As well as its main scheduling, ZDF also broadcasts the digital specialist channels ZDFinfokanal, ZDFdokukanal and ZDFtheaterkanal, and operates the broadcasters 3sat, Phoenix, ARTE and KI.KA in association with other TV companies. The ZDF also pioneered color television in Germany (first broadcast in 1967). In 2007, ZDF also became the first German broadcaster to start using the 16:9 format.
Performance, flexibility and ease-of-use
ZDF had been using a complicated CMS platform since 2001, and this was now to be replaced. The new Mediathek would be the first portal that would use the new CMS system as its base system. The technical coverage was also to be increased still further via the use of additional output channels and a simplified user interface. The complex editing workflows needed to be perfectly mapped within the new system, and interfaces provided for existing applications to connect to the new platform. Finally, the demanding project had to be finished on time for the launch on August 31, 2007.
Missed your show?: TV on demand
ZDF put the project out to tender, choosing CoreMedia CMS as the winning bid With ZDF as general manager, the team of Aperto (implementation), Pixelpark (design) and CoreMedia (consultancy) set to work on the major project. Thanks to the out-of-the-box features provided by CoreMedia CMS, the project was finished in just four months. All content from the old Mediathek was brought over into the new system. Interfaces connected ZDF's internal production environment and the old CMS (to be used for the ZDF.de and heute.de portals until replaced) with the new content platform. A metadata processing module, developed by ZDF in-house, formed the technical link in the chain between the tapeless TV production studio, the video transcoding process and CoreMedia CMS. The ZDF Mediathek was launched as planned for IFA 2007. The service delivers video in TV quality, with maximum technical coverage: program items can be accessed via PC browser, TV set (using Windows Media Center) or cell phone while on the move. The open video standard H.264 is also used here for the first time, meaning programs can also be viewed by Mac and Linux users. While video is playing, users can also browse through other content with just a few clicks. Previews are used to show which program will be displayed next. Easy-to-use search features and a clean and simple navigation improve the user experience. Most video remains online for seven days after being broadcast – occasionally even longer.
After receiving thorough instruction from the CoreMedia Training Center, the 250 members of the editing staff now look forward to a lightened workload, involving a simplified workflow, preview-based editing, a powerful editing search, integrated image editing, numerous drag & drop features and a system that responds almost immediately to their input.
In addition, CoreMedia CMS also provides the editing staff with valuable end-user feedback via the video rating system and the straightforward user statistics. Investing in CoreMedia CMS brings real benefits: thanks to the open standards and the modular architecture, different service providers can implement new portals and system features simultaneously. Also in the pipeline is the relaunch of the ZDF.de and heute.de portals, which will use the new CoreMedia platform.