Pebble Beach Systems, an automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, confirmed that MBC Group, a free-to-air broadcast network in the Arab world, has now completed the process of migrating playout of all 23 channels to the company’s flagship Marina automation solution.
Originally an ADC facility, MBC initially deployed a Pebble Beach Systems Neptune playout automation solution several years ago. The phased migration across to Marina automation was completed late in 2017. Nick Barratt, senior manager – broadcast at MBC Group expanded on the rationale for migrating to Marina, which presents the operator with a single unified operator interface, regardless of the underlying technology being controlled. “Unifying under the common user experience of an open system, with an extensive and evolving library of API integrations, allows us to take advantage of the technology changes currently happening in the broadcast world, regardless of manufacturer. We aim to make it totally immaterial to the operator not only what systems underpin the channel they are working on, but also if those systems are physical, virtual or even their location.”
Bassam Faour, broadcast manager at MBC Group, added, “A key deciding factor in our decision to upgrade with Marina was Pebble Beach Systems’ track record of supporting an open approach to systems and suppliers.”
MBC and Pebble worked closely together throughout the process, starting with a six-week parallel run before the first two channels, the Al Arabiya and Al Hadath news channels, were transferred to Marina control. “This parallel run period highlighted any issues and resulted in a complete non-event during switch-over,” confirmed Barratt. His colleague Emad Dabbah, senior manager – transmission and digital archive, stated, “As we embarked on the migration, we worked closely with Pebble to fine-tune the system’s performance for the fast-paced news environment.”
Pebble’s regional manager for the Middle East and South Asia, Samir Isbaih explained, “In this region, where Neptune is the dominant automation solution, we pride ourselves in offering a flexible and intelligent migration strategy to Marina with little or no disruption to the end user’s operations. Users who upgrade to Marina from Neptune benefit from a number of unique advantages. Firstly, their existing Neptune database is fully migrated onto the new platform with no information lost and, as at MBC, both systems can run in parallel so that migration can be done gradually to suit the end user’s timescale. Furthermore, Neptune playlists can be natively opened in Marina, and both Neptune and Marina can talk to the same Archive and NLS in Parallel. Crucially, operators can carry on working as usual with minimal if any training.”