News Production Playout Facilities for South TV Ethiopia

Technology Partners

The client’s challenge

SMMA is the government entity responsible for delivering local radio and TV services to the South Nations, Nationalities & People’s Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia – a population of approximately 16 million people. South TV, the regional TV broadcaster, was established to support and develop a strong regional identity, providing news and entertainment with a focus on local cultures. However, the broadcaster’s existing analogue TV services offered viewers only a few hours of local programming per day, with production tape-based and content transmitted from Addis Ababa. In 2011 the decision was made to strengthen South TV’s offering with the launch of free-to-air HD services. The objective was to deliver 18 hours of daily local news and entertainment, transmitted in both SD and HD from new playout facilities in the region’s capital Hawassa.

The PBS Solution

Following an international tender, SMMA awarded PBS the contract to design, supply and build HD news production and transmission facilities for South TV in Hawassa. Our experienced team of solution architects and systems engineers designed and deployed a multi vendor solution supporting a mix of SD and HD operations with a complete fi le-based workflow from field acquisition, news editing, production, automated playout, storage and archive.
From requirements capture and workflow definition, system design, equipment and technical furniture specifi cation and procurement, system pre-fabrication at our facility in Sharjah UAE, on-site installation to commissioning and training, PBS provided end-to-end project management of the solution.


Content Acquisition:

To capture locally produced content from across the region, 15 Panasonic P2 cameras have been deployed for field acquisition. The P2 card readers integrate to Avid edit suites to allow content to be directly imported to the editors’ timelines, and hence on to the central storage system or Archive platform – providing a smooth file-based workflow.
South TV’s legacy tape content, external live feeds and HD studio outputs are recorded onto Pebble Beach Dolphin servers, with all media files controlled by Pebble Beach’s Anchor Media Asset Management.

News production:

The Newsroom features MOS-workflow integration between Pebble Beach Neptune Automation, newsroom scripting from Octopus, Ross XPression graphics and virtual studio systems. Video editing is provided by 15 seats of Avid Media Composer with content managed within NetApp central storage.
The Octopus 7 Newsroom system is used to produce news scripts, stories and bulletin rundowns, played to air using Pebble Beach’s Neptune Automation that controls the Dolphin video servers operating within South TV’s HD studio, in a classic newsroom assisted automation mode. Graphics created directly by the journalists using templates stored on the Ross Project Server are synchronized with the scripts and rundown using MOS.


Programme schedules created using Pebble Beach’s offline Playlist editor are used to drive the Anchor MAM system to ensure SD and HD transmission-ready content is pulled from either the NetApps central storage or DiskArchive ALTO digital archive. Material is cached on to a mirrored pair of Dolphin servers, providing a redundant main and back up playout channel.