to Sky News Arabia; route it to a decoder, frame rate convertor or audio shuffler as required; record it to the server and update the asset management; and ensure that all participants are connected on talkback. All the elements are automated, so the booking merely requires source, destination file and time.