Chyron’s Axis Aims To Lower Broadcasters’ Costs 10%-15%

By Carl Lindemann

For Chyron, the upside to the downturn is how it opens the door for Axis, a fundamentally different approach to delivering graphics that headlined the company’s NAB 2009 press conference Sunday morning. With hype that outshone the introduction of the HyperX(3) graphics platform, Axis’ “Distributed Centralization” promises to change the economics of the graphics business delivering the goods for just 10%-15% of current costs — just for starters.

“Eighteen months ago, presenting this would have been tall order,” said Kevin Prince, Chyron SVP/COO. “The attitude [towards the legacy architecture] is: if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. But it broke recently, and we’re trying to fix it.”

What’s broken? According to Chyron President/CEO Michael Wellesley-Wesley, the core broadcast business model has gone from teetering to toppled in the economic meltdown.

“It is now imperative that TV broadcasters go from a high fixed cost [business model] to low, variable costs. We see this as our mission, our No. 1 priority to help customers navigate this,” Wellesley-Wesley says.

The fix? Axis turns on two megatrends in the IT world: “cloud” computing and the software-as-service concept. Cloud computing moves the processing power crucial to generating graphics to the service provider.

Likewise, software resides with the vendor. Broadcasters don’t have to invest in on-premise hardware and software. Instead, they just access these services as needed via the Internet, adding or eliminating seats as needed. Such scalability comes with a big engineering bonus. The headaches associated with incremental upgrades, revisions, service and maintenance vanish.

So far, Gannett’s 23 stations have adopted Axis.

Wellesley-Wesley says the savings have been impressive and that other groups will soon make the switch. These announcements won’t come until after NAB because of the delicacy inherent in adopting such a fundamental, disruptive change in the status quo. But he predicts that this will sweep past early adopters into the mainstream by the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Chyron is partnering with other vendors to bring editing and other broadcast applications into the clouds.