At NAB 2023, Globecast Americas announced that it’s moving to a new facility – well, new to us; more on that shortly. Without a shadow of a doubt, the time had come to say goodbye to our long-term home in Culver City, Los Angeles, CA, and begin fresh in a facility far more suited to us and our customers’ futures. As will come as little surprise, there are multiple factors behind this decision, factors we’ll take a more in-depth look at here. We’ll also take a look at an important strategic announcement with Brklyn-Media, also revealed at the show.
Globecast has been in the process of evolving its business, highlighted by our global Strategic Initiatives, announced at IBC last year. Our Culver City facility has been around for 40 years, and we’ve called it home for more than 30. As mentioned, there are multiple factors driving this move, both from a technological and business standpoint. As our CTO, Chris Pulis said at NAB, “Culver City has been a great home for us but it’s impossible for us to grow there, given space constraints. We see this move as imperative to continue to deliver the highest quality for our customers and to further expand our service offerings. As our business evolves from hardware and footprint-centric operations to virtualized and cloud technologies, relocating to a facility that’s fundamentally more suited to these kinds of workflows, new possibilities and operations, greatly increases our service elasticity.”
Culver City has been sold and now we’re in the process of moving into a new state-of-the-art facility in Westlake Village in metropolitan Los Angeles, CA. Westlake Village Studios is a 21,000-square-foot broadcast operation situated within the sprawling 12-acre Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. It will serve as a true media center as we complete our move away from SDI to a SMPTE ST-2110 IP environment. We will be ideally positioned to satisfy this changing market – especially across media supply chain and remote production services.
While we did look at greenfield sites, we quickly identified that an already existing facility would be preferrable. The choice of Westlake Village Studios is due to the fact that it’s purpose-built and has previously been used as a television facility with the fundamental infrastructure – including a data center, UPS, generator and modern cooling – already in place. This allows us to concentrate on tailoring it precisely for what we want to achieve, which we are now in the process of doing. The base technologies for media services are increasing in terms of complexity and bandwidth with this move also ultimately benefitting from the expansion of Globecast’s US fiber connectivity to satisfy increased demand. Changes in distribution technologies allow us to reduce our physical footprint and also allow us to invest in technologies that are meeting the needs of customers today.
The way the space is configured at Westlake allows us to grow, for example increasing the size of our MCR to be able to accommodate more channels and all the operations that are associated with that. As Chris said, as everything moves into the cloud and/or across fiber networks, we have to have an IP infrastructure that not only supports our customers today; it also supports them into the future. What do we mean by that? Well, we’re talking about developments like UHD, HDR, virtual reality and live event productions, which can include 30 simultaneous source feeds from remote locations. There’s no two ways about it, this is a complete paradigm shift and the combination of moving to this new facility and completing our move to IP means we can continue to best serve our customers.
It’s ideal for remote production and the live integration of sports content for our customers. With major sporting events happening in the US, specifically Los Angeles, in the next few years, it gives us an all-encompassing offer for broadcasters that includes a fully connected transmission facility – complete with a hotel and available studio space – and all the amenities they need.
We really are excited about this move and what it means for our customers. While it would be presumptuous at this stage to give a definite date for completion, we are set for the end of Q1 next year.
But this wasn’t the only major announcement from us at NAB, with the other being our new strategic partnership with Brklyn-Media. Brklyn-Media was established in 2020 in Brooklyn, New York, by Rick Phelps, a name that’s certainly familiar to many as a 20-year industry veteran in digital media and technology services. This was done with advisory support from other well-known industry figures including Wes Simpson and Rich Wolf. These are all people who we know well.
Brklyn-Media offers a full complement of media management services including live production, post-production, file aggregation, curation, conversion/processing/transformation, Network Operations Services, IP acquisition, distribution and publishing to all linear and non-linear platforms. What’s immediately clear is this gives access to the two largest television markets in the US – New York and Los Angeles. That’s no small achievement.
Of course, there’s also the fact we can both offer an expanded suite of services, full one-stop shop solutions in fact, with a combination of Brklyn-Media’s OTT capabilities and Globecast’s media supply chain and cloud playout capabilities being just one example. It also means geographic and product line diversity and allows for disaster recovery redundancies. In essence, it means expanded customer choice safe in the knowledge these services are being offered by people who absolutely know what they are doing, how and why.
As you can see, NAB 2023 was very exciting for us and for our customers, both existing and new. Welcome to the future!