Founded in 2019 by Eric Wotila, NewsNet is an American news oriented free-to-air television network that prides itself on its independent journalism. As a fledgling news broadcaster, it had ambitious plans for growth and needed a new technology platform that could scale and grow with it while automating many of the tasks required for a pioneering news platform, but with a small core of people.
Adopting a legacy “News Wheel” approach to delivering news, with each half-hour of the wheel beginning with a two-minute-long highlight of the leading headlines, the turning wheel follows a process of headlines followed by up-to-date and breaking stories on national and international coverage in the following 28 minutes. It’s main differentiation and inspiration is to avoid the opinions, bias and politically motivated panels that blights modern news programs’. It broadcasts daily across local broadcast channels, online and via a mobile app.
As with any brand new newsroom set-up, having a green field site to work with presents both opportunities and challenges in terms of resource and budget. NewsNet decided to implement a newsroom system that was worthy of the 21st century using state-of-the-art IP workflows. They had decided on implementing a Newsmaker Newscaster Control system that works in conjunction with NewTek’s Tricaster to provide an NDI based workflow for playout control and graphics, with Octopus interfacing seamlessly to provide the newsroom computer system and online publication platform.
Eric Wotila, founder and CEO of Newsnet explains “Octopus was implemented in conjunction with the launch of NewsNet. Prior to NewsNet, the local TV stations we operated used a program with very limited capabilities, focused exclusively on creating rundowns, scripts, and running our teleprompter. While this solution was sufficient for these smaller local stations, when NewsNet launched we needed a fully-fledged newsroom computer system, capable of interfacing with our studio control rooms via MOS and posting content to our web site and social media pages. Octopus was the perfect solution.”
The Octopus system was installed in October 2019 in conjunction with the expansion of the Newsnet facility that included the addition of three new studios. Octopus is used at this single broadcasting facility, but with over 16 user licenses, the journalists are able to use the Octopus Journalist app to file stories in the field. In the future, NewsNet plan to integrate multiple sites to the Octopus system for true collaboration and increased efficiency across multiple facilities.
And the final word comes from Wotila: “ Octopus streamlined our workflow tremendously and allowed our team to focus on producing the news and not worrying about the tech behind the scenes. It has also drastically reduced the amount of pre-production our ops team has had to put into each show through its automation integration. And we love Octopus’s inexpensive buyout model — with no ongoing fees other than an annual service contract. Other vendors either quoted far more than Octopus for a buyout, had thousands of dollars per month in ongoing expenses, or both.”
Octopus plan to be with NewsNet and support them as they rapidly expand their operation across the country.