Televisa Scores With Aveco; New Developments on Tap at NAB

Automation systems typically aren’t top of mind for most sportscasters, but Aveco’s Astra system, which comprises a number of applications that can help sportscasters increase revenues and more accurately manage content, may be worth a second thought. Last summer, Televisa deployed the technology over more than 20 channels and uses it to tie commentators more closely with the master-control log.

The Astra system makes it easy for the master-control operator to add live sponsored segments to the log, says Aveco President Pavel Potuzak. The master-control operator can also add in non-scheduled promos that need to be read by the commentator.

“There are many unexpected situations in live sports where a broadcaster will mention a sponsor only when a goal happens, but you can’t schedule those events into a playlist,” he explains. The Aveco system addresses the need to log and serve up those “asynchronous commercials” with the help of three buttons: one for the main playlist, a second for the asynchronous spots, and a third for sponsored graphics.

“In cricket, for example, there are periods where nothing happens,” Potuzak points out, “and the operator can fill time and have a sponsored graphic appear.”

Started in 1992 in the Czech Republic, Aveco has always focused on automation in the broadcast environment. The Astra system, for example, handles such functions as traffic, playlist, media capture, metadata and cataloging, and production and editing.

The company has turned its attention to the U.S. market with the launch of an Aveco Americas sales and engineering team headed by VP of Sales and Marketing Roger Crooks, who previously spent 16 years as Grass Valley video-server marketing manager.

“The Aveco system is built around content management and ties the archive to the production, storage, and master-control systems through one interface,” says Crooks. “And with rules-based file management, files can be moved wherever needed.”

The strength, he adds, is an easily scalable system that is based on a real-time operating system rather than Windows or Linux. He says that makes the system more reliable, immune to viruses, and expandable online by downloading individual modules.

At NAB, the company is expected to announce a deal with Prime Image for an application that does dynamic ad insertion. The master-control operator uses Prime Image Time Tailor technology to compress a program and allow an additional 30-second spot to be added to the front of the program.

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