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Prompting the news at China Central Television

Prompting the news at China Central Television

China Central Television (CCTV), is the predominant state television broadcaster in mainland China, with a network of 45 TV channels and the largest number of television subchannels in the world. The extensive network is accessible to more than one billion viewers, broadcasting programmes across a wide range of genres, from comedy and documentary to entertainment and drama. As the country’s most powerful and prolific television programme producer, news plays a prominent role in CCTV’s agenda and the network produces its own news broadcasts three times a day.

CCTV’s main headquarters were relocated recently to a new state of the art structure in Bejing’s Central Business District. The landmark site, a series of horizontal and vertical skyscrapers, is now home to the network’s main news operation which broadcasts live from CCTV’s three separate studios. The newsrooms have been installed with the highest performing equipment to support the network’s dynamic operation.

As part of the install, CCTV selected six of Autoscript’s E.P.I.C prompting units to replace the network’s original prompters. The E.P.I.C. (Enhanced Prompting Information Centre) all-in-one prompter display and on-air talent monitors were provided by Autoscript, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company, to integrate easily into the newsrooms’ production workflows.

Mr Sha Song, Technical Section Chief, CCTV Newsroom explained: “We decided to trial the Autoscript E.P.I.C systems for a month and were so pleased with their performance which has exceeded our expectation. We immediately put in an urgent order for six sets to get them up and running in time for the first broadcast.”

CCTV has been on air from the new studios for the last few months and the prompting solutions have been performing seamlessly for the networks news presenters.

Mr Sha Song said: “We realised the many advantages of using the Autoscript prompters during the trial sessions and found them really stable and easy to use. The linking function with the NCS (network control system) is very strong.”

“Prompting is such an important element of our live production workflow and with the E.P.I.C system we can edit the on-air prompting text very quickly. Our talent have praised the different control functions as they have manual control, foot control and wireless hand control options and the monitors are very light and much clearer than the local products we used.”

All CCTV channels are independently broadcast, and 22 channels out of the 45 on offer are public channels, available free to the millions of regular viewers. According to an internal survey carried out by the network, as many as 500 million viewers have tuned in to watch the CCTV evening news bulletin, so the pressure on the both the presenters and the studio equipment to deliver an outstanding performance every time is greater than ever.

Mr Sha Song concluded: “The solutions have vastly simplified the studio equipment required and they enable the talent to concentrate solely on presenting the programme without having to focus on the performance of the product.”