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Sky boosts efficiency in promo production with Pixel Power

Pixel Power, the global automation, branding and graphics innovator, has implemented its Factory automated production technology at Sky in the UK. It automates the production of multiple versions of trailers and promos, ensuring correct-first-time accuracy and ultra-high productivity.

Factory is built on Pixel Power’s world-renowned Clarity graphics platform and Gallium Workflow Orchestration. It manages all the assets required to assemble a promo, automatically creating all the different versions – varying durations, coming soon, next and so on – and delivering them in a managed timeframe to the playout centre.

In April Sky launched Factory with a purpose to introduce significant efficiency improvements and modernize promo production by automating many of the manual tasks associated with promo versioning.

In a period of four months Sky has adapted its existing commissioning workflows, built Clarity graphic templates and installed and tested Factory. Now, through Factory, the majority of Sky’s simple and standard promos can be versioned with little or no manual intervention whatsoever.

Sky’s newly adapted commissioning tool provides all the data required for Factory to track and produce promo versions from the assets provided by Sky’s creative and design teams. Using its own compositing, DVE and graphics capabilities, Factory generates all the versions completely automatically. Because it is driven by the information entered into Sky’s commissioning tool, which in turn is linked to their scheduling system, errors in transmission times, channels, sponsors etc. are eliminated.

Chris Jones Head of Continuity and Navigation at Sky said "We needed a system that could support promo versioning at high volumes; replacing the repetitive, resource intensive, manual task of versioning with an automated route, flexible enough to deal with the changing demands of the business."

Matthew Hill, Manager of Navigation Development and Mastering added "Whilst we started out cautiously, focusing our launch on Entertainment promos, our ambition is to soon automate more than 70% of our work by introducing Sky Sports promos and other services, with manual mastering focused purely on Campaigns, allowing Sky Creative's teams the freedom to create high impact messaging.

"Our extremely tight timeline has only been made possible with the support we received from Pixel Power and Factory’s readiness.”

Once Factory receives a set of instructions it generates all the versions, faster than real time, and delivers them as technically compliant files to the broadcast MAM system. Sky’s goal is to create hundreds of promos per month, and therefore thousands of versions need to be generated in Factory.

“Our technology is called Factory for a very good reason,” said James Gilbert, CEO of Pixel Power. “It is designed for high volume automation of repetitive manual tasks, generating multiple versions to strict instructions and getting it right every time. Sky is an extremely demanding environment, and Factory is delivering on its promises, producing strong channel and programme marketing campaigns where the only manual inputs are creative ones.”

Factory, and Pixel Power’s other graphics, workflow and automation products, can be seen on stand 7.A31 at IBC2017 (Amsterdam, 15 – 19 September).