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The challenge

Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) is the public broadcasting station for the German federal states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, and is a member of Germany’s public television network consortium ARD. MDR – which broadcasts to a regional audience of some nine million people – off era comprehensive television programming and manages eight radio stations. In addition, the broadcaster arranges concerts with its own symphony orchestra and radio choir, and is the only member of ARD to have its own children’s choir.

Additionally, MDR is responsible for a number of successful contributions to the ‘Das Erste’ television channel, and exercises overall control of the children’s TV channel run jointly by ARD and the second German public TV network, ZDF. MDR’s TV broadcasting centre is headquartered in Leipzig, while its radio broadcasting centre – located in Halle – is home to fi ve major radio channels: MDR INFO, MDR FIGARO, MDR JUMP, MDR KLASSIK and MDR SPUTNIK. Regional radio and TV news programmes MDR SACHSENSPIEL, MDR SACHSEN-ANHALT HEUTE and MDR THÜRINGEN JOURNAL are produced at broadcasting centres in each of MDR’s three federal states, in the cities of Dresden (Saxony), Erfurt (Thuringia) and Magdeburg (Saxony-Anhalt).

To ensure long-term success, regional broadcasters must quickly react to breaking news stories while embracing the fast-growing trends of online and social media. Workflows and methods are constantly evolving, placing employees under increasing pressure. To address these challenges, MDR has launched an ambitious, trailblazing  project that will also have implications for the ARD network as a whole.

MDR targets the launch of a new editing system that will enable editorial teams at all of their studios to quickly and easily create high-quality content for MDR’s broadcasts and online communications in the medium term. The system is planned to create a workflow where editors can access existing video management and database systems and utilise existing office infrastructure, without compromising on HD broadcast quality.


The solution – MDR, Adobe and MoovIT

MDR piloted the solution at 15 editing workplaces – 11 in Leipzig, one in Halle and one in each of the three regional broadcasting centres. The goal was to create an efficient, fully integrated production environment for editorial journalists working on all types of program formats.

The Adobe Anywhere platform forms the foundation of the new system, on top of which Adobe Premiere Pro is used for editing. Thereby the solution complements already existing conventional post-production processes.

The editing workstations are directly connected to MDR’s existing Arvato content management/video production management system (VPMS). Editors can use MoovIT’s Adobe Premiere Pro add-on to access broadcast-ready high-resolution video files and incorporate them into their content creation.

In the future, MDR will be able to leverage Adobe Anywhere to connect editing suites at all of it’s external production sites to the system using typical office infrastructure.

This technology will lead to significant cost savings compared to conventional broadcasting infrastructures – both in terms of upfront investment and ongoing operational costs. These benefits will become even more significant as MDR eventually integrates more editing suites and more distant studios and offices into the system.


The implementation

MoovIT, a Cologne-based video/ IT solutions specialist and Adobe technology partner, has assisted MDR and Adobe with hardware and software planning at every stage – from initial concept to implementation. It took just six months to put this ambitious project into action. Once the solution had successfully been installed, MoovIT’s team of experts made technical adjustments, developed and tailored software to fit MDR’s specific workflows, and put everything in place to ensure the targeted ease of use.

A particular highlight is the way the system simplifies the tasks that editorial journalists face. The user interface only reveals relevant editing functions – with all system connection details, data and workflow management processes running discreetly in the background. This is especially beneficial given that most of the 80 – 90 users have no prior video editing experience, and only receive training on the job.

The successful pilot of this new approach has paved the way for a higher productivity at MDR, but also has clear relevance for other public broadcasters. The solution is currently being tested at the Leipzig broadcasting centre, and MDR intends to roll the editing system out at its other locations, too. Moreover, the Anywhere platform opens up options for Internet-based editing workflows independent of the locations of individual production sites.


The benefits

MDR’s experts believe the new editing system will deliver a host of key benefits:

  •  The solution will increase the speed and flexibility of the entire production process. Online content creators will particularly benefit from the increase in production capabilities.
  • The solution will support decentralised workflows that remain fully integrated – and creates options for Internet-based editing workflows.
  • Adobe Anywhere only requires typical office/ IT infrastructure to run, rather than expensive broadcasting/IT infrastructure. This leads to substantial cost savings – without compromising on picture quality.


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