DALLAS – Imagine Communications is working closely with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (SBG) to streamline and customise the distribution of U.S. broadcasters’ children’s programming by centralising playout operations in the public cloud. The new implementation is among the first instance of a major broadcaster moving a critical operation to a fully virtualized public environment, which enables SBG to realize a variety of cost and business advantages by leveraging the agility, scalability and elasticity of a cloud-native and geo-dispersed environment.


KidsClick, a three-hour block of age-appropriate children’s programming airing daily on a number of broadcast stations, is SBG’s newest entry into the program content arena. By centralising the playout and ad trafficking operations of KidsClick in a virtualized environment using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, SBG is empowered to deliver programming and advertising that can be customized to the requirements of individual affiliates. This approach significantly increases efficiency, flexibility and speed to market, when compared to a traditional on-premises approach.


KidsClick operations are powered by Versio™ Platform, Imagine’s modular, software-only and cloud-native playout solution designed for fully virtualized environments, both private and public. In the KidsClick model, an instance of Versio, running a unique playlist and ad load, is assigned to each time zone. In the future, stations may customise programming and deploy targeted advertising to a specific broadcast area. This inherently scalable approach enables different versions of content and new affiliates to be added to the KidsClick distribution system almost instantaneously, simply by spinning up a new instance of Versio. Required resources are automatically allocated in the cloud, and then released when those resources are no longer needed.


In addition to near-limitless scalability and resource elasticity, SBG can take advantage of running an operating business model and Software as a Service (SaaS) pricing scheme, eliminating dependence on capital expenditures normally associated with traditional channel expansion or technology refreshes. Powered by Zenium™, Imagine’s pure microservices platform, Versio Platform is designed to be futureproof, incorporating new capabilities and features as they become available, as opposed to the forklift upgrades that a hardware-based solution often requires. The agility enabled by Versio Platform makes it possible for SBG to spin up new channels and playlists in a short span of time and without the need to purchase or provision new equipment.