Twenty-four hours a day, Showtime brings feature films, sports and entertainment events, and original programming to the televisions, laptops and mobile phones of more than 25 million subscribers. And where does all that content originate? From the offices of Globecomm in Hauppauge, New York.
Back in 2005, Showtime needed to find a new home, after operating for nearly 30 years from a facility owned by Viacom. Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone had decided to spin off the CBS broadcasting network and Showtime was part of the corporate package. Globecomm was already running a video-on-demand network it had developed for Showtime, and it was natural to include our company among bidders for a new Showtime broadcast center. We won that bid – and had just 12 months to design and integrate a broadcast center in our building and put it on the air.
Channel Cutover and Mother Nature
A great deal of ingenuity went into the design and a great deal of planning went into the nerve-wracking job of cutting over broadcast from the old center to the new. Thanks to that hard work, it took just a couple of hours to transition 25 standard digital channels, 3 HD channels and 1 analog channel to our building. What we did not plan on was a massive rainstorm with gale force winds that hit shortly afterward. It made headlines by knocking out part of the New York City subway system. Globecomm’s headquarters flooded with an inch of water throughout the building and three feet in our teleport. But if you were a Showtime viewer, you never knew it happened.
As the media revolution gathered momentum, Showtime moved with it. In 2011, it introduced Showtime Anytime, an authenticated app for existing subscribers, followed by the Showtime app in 2015. They have since gained millions of subscribers. To serve the new requirement, Globecomm expanded the broadcast center by nearly 7,000 square feet to accommodate an advanced streaming management and monitoring center, where staff run services and route content on the public internet.
Quite a few of them are Globecomm employees. From the six Globecomm staff supporting Showtime in 2007, the support group has grown to more than 20 people. They are quality control and digital media operators, master control operators, VOD technicians and broadcast technicians. A senior broadcast engineer and integration technicians manage a continuous refresh cycle for the technology. By turning to Globecomm for staffing, Showtime gets the best of both worlds: access to the skills and experience it needs to run a changing business, and the ability to keep its own operation lean.
This story is adapted from a full-length case study. Read the case study.
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