A satellite media tour (SMT) is a technique used by corporations (primarily) to provide an “expert” of their choosing to local television news broadcasts for often-live interaction, with the goal of getting out a specific message. Radio interviews are often booked during the satellite window to create a combo SMT/RMT. The main benefit is your “expert” spokesperson can be interviewed by multiple outlets around the country without the expense of traveling to each market. Interviews are typically booked in 5-10 minute windows.
Absolute Live Productions has perfected the satellite media tour both with and without satellite, capitalizing on the many applications for Cellular Bonded Technology which significantly reduces the cost and provides several other logistical benefits.
Case Study Satellite Media Tour
General Electric at CES 2019
At the General Electric booth in Las Vegas, CES 2019, our task was to drive the technology and communications using the LiveU and also manage the multiple media outlets for this satellite media tour.
Dave Rosen, Absolute Live Productions’ CEO and Gabriel Soltero, Technical Producer for ALP explain:
Q: Tell us about the assignment?
Dave Rosen: This was a time sensitive request from a PR firm flying in from London, who was tasked with producing live video content from the GE booth at CES and making it instantly available to broadcasters. Our client sourced our company through a word-of-mouth referral our respected past client and trusted us to handle their project. Our task was to enable the client the ability to connect their on-booth talent with television news outlets around the world seamlessly. The majority of the interviews conducted, were to be a two-way live feed and cut directly into the live news broadcast
Q: Why did you choose cellular instead of satellite?
Dave Rosen: Most of the time the choice comes down to the cost to the client. Frankly speaking, cellular bonding is not only quicker and easier to deploy, it is substantially more affordable than satellite. For this project the GE booth was located deep inside the Las Vegas Convention Center that came with many challenges, complications and expenses that needed to be mitigated.
First and foremost, when making the arrangements for a Satellite Truck to be on location at the LVCC. this alone posed problems that although we’ve solved for before didn’t seem to be the answer this time around.
The cellular bonded systems we have discovered as best solutions and lately we have had a lesser need to incur the expense of an on-site Satellite Truck. Most news outlets have the capability to receive signals from a mobile broadcast system. We have used solution after solution and both the TVU and LiveU have been practically flawless in their ability to live stream when there is no internet on site and our seasoned technicians operate this technology for best client satisfaction and as a result trust ALP for their broadcasts and live feed shows when it matters the most.
Q: What is the TD role on a Satellite Media Tour?
Gabriel: I was in charge of the technical and communicative aspects of the project. The first part involved gathering all the pieces of technology needed from our in-house selection of gear then setting it up on-site with our crew and taking it all to the test. The other aspect of this job was communicating with the multiple stations directly to verify the video signal was being received. To ensure success this meant working with the engineering departments of each news outlet one on one and not leaving anything to chance. Combining both my live streaming expertise with Absolute along with my 10 years of broadcast news station experience s in the United States it feels good to know that our client’s are in not only good but great hands. We share the newscast engineer and newscast director position and we have a thorough understanding of what the stations need and what they are expecting from a live feed. We understand their language and we can speak directly to what each station needs to do to receive our signal because we have experiential knowledge and know what they are looking to achieve. It is this shared experience and knowing the end result that makes us succeed together with our clients and the payoff is big for both sides.
Dave Rosen: Gabriel’s expertise has been instrumental in ensuring our client’s end results are successful but also is a competent trainer and supports in lending technical expertise to our company’s techs and shines when it come to success with all media and f news outlet live broadcasts. With the expansion of our crew and inventory we are able to handle multiple clients in different cities with unique requirements on budget, on time and all at once or simultaneously.
Q: What was the technology used on this satellite media tour?
Gabriel: Aside from the LiveU and TVU boxes, we have access to a lot of other cool technology. We used the brand new Canon XF705 4K camera on site. It’s great because of its small size, yet extensive functionality. Even though we did not broadcast in 4K, it’s a nice option to have in case we need to shoot anything else for our client, including 9×16 footage for phones. We also used the Shure ULXD Audio System on location, it provides extreme flexibility in terms of the type of mics we can use wirelessly and also provides a simple, user-friendly experience that we can quickly reprogram to our needs. As with any kind of live news insert, you must have a way for our on-site talent to communicate with live anchor people and that’s where our iPhone IFB system comes into play. Literally every news broadcaster has an way to dial into a phone number and hear the live broadcast. This is one way how our live news anchors can talk to our host, and ask questions live on the air. Our iPhone comes with the news industry standard earpiece and cabling to wrap around the ear and be practically invisible to the viewer at home.
Q: What’s the plan for Absolute Live Productions in the future?
Dave Rosen: ALP will continue to produce for a Satellite Media Tour both with and without a satellite truck and continue to expand our primary business of creating large-format multi-camera live streams for brands and agencies and pr firms around the world.
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