Minnie Mouse in a hot air balloon with Goofy on top of the balloon.

Dylan goes electric.
Warhol goes pop.
Disney/ABC goes cloud.

Sometimes it takes an icon to break the grip of the familiar, to pull free from the creativity crippling inertia of the way things have always been done. Time after time, progress in the arts and sciences has been marked by the actions of those who see the possibilities of doing things differently.

The media industry witnessed one of those watershed moments at the opening of NAB 2015, when Disney/ABC Television Group unveiled a collaboration with Imagine Communications to transition its global programming playout, delivery and network operations to an IP cloud architecture.

"By leveraging evolving IP and Cloud technologies, we are able to move beyond what's currently possible with traditional proprietary “Big Iron” broadcast infrastructures," said Vince Roberts, executive vice president, global operations and chief technology officer, Disney/ABC Television Group. "Our shared vision and close collaboration will enable Disney/ABC Television Group to take a uniquely innovative approach to the next generation of television and media distribution platforms."

IP on a Roll

The inevitability of IP has been building for the past year. It was at NAB 2014 that Imagine Communications first shared its strategy for evolving the media industry toward IP, software-based, virtualized environments. Since then, much of the ecosystem has come to recognize that only IP-based operations are capable of providing the agility and flexibility that media companies now require to remain competitive and to fully quench consumer thirst for a new video consumption experience.

Disney may not be the first to recognize the benefits of cloud-based playout and delivery. But it is unquestionably the largest and most influential point of light in the media industry firmament to commit to IP. And that commitment is sure to be a catalyst for future adoption.

The IP writing on the wall was there for everyone to read. All but the visionary, though, will cling to the comfort and safety of the traditional, even if staying the course means turning your back on business-transforming cost efficiencies and monetization opportunities.

But now that the “cool kid” is on board, it won’t be long until the rest of the student body matriculates to IP.


The engine behind Disney’s new playout and delivery infrastructure is Imagine Communications’ Versio™, an IP-enabled, integrated playout-in-the-cloud platform. VersioCloud accelerates the evolution of broadcast operations by integrating formerly discrete hardware-based function into a software-only solution that simplifies production, playout and delivery workflows while raising productivity and speed-to-market benchmarks by several magnitudes.

This next-generation solution also provides the IP on-ramps and off-ramps for both compressed IP and uncompressed SMPTE 2022 signals. VersioCloud includes two key components of Imagine Communications’ IP migration strategy: the recently introduced Selenio™ MCP Uncompressed-Over-IP (UCIP) Gateway Card and Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator. By enabling video producers to leverage the benefits of IP without introducing disruptions, Imagine Communications makes it possible for media companies to gradually move their operations from baseband to IP without compromising quality, firing up a forklift or retraining the workforce.

In addition to revolutionizing the way media companies do business by leveraging the performance and cost-savings benefits of IP, such as resource elasticity, VersioCloud gives media companies the agility to innovative and increase output at speeds and price points traditional playout infrastructures are unable to support. Benefits of VersioCloud include:

  • Freeing media companies from dependencies on geographic content origination and physical playout facilities.
  • Simplifying the launch of new linear and TV Everywhere channels
  • Reducing business-continuity risks by providing global support for disaster recovery
  • Optimizing content delivery and monetization by supporting hyper-local content and advertising insertion
  • Increasing market flexibility to modify existing operating models as requirements change
  • Improving operations across diverse geographies through optimization and centralization of master control functions

Inevitability of IP

Disney is an IP/cloud trailblazer — with plenty of others on its tail. According to a recent survey conducted by Imagine Communications, nearly 40 percent of respondents say migration to IP is a top priority for 2015. Nearly as many have placed moving infrastructure to the cloud near the top of their to-do lists for the coming year.

But what about those who are still working out an IP migration timeline? No problem – and no hurry. By facilitating baseband-to-IP migration through media orchestration, rather than at the hardware layer, Imagine Communications enables media companies to continue to purchase SDI-based equipment without fear of squandering investment. By delivering market-leading baseband infrastructure gear that’s future-proofed for IP, Imagine Communications provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing that IP is there whenever you’re ready for it.

At NAB 2014, Imagine Communication captured the attention of the industry with bold predictions about the future influence of IP and cloud. One year later, we’re proud to be part of a breakthrough cloud playout and delivery project with one of the largest and most influential media companies in the world.

We can hardly wait to see what next year brings.

Like Bob Dylan sang 50 years ago this July, shortly after plugging in for the first time: The times they are a changin’.

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.