An emergency operations installation in the middle of an unidentified city.

When did your Chief Financial Officer last review your Disaster Recovery (DR) plan? Has your CEO seen it recently? When did you last update your DR plan? Do you feel confident that it will protect you and your media business, and that you have done all you can within reason?

Given well-publicized business and natural disasters in the last few weeks and years, nearly everyone involved in moving, managing, and monetizing media must be asking themselves these questions – and more.

The fact is that Disasters of every kind are happening every day across the globe, due to weather-related causes, power outages, earthquakes, accidents, human error, terrorism, and cyberattacks. Regardless of the cause of disaster, the one thread that weaves through them is this: they are always unexpected – by definition. And that is where the risk comes in.

Have you asked yourself: “What happens to our bottom line if we “go dark” for an hour, a day, or a week?” To answer that, let’s pick a typical day for a commercial broadcast facility in an average town. Maybe 30 ads are run per hour, and the average ad value is $500 (just to pick a number). A single hour off-air would cost you and your network partners $15,000 – and a full day would skyrocket to $360,000. This kind of loss would harm any business, and it could possibly have lasting effects – like driving viewers to competing alternatives. If you take this example farther up the broadcast chain – to a network level – the effects are multiplied by a large factor.

So what should you do? First, look at your current Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans. Ask yourself hard questions about their reliability and viability. Look at how the plans will hold up to all types of disasters, whether natural or man-made, accidental or intentional. Share your plans with and get input from your entire management team – since every department in your company will be significantly influenced or impacted if an outage occurs.

Second, and equally as important, you should look at the multiple technological advances that can augment or even replace your current DR processes. For example, Integrated Channel Playout has advanced significantly in the last few years. At Imagine Communications, our Versio™ platform is used as the first line of DR defense. Versio™ allows backup channels to be turned up instantaneously – ensuring that playlists, automation, branding, graphics, advertising, and content can be readily provided in the event of a channel outage.

So if you are a bit uncomfortable with your DR plans,Versio™ can fill a critical role in easing that discomfort. Get the platform, install it at your main location or a secondary location, and you have a great solution.

With recent advances from Imagine Communications, however, there is even more that you can do. An issue with any premises-based solution is simply that – it is premises-based. This makes it vulnerable to all of those same DR issues that the primary site has – natural or man-made. In fact, many “disasters” have occurred simply from someone backing their elbow in the equipment room, dislodging cards or cabling at an in-service chassis, and causing the facility to be off-air for hours.

When you place Versio™ in the cloud – either public or private – things change a bit. Your operations are now effectively “lifted” from the burden of your brick and mortar facilities. Once in the cloud, you can securely access your content and all of your channel playout operations, and your playout has now been virtualized. This means that you are employing another substantial layer of business continuity protection – one that significantly resolves many of the risks associated with premises-based DR options. As an added benefit, Versio™ allows you to gracefully transition part or all of your operations from premises-based to cloud-based, with minimal disruption to current workflows.

Be sure to double check your insurance policies and company mandates to ascertain if you are in compliance with them. Ultimately, the best insurance is to have an effective and diverse business continuity / disaster recovery solution in place – and it lets you sleep a little easier knowing that you have done all that you reasonably can do to protect your valuable media operations.

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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.