Established in 1937, Calkins Media produces five regional newspaper titles in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The company also owns ABC affiliate TV channels in Alabama and Florida, to support a combined weekly audience of 3.4 million viewers. From their heritage as community journalists, the content produced by Calkins Media has traditionally been focused on news and consumer affairs. However, a few years ago, the company expanded into production of a number of lifestyle programs and channels. Today, Calkins Media has around 20 such lifestyle programs that are shown on linear TV channels.
In late 2016, Calkins Media was offered a major new business opportunity, when Verizon Media offered to carry some of their popular shows including “Ask The Pet Vet” and “Eat This!” on the Verizon VOD platform.
For Jake Volcsko, Digital Media and Marketing Director at Calkins Media, this presented both business and technical challenges for their digital production platform. The first technical challenge was how to encode content so that it would comply with Verizon’s strict on-boarding requirements.
The second challenge was financial, as Volcsko and his team needed a way to encode content without incurring major capital expenses.
Calkins Media initially turned to Telestream to look for a solution to the technical problem.
“While other vendors were thinking about how to meet Verizon’s specifications, Telestream responded quickly and showed how easy it was to do this on the Vantage platform,” said Volcsko. “Telestream understood our requirement and showed me a solution within days.”
The answer to Calkins Media’s business challenge also came from Telestream, in the shape of the Telestream Cloud Advanced Services. These services allowed Calkins Media to access all the features of the Vantage Media Processing Platform workflows on a “pay-per-minute-created” basis, with transcoding and upload to Verizon being part of a single process.
“The Verizon contract would not have been viable for Calkins Media without the flexible payment model offered by Telestream Cloud, coupled with the technical expertise of the Telestream team,” commented Volcsko.
Volcsko had looked at other Cloud transcoding services but found their billing models were difficult to interpret. “With Telestream Cloud I can know exactly what it will cost, and it is really easy to use,” he concluded.