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NAB: NBC Goes On Buying Spree for Stations

By Glen Dickson

Two tech vendors announced at NAB major deals with NBC to provide news production systems to NBC owned-and-operated and Telemundo stations, as the network seeks to upgrade its local news operations.

Thomson Grass Valley disclosed at a press event Saturday that the NBC Station Group will be installing its Edius nonlinear editing software throughout NBC and Telemundo stations. The Edius software, which Grass Valley has been promoting as a core piece of its overall digital newsroom solution, will primarily be used on laptop computers to allow field editing by ENG (electronic newsgathering) crews, says Grass Valley VP Jeff Rosica.

Storied edited on Edius will be wireless transmitted back to the stations, where Edius systems will interface with existing BitCentral Precis play-to-air server systems. NBC will be buying both professional versions of Edius, suitable for production with the low-cost HDV camera format, as well as broadcast versions suitable for working with Sony’s XDCAM HD format, says Rosica.

Ross Video has also closed a significant deal with the NBC Station Group, which has selected Ross’ OverDrive device automation system for high-definition news production. NBC will be rolling out the OverDrive system, which allows key functions of a live newscast such as cameras and graphics to be controlled via software as opposed to manual operation, in several NBC O&O’s and Telemundo stations.

NBC had been evaluating automated news production systems, including Grass Valley’s Ignite system, for months as a way to reduce the labor costs of local news production as it invests in new high-definition production equipment.  The selection of OverDrive is a big win for Ross Video, which has already made inroads with OverDrive at several independent station groups as well as the ABC network, particularly since NBC could have been expected to receive a healthy discount if it had bundled a large purchase of Ignite software along with the Edius software it is already buying.

Rosica declined to comment on how close Ignite came to winning the NBC automation contract, noting that Grass Valley doesn’t discuss customer negotiations.