Public Media Group has rebranded as Signal Infrastructure Group, a name that reflects a broader mission while also alleviating confusion among several similarly named entities.
The company, based in Boulder, Colo., was formed in 2019 as a for-profit benefit corporation. Public Media Venture Group, a shareholder in the newly created corporation in 2019, was itself spun off in 2017 from Public Media Co., a nonprofit consulting firm.
PMG’s initial mission centered on the ATSC 3.0 transition and the potential for single-frequency networks to extend the reach of over-the-air broadcasts for both public and commercial TV stations. It has since expanded its projects into digital platforms for content management and distribution, including the purchase in 2020 of a share of the Public Media Management content platform from Boston’s GBH.
“We wanted to be sure our name did a better job reflecting our mission to be of service both to public and commercial broadcasters,” said SIG President Erik Langner of the rebranding project, which had been underway since the fall and became official Monday.
“We thought now was the right time, given the acceleration of our business both on the SFN side and on the software and infrastructure side,” he said.
On the SFN side, the conversion to ATSC 3.0 is now underway in some markets, a development SIG hopes will spur quick adoption of its SFN platform. Using multiple transmitter sites spread across a market, SFN technology promises to substantially increase the number of viewers who can easily receive ATSC 3.0 transmissions with indoor antennas or mobile devices. Langner said SIG is engaged in designing SFN systems in multiple markets, including San Francisco and Dallas–Fort Worth. Those systems will need both public and commercial stations to sign on as partners, another reason for dropping “Public” from the name.
“We were most focused on reflecting the fact that what we’re building and operating are shared infrastructure platforms that are meant to serve the entire broadcast industry,” Langner said.
On the software side, SIG’s offerings include platforms for ingesting and managing content for both broadcast and broadband, implementing ATSC 3.0 features such as enhanced interactive content and hyperlocal targeting, and using ATSC 3.0 datacasting technology to deliver digital content. That could include targeted educational broadband services and software updates for automakers.
Among the projects in the pipeline for the renamed company is the Public Media Educational Platform, planned for deployment in at least six states in September. The project will use SIG software to provide an archive of educational materials that can be transmitted via ATSC 1.0 or 3.0 datacasting to students with insufficient or nonexistent broadband service.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is to allow broadcasters to focus on deploying new services, while we focus on operating the physical and software infrastructure,” Langner said.
The company has also added a new executive VP; Azita Manson joins SIG as head of cloud and software infrastructure. Manson developed ATSC 3.0 technology in her role as president of OpenZNet and will bring that company’s technology to SIG.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Public Media Group was spun off from Public Media Venture Group. PMVG was a shareholder in the newly created PMG in 2019.