CTV News

Mobile HD reporting with iPhone and iPad.

CTV News has been one of Canada’s primary news sources for more than 50 years. With top-ranked local newscasts in 11 major markets and 25 million viewers per week, CTV relies on the latest broadcast technology to deliver the news whenever and wherever it takes place. Now the company has adopted two new high-tech reporting tools: iPhone and iPad.

The built-in, high-definition camera on iPhone gives CTV News reporters the flexibility to document breaking news on the spot, without setting up elaborate broadcast equipment or waiting for a satellite truck to arrive.

“iPhone 4s enables our camera crews to capture HD video in the field and immediately send it back to the station,” says Geoff Grant, Director of Operations for CTV News Toronto. “We can get this material with a single crew person and a single phone.”

“It’s like putting a remote mobile truck in the hands of every one of our crew members,” says Paul Rogers, Senior Vice President of CTV News. “What iPhone 4s can do for our newsroom and our network is magical.”

Instant Video Transfers

Shooting great-looking video on iPhone is only half the story. “We needed a way to get this beautiful HD video back to the news bureau as quickly as possible,” says Josh Tidsbury, a systems specialist in CTV’s Creative Technology Systems group. “That’s why we created the iGateway app.”

Using iGateway, CTV reporters can upload video clips in the background as they shoot new video. Reporters can select an existing video or shoot a new one with the camera on iPhone, trim the beginning or end right on the phone, include GPS coordinates and other metadata, and securely transfer the file to CTV’s Gateway content management system.

Building the app was simple, Tidsbury says: “We were able to develop iGateway from an idea to a completed app within a matter of weeks, which shows how smooth the development process can be. Apple has put a lot of thought into the details of the SDK and the APIs for developers.”

Amazing Broadcast Apps

Several third-party apps have also become integral to CTV News workflows. The DishPointer Maps app helps mobile crews determine which way to point a remote truck’s satellite dish for the best possible signal. And GPS Location helps ground crews and the CTV News chopper navigate to the same destination.

Another essential app, StreamboxME, enables CTV reporters to stream live video back to their servers in real time instead of uploading it via iGateway. “The satellite truck might be 30 minutes away, but until it arrives, our crews can pull out their iPhone 4s, grab that live video, and send it to us,” Grant says. “We can take those live images to air immediately via iPhone.”

The result: Immediate, accurate reporting on the day’s most important news, captured in detail as it occurs.

“More Canadians get their news from CTV than any other source,” says Rogers. “We need to be first, we need to be fast, and we need to be factual. What iPhone 4s gives us, in terms of speed and economy, is absolutely priceless.”

iPad on Air

CTV News has also started to integrate iPad into a variety of broadcast settings, from the studio to the skies.

“We’re using iPad 2 in the studio and in the chopper,” says Grant. “Our chopper technician refers to his iPad as a sort of a Swiss Army knife — he can look at current weather information, maps, and other tools that help him do his job.”

iPad is starting to appear on air as well. “The weather anchor might be looking at a weather system on his iPad, and we can wirelessly connect his iPad as a direct source in the control room using AirPlay,” Grant says. “So the viewer sees exactly what our talent is seeing on set.”

Faster, Better News

With the success of iPhone and iPad in its flagship Toronto operation, CTV News has begun deploying the devices to its electronic news gathering (ENG) teams throughout Canada.

“I think the sky’s the limit for what iPad and iPhone 4s can do for the news industry,” Rogers says. “News people want to get the job done quickly. They want to do it better than anybody else and faster than everybody else. And iPad and iPhone are helping them get there.”

“iPad and iPhone make a huge difference in how we gather news,” Grant adds. “Knowing that any of our crew can get to the scene and send images back to us immediately with iPhone 4s. It truly keeps us ahead of our competition.”

Company Snapshot

  • Based in Toronto
  • Canada’s largest private broadcaster
  • 1000 employees
  • 25 local stations
  • A division of Bell Media (BCE Inc.)
  • www.ctvnews.ca

“We need to be first, we need to be fast, and we need to be factual. What iPhone 4s gives us, in terms of speed and economy, is absolutely priceless.”

Paul Rogers, Senior Vice President
CTV News


“We were able to go from an idea to a completed app within a matter of weeks, which shows how smooth the development process can be.”

Josh Tidsbury, Systems Specialist
Creative Technology Systems, CTV News


“iPad and iPhone make a huge difference in how we gather news. Any of our crew can send images back to us immediately. It truly keeps us ahead of our competition.”

Geoff Grant, Director of Operations
CTV News Toronto


“iPhone 4s enables our camera crews to capture HD video in the field and immediately send it back to the station. We can get this material with a single crew person and a single phone.”

Geoff Grant, Director of Operations
CTV News Toronto

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