WGBH to partner with joint master control in Florida

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WGBH and the Digital Convergence Alliance, a joint master-control operator, will collaborate to provide cloud-based services to more public television stations.

The Public Media Management system, a WGBH joint project with Sony, offers centralized media management and content distribution using cloud computing and network services to seven stations and the World multicast channel. The CPB-backed DCA, based in Jacksonville, Fla., runs master controls for 12 stations.

“We decided to partner instead of compete,” said Ben Godley, c.o.o. of WGBH in Boston. “It just made good sense.”

Susan Howarth, DCA chair and president of Tampa’s WEDU, said the new relationship also fits into “the long-range vision for the alliance.”

“We’ve always wanted a wide menu of services to stations beyond joint master control,” Howarth said. “A partnership with PMM enables us to provide additional services more efficiently,” such as cloud access.

Cloud-based services provide workflow efficiencies in file handling as well as content sharing, said Stacey Decker, WGBH chief technology officer.

A recent report for CPB by Cognizant Technologies on public TV’s interconnection needs led PPM and DCA to explore the partnership. Leaders of both services realized that they “really do complement one another,” said Michael Boylan, president of WJCT in Jacksonville, a founding member of the alliance.

The partnership is especially timely, Howarth said, because CPB is providing new financial incentives for stations to move to joint master controls. Last week CPB announced creation of a $5 million Healthy Network Initiative to reward stations for those collaborations.

Details of the WGBH/DCA agreement are being finalized. The partnership is being announced at the PBS TechCon meeting this week in Las Vegas.

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