Cable and satellite business news channel CNBC recently overhauled the backdrop of its on-air studio, adding digital signage to increase the flexibility of content delivery to screens behind the news desk.
"We've been looking at ways to streamline how we select and display content on the screens that serve as a backdrop to our on-air anchors and reporters," CNBC Production Technology Specialist Lou Visconti said in a case study on the project from media player provider BrightSign.
The monitors located behind the anchor desks at CNBC were being under-used, according to the case study, usually relegated to looping background content that wasn't as timely as the network's real-time news programming. BrightSign developed a custom Web page for CNBC to better utilize the background monitors by offering greater control of the content being fed to the monitors, and giving staff members the capability of switching content sources in real time to better reflect breaking news as it develops.
"Digital signage is becoming increasingly common in television studios, both on-air as well as behind the scenes," BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings said in an email. "During live broadcasts, networks require the ability to quickly toggle between content sources as the news cycle evolves, and [digital signage is] suited perfectly to this scenario."
CNBC is headquartered in New Jersey, with studios in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and an in-house integrator team deployed four solid-state media players to drive content to a dozen digital signage displays in CNBC's two New York studios and one Chicago studio, with plans to deploy to Los Angeles as well, according to the case study.
Most of the displays are situated behind the anchor desk, with additional displays distributed around other points within the studio.
The studio's previous solution was DVD-based, and so was unable to toggle between content sources without switching between physical media and making it impossible to synchronize content across the wall of displays. With production staff typically given a 20- to 30-second warning before going live, the studio needed the capability to quickly select content for display on background monitors, the case study said.
The media players' custom Web page displays on a centrally located tablet that serves as a "remote control center" used to switch back and forth between content sources, and network staff members on the studio floor now control the background displays, freeing the control room staff to focus on critical programming decisions, the case study said.
(Efforts to obtain information about additional technology and display providers for the project were unsuccessful as of press time.)
To see a slide show of pictures of digital signage deployed in the CNBC studios, click here.
Learn more about digital signage content management.