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France’s TF1 TV Transforms to Omnimedia

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Huawei provided us with its media cloud solution to help us set up a media cloud platform. This fully converged platform supports IT resource pooling, service automation, and intelligent management. It enables us to produce and broadcast diversified content anytime and anywhere, helping us to address the challenges of omnimedia transformation with ease.

Guillaume Lemoine

Launched in 1935, TF1 is one of the oldest TV channels in existence and, for a good 28 years, it was France’s only channel. In 1975, it was formally renamed TF1. Even with the multitude of competing cable channels, TF1 still enjoys a market share of 24 percent, making it the most popular channel in France and one of the most watched in Europe. There is no doubt that TF1 represents the highest technical level not only in the French TV industry, but in Europe as a whole.

Huawei’s media cloud solution helped TF1 set up a fully converged news production platform, improving access efficiency to shared media data by 90 percent. It also made the production of news 50 percent more efficient, and reduced the TTM for news services by 50 percent.


Business Competition

It is no secret that traditional TV channels are faced with increasing competition from online entertainment platforms. With the development of social media and other Internet technologies, TV news outlets are no longer the ones to break news. There is a need, therefore, to merge TV with the Internet.

Legacy TV News Production Falling Behind the Speed of Social Media

Media assets were being utilized poorly. The independent IT infrastructures of TF1’s various channels were hindering the sharing of information. For example, within the original architecture, if the news channel needed to broadcast a clip from the sports channel, it needed to use an additional server to copy the video to its own storage system, a lengthy process that consumed a lot of bandwidth.

The poor utilization of IT system resources resulted in a long TTM for services. In the traditional architecture, major services, such as editing, broadcasting, media asset management, and content archiving, were independent. This meant that IT resources were isolated. Delivering new services was a long and complex process. And if new hardware or software were purchased, the process was even longer.

Frequent switching between office and production desktops significantly reduced the efficiency of news production. A journalist usually needed two desktops, one for emails, the Internet, and other news sources. The other desktop was used for media editing. Since this other one was typically located elsewhere, when editing, the journalist would have to run between the desktops. This to-and-fro acted as another hindrance to producing and broadcasting news and other programming types as quickly as possible.


Leading the Way with Innovation

“We started as a single channel of TV and since then we have transformed into a completely new TV multi-platform, and multi-network, multi-channel group,” Guillaume Lemoine, senior broadcast architect at TF1, said. “We have a lot of challenges coming from the IT field. For many years, broadcast was only possible with dedicated hardware and systems. But new technologies are allowing us to design completely new broadcast systems, which really is a revolution in the way we design TV centers.”

Omnimedia Transformation

Developments in Internet technologies were transforming television programming into ‘omnimedia.’ And, once again, TF1 turned to Huawei. Today, program production at TF1 is digitalized and network-based, and the network supports the production and broadcasting of HD/SD programs.

Huawei’s distributed architecture has a converged resource pool that contains all media materials, meaning that data copies will no longer take up bandwidth. With data being shared between multiple channels, data flowing freely within the resource pool has replaced traditional data migration.

Each user is allocated two virtual desktops on the cloud. The one used for editing news and other programming not only provides the same user experience as physical workstations, but also ensures that information is secure, as it uses DMZ security isolation. In addition, IT resources support on-demand allocation and expansion, performed using the ISV service template. This improves the efficiency of HD editing, media broadcasting, and rendering software on the media cloud, including news editing software Dalet, image processing software Adobe, and broadcasting software IMAGINE.

“With the old technology, we had to install many workstations, and producing and processing the news totally depended on them,” Lemoine said. “Huawei’s solution has made us less dependent on clients and network-based background support. The cloud architecture integrates data centers’ computing capabilities into a series of shareable resources, which has improved our news production systems significantly, all the while allowing journalists to work in a secure, flexible way. And they can work anywhere in the newsroom they want.

“Over the years, we’ve had seven channels but we couldn’t share resources between them. We weren't utilizing IT resources well, and program production was inefficient. Thanks to Huawei’s solution, we've built a fully converged platform that expands our business into omnimedia. The platform integrates resources from all channels, enables personnel to use one device to complete both office and production tasks, and supports easy HD video editing on the cloud.”


Expanding into Omnimedia

TF1 can now use IT resources efficiently and video data can be shared globally. This represents a vast improvement in terms of news production efficiency. This solution has also brought the following benefits:

  • 90 percent better access efficiency to shared media data
  • 50 percent higher efficiency when producing the news
  • 50 percent shorter TTM for new services
  • Huawei has helped TFI significantly improve its access efficiency to shared media data and shorten the TTM for new services.

    “We enjoy the largest viewership in France and hope to grow this in the years to come. But we’re also striving to expand our business into different fields such as omnimedia by building digital platforms for mobile and social networks,” Lemoine said.