Broadcast and connectivity provider Kordia has begun broadcasting from its new ‘Kordia Media Hub’ facility, located at the Avalon Television Studios in Wellington, New Zealand*.
The broadcast was for long-standing Kordia client, Parliament TV, with the day’s proceedings being beamed from the House of Representatives to the company’s new state-of-the-art production facility located over 20km away and broadcast to New Zealanders via Freeview channel 31.
Not only will the ‘Kordia Media Hub’ service Parliament TV, it is part of a wider Kordia initiative to provide services further up the value chain for both new and existing customers. The new facility was designed and built in conjunction with partners Gencom New Zealand and Ross Video.
According to Kordia’s Head of Media, Dean Brain, “We’ve been able to use a reliable customer we’ve had for quite a few years, which is the Parliament TV, to help us launch our media products where we can do playout, presentation and content aggregation, and storage and archive.”
Impetus for the new facility came with the recent upgrading of Parliament TV from SD to HD. This saw Kordia take responsibility for ownership of equipment and allowed the Office of the Clerk of Parliament to move to an OPEX model for its broadcast needs.
Sittings of the New Zealand Parliament are captured from the old Parliament Buildings, adjacent to the iconic ‘Beehive’, using a mix of Sony cameras equipped with Fujinon lenses mounted on robotic pedestals under the control of Ross Video’s LCS Legislative Control System. From there, it is carried by redundant fibre optic cable to Avalon Television Studios and the Kordia Mediahub at Avalon. Once there, signals go through a Ross Carbonite mixer and Legislative Control System and software located there. Final programming is then sent to NZ Freeview head-ends, both DTH and DTT, for transmission on Freeview New Zealand channel 31.
“Our remit from our contract with the Office of the Clerk in New Zealand is to broadcast the proceedings of Parliament in New Zealand. That runs 30 weeks a year, three days a week, so with our new facility, we have plenty of capacity outside of that time to do live production – a bit like the NEP Andrews Hub in Australia. I guess we’ve sort of designed a smaller version of the same sort of thing here in New Zealand to be able to take feeds from sporting events and from other events around the country on the network.
“We have a comprehensive NIMBRA network in New Zealand that we feed into, and then we can produce that. And then once again, through our NIMBRA network we can feed that off for the main broadcasters in the country.”
While the company is inviting enquiries from new potential clients, it is operating its own channel, Kordia TV, a pop-up TV channel running on NZ Freeview service. Brain says, as well as positioning ‘Kordia Media Hub’ as cost-effective option for playout, the company is also in discussions to provide disaster recovery services.
“We’ve got disaster recovery built into our facility,” he says. “We have two effective control rooms. One of them sits there with the main production control room, and then the pres-suite, if required, could do switching if required. From a customer’s point of view, the likes of the two main broadcasters in New Zealand are looking for options for DR playout, and we have the ability with our playout product to be able to snip their playlist and grab their content down and put it into our servers and then have it there ready to go.
“We run the Freeview platform in New Zealand, the Freeview head-ends and the Freeview infrastructure all goes through this facility that we have in Avalon. From our point of view, if we have a fibre cut or something else happens to one of our customers on Freeview, we have the ability to completely inject their program as long as the content that we have is up-to-date and just basically insert it into their program stream, put them into our on-air service and put them on air.”
In addition to DR services, the Kordia Media Hub has access to the production studios located at Avalon.
“If we need to,” says Dean Brain, “we can put a talking head or a group panel in the back of our studios and actually be able to use it as a studio as well, put it through our control room and put it onto our network or send it up to a number of networks, to our customers.”
Beyond the Land of the Long White Cloud, the Kordia Media Hub also has connectivity between New Zealand and Australia with fibre connections via Telstra and Equinix, and satellite through Sydney Teleport Services.
“Certainly, we’re able to send them plenty of signals across the Tasman,” says Dean Brain, “and incoming as well, so we can bring it back into New Zealand, as well.”
* Kordia Media Hub is not associated with MediaHub Australia.