RTVE Revolutionizes News Production with Avid

Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (RTVE), Spain’s largest, most influential multimedia group, and a standard for the Spanish speaking world, recently undertook a full-scale project to digitize its newsrooms. The objective was to implement a file-based workflow capable of increasing the flexibility, speed, productivity and quality of its entire news production system.

Working in partnership with Avid, the scope of work presented a number of significant challenges, such as the need to implement solutions in a diversity of environments and locations as well as incorporate remote access, media sharing and transfer.

Meeting those challenges required a full complement of Avid integrated news solutions, including ISIS 7000 shared storage, Interplay Production asset management, AirSpeed Multi Stream servers, Interplay Assist, NewsCutter, iNEWS Instinct, and iNEWS Command.

With these solutions, RTVE was able to connect its regional production centers, optimizing broad-based access to legacy assets, data stock (audiovisual archive in Spain), and all the recently acquired material used in news and post production.


Content Access is the Key

This new production infrastructure provides access to content that:

  • Enables contributors to edit the most recently acquired video at their own workstations while the same material is made available across the rest of the organization
  • Allows locally-stored content to be accessed from any production center
  • Makes on-line media at Torrespaña, the heart of the RTVE network in Madrid, available to regional centers
  • Establishes a protocol to access legacy content (deep historical archive), which currently stands at about 250,000 hours and will expand to approximately 1 million hours after the digitization process is complete

With its seven television channels and six radio stations, news represents one of RTVE’s main pillars.  The company’s ‘Canal 24 Horas’ (24/7 news channel), as well as its ‘Teledeporte’ (sports channel) and many other news programs, including ‘telediarios’ (daily news bulletins), have generated a leading audience market share for the past three years.

Substantial increases in the volume of content created a need for a system not only capable of meeting that requirement, but able to provide media access from multiple locations.  After studying a number of possible solutions, the group began working with Avid to introduce a technology solution that would eliminate the daily use of video tape, bring the group fully into the world of file-based workflow, speed and improve the quality of production, and elevate the level of professional experience for everyone.

One Good Project Deserves Another

After converting the master control center at Torrespaña to a file-based format, RTVE followed up with similar projects in Mérida, Las Palmas and Sant Cugat Del Vallés (Barcelona) centers.  Each of these included an Avid ISIS 7000 shared storage system and Avid Interplay Production asset management systems for ingest, archiving, coding, transcoding and transfer, among other processes.

For the creation of news bulletins, RTVE uses Avid iNEWS Instinct as the journalist’s tool primarily because it allows them to work with text, video and audio in one application.  To help all contributors find the right clips and accelerate the editorial process, Avid Interplay Assist allows them to add locators, comments, annotations and personalized notes.  The fundamental editing tool for RTVE is iNEWS Instinct, but additional capabilities of Avid NewsCutter Software craft editing systems are used to ensure the quality of stories prior to playout.

For master ingest and playout, RTVE contributors use Avid AirSpeed Multi Stream servers.  For regional centers, playout of daily news programs is handled by Avid iNEWS Command with its dynamic playlist management.

Currently, the number of workstations with simultaneous access to online material at the Torrespaña center exceeds 300 licenses.  The spectrum of Avid solutions installed as part of the digitization project now allows any professional to access a universe of media from a single workstation using advanced browsing and editing tools in a shared environment.

The next step will be to share the workflow advancements with Radio Nacional de España (Spanish National Radio) and other Internet interactive tools.

Changing the Way RTVE Does Business

According to Pere Vila, Director of Planning and Technological Innovation, everything RTVE has done in this project has dramatically changed the way the group does business.

“It is comparable,” Vila explains, “to the difference between working with a typewriter or with a computer.  We have achieved an important improvement in the quality of the finished product, allowing us to have more material available within the same period of time, resulting in greater productivity.”

Adds José Anta, Director of Technology and Audiovisual Production Systems, “Introducing a news production system in a company the size of RTVE, in which absolutely all media content needs at Torrespaña are covered, represented a major challenge.  For that, we needed a solution capable of handling huge amounts of information and scalable enough to provide access to all the personnel involved.”

Supporting RTVE during the entire process, Avid Professional Services provided training, advisory services and assistance implementing the workflows that were fully adapted to the group’s needs. 

While Javier de la Oliva, Deputy Editor Telediario2 (Torrespaña), admits he had some initial doubts and questions, “This system now allows us to get much more done in the time we have,” he says, “something that would have been unthinkable before.”

Inspired by Confidence

One of the primary benefits of receiving this level of service has been the confidence Avid has inspired in the RTVE staff.  As José Luis Romero, Director of the Digitization Project, puts it, “The human process involved in changing the way one works is what turns out to be a crucial element.”

Thanks to a concerted implementation and training process facilitated by Avid, the RTVE staff has embraced these changes, understanding that they provide them with what they need to get their jobs done better and faster. Says Alberto Sierra, Editor of Teledeporte Channel, “Curiously enough, people who did not even know where the on/off buttons are, were editing within a week.”