Bannister Lake Software Amplifies On-Air Election Coverage
On June 12, Bannister Lake enabled Canadian broadcast and cable networks in Ontario, including Shaw Media’s Global Toronto, to deliver real-time, on-air results from the 41st Provincial Election with BL Elector, a unique software-based solution that intelligently manages the constant flow of voting data reported on live television.
At its core, BL Elector is a web-based, database-driven content management solution that maximizes flow for on-air production staff, allowing multiple operators to populate data from many election feeds within on-air graphics. For election night coverage, BL Elector excels in delivering up-to-date information to viewers in a visually appealing manner, while giving talent, producers and administrators easy access to a wealth of candidate and election information.
However, for broadcasters like Global Toronto, the value of BL Elector extends well beyond driving data and graphics for election night results.
“Too many election products only focus on election night events, but BL Elector is a go-to source for data aggregation throughout election season,” said Gerry Belec, director, technology and design for Global News, Shaw Media. “For the past several weeks, we’ve built an election bible with extensive detail on candidates and ridings using BL Elector, while pulling forward past election information to use as historical and comparison data. Post-election, we can call up statistics and use them to build analysis. And on election night, we can pump live, up-to-the-minute data right into the broadcast and website.”
Reliable and easy to use, BL Elector seamlessly automates up-to-date election information as votes are tallied and reported – pulling feeds from any available election source. Direct integration with graphics systems ensures clean layouts of real-time, BL Elector-driven data for pre-designed templates across multiple screen zones. Graphics playlists can be organized into unlimited groups of regions, ridings, parties, charts and maps. In larger elections, operators can break down data from many regions into smaller subsets, enhancing the local element for viewers following county-by-county races, for example.
For customers like Shaw Media—which uses BL Elector across all of its TV stations and its website—the solution provides richer benefits through its blending of automated and manually entered content. This enables operators to innovate custom editorial, highlighting detail around live polling, close races, landslides, major swings and other electoral riding developments.
“You have to be prepared with content to put the election into context,” said Belec. “If one candidate is well ahead, we can easily pull up a bio and find out everything there is to know about the candidate in the system. As live data comes in, we can highlight how that candidate is performing against the competitor. BL Elector helps us automate as much of the process as possible while giving us freedom to drive our editorial.”
Belec adds that Bannister Lake’s multiplatform approach ensures that BL Elector centrally drives all data for on-air, web and mobile targets—as well as virtual sets inside the studio—to maximize efficiency across the production workflow. He points to constant evolution of the software as an additional benefit, noting a just-added rehearsal tool that allows production staff to simulate and prepare for various outcome scenarios.
“For more than a decade, BL Elector has been the leading choice for bilingual (English and French) on-air election results for federal, provincial and municipal elections across Canada, giving broadcasters a competitive edge in strategizing election coverage,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “It is ideally suited for today’s broadcast and cable networks, reliably filtering, finding and reporting data across non-stop, high-pressure on-air scenarios. Most importantly, it gives our customers like Shaw Media the control to highlight races and election data that is relevant to their viewers.”