5:00 with Roger Thornton

Five minutes with Roger Thornton, head of publicity at SAM (Snell Advanced Media)
Roger Thornton, SAM.
Roger Thornton, SAM.


DS: Tell us about the rebranding of Quantel and Snell to SAM.

RT: SAM stands for Snell Advanced Media, which was formerly known as Quantel and Snell but rebranded and relaunched at IBC as one company with one brand and one vision. It’s a great move, we’ve been running two separate brands for over a year and it dilutes the effort, multiplies the work that we [marketing team] had to do, so it’s not just a matter of a name change, we’ve brought the engineering teams together, the marketing teams together, the all the back office and sales staff now look after the entire former Quantel and Snell product range.

DS: How has the rebrand changed the way you exhibit at shows such as IBC?

At IBC we used to have Quantel lines and Snell lines and now we’ve got combined workflows with former Quantel and former Snell solutions together and that is really showing the value of the merged position, because when we got together the idea was to nerge the portfolio. Unlike almost any other merger in this business in the last few years, the product lines were entirely complementary, there was zero overlap, we didn’t have to drop anything, but what we needed to do was integrate them to take advantage. That’s what SAM is all about.

DS: Tell us about what you demoed at IBC?

We were showing a combined 4K live production workflow with enterprise SQ, our fast turnaround news and sports system, our Live Touch 4K sports replay system together with a Kahuna switcher, also 4K. So you can see the benefits of combining the companies. We can do the whole thing from ingest to playout now, and we have unique advantages in that area now as well. If you’re passing files around at HD, you’re editing in one place and you’re taking it to another place to playout that can be quite time consuming. When you’re trying to do it with 4K media – four times the data – that can become a real problem and we have unique technology called FrameMagic which means that you edit in place as it’s called. It’s a no-copy editing work flow so that the moment you’ve done the edit, you don’t need to move the media to playout or back to the replay system, it’s all there in place ready to go instantly to air and that really matters at 4K.

Other big strands at IBC - everyone was talking about IP migration. We have got it nailed. At a press conference at IBC we were lucky enough to have a customer stand up and talk to us from DutchViewInfostrada, a big Netherlands media organisation, and they made the decision at the beginning of the year that they were going to change their entire operation and that includes 10 studios, loads of OB trucks and go wholly IP. They chose us because we can offer a complete IP migration strategy, everything from ingest through production, infrastructure, switchers, routers through to virtualised playout when that comes round.

Product-wise we showed all our IP-enabled products. Most of them are transitional products so you can add IP bit-by-bit as you want to. We also showed the fully IP Channel-in-a-Box and a fully IP Kahuna switcher as well, for anybody who wants to go fully IP now.

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