It is no strange news that the use of Satellite News Gathering (SNG) is now on a downward shift ─ a movement that is veering towards decline. Nevertheless, it is not dead yet; there’s hope.

Are you just coming across the phrase ‘Satellite News Gathering’ for the first time? Below are a few things that you should keep in mind.

SNG is leveraging satellite communication equipment for newsgathering. The satellite uses an uplink transmission that is capable of on-demand and 0n-spot audio and visual broadcasting. SNG’s use mobile vehicles with transmitting devices that are easy to use and efficient, especially because they do more live and on the spot broadcasts.

In today’s age, technology has taken over the digital and media spaces, and viewers’ expectations about the quality of content in terms of speed and clear visuals have placed news organisations in endless competition with one another. Broadcasters are constantly faced with challenges of how to disseminate information quickly and at the same time with great visual and audio quality. So, this means that media houses need to adopt new standards of broadcasting that aims at better user experience and preparation for their next operations.

Before we take a look at some of the challenges that are posing a threat to Satellite News Gathering, we may want to answer one of the frequently asked questions about SNG.

Has the advent of satellite technology done any good to the media and news?

The answer is an emphatic YES!

Perhaps, the seemingly reason satellite technology is looking like it will be going into extinction is the increasing upgrade and development of IP. Today IP is almost has reliable as Satellite transmission with the increasing access of 4G and 5G services. However Satellite transmission has several advantages of IP in that the quality of Video and Audio over satellite is better and more reliable.

What are the seeming challenges?

It’s okay to assume that the satellite cannot encounter any challenge, especially because of is about 36,000 kilometres standpoint from planet Earth. But beyond this, satellites still run into problems.

What if we told you that with broadcasts like live news and interviews, the satellites still experience a few milliseconds delay

There are also a few times when the satellite gets bombarded with lots of bandwidth from serving too many neighbourhoods. This is the point where efficiency starts to decline and the satellite, thus, begins to appear as the major problem.

Another major challenge that satellite technology or SNG faces is the lack of well-trained crew members and operators. While it is quick to put all the blame on the satellite and its equipment, a lag in equipment management by the SNG team at the broadcast headquarters and the ones on site could also lead to poor footage coverings and other interference issues.

Now, of all the challenges that SNG has faced over the years, the most prominent one is the competition with social media. With the increasing demand for speed and live news, the Satellite News Gathering equipment could be a few steps behind. However, there are limits to the kind of information that mobile technologies can transmit.

What happens next when the cause of the challenge is not manmade?

It is true that the satellite could get overburdened with too many frequencies and begin to experience delays. It is also true that undertrained SNG crew or team members could also add to the downtime that satellite technology goes through. However, there are times when the SNG crew and satellite are faced with conditions that are beyond their control. These conditions may include severe weather conditions like extreme downpours, harsh storms, intense wind, etc. In a critical moment like this, contacting the appropriate satellite operator to fix the problem can prove abortive.

Now, of all the challenges that the SNG has faced over the years, the most prominent one is the competition with IP devices. With the increasing demand for speed and live news, the Satellite News Gathering equipment could be a few steps behind. However, there are limits to the kind of information that mobile technologies can transmit. The reason is that when catastrophe happens, the satellite is the only best option. This is the point where its orbit position is more advantageous.

It cannot be overemphasised that the blessings that satellite brings to news gathering surpasses that of any other transmission technology and regardless of the few backlogs that the satellite transmission may experience. Renowned news stations like CNN, Sky News, Fox News still rely on satellite technology to bring their viewers to current news about societies that are being ravaged with conflict.

So, the next question that you may want to ask is ‘How then do these top world news stations sustain relevance in the news and media industry?’ We’ll tell you.

These news organisations have found the way forward for their SNG operations.

The way forward for SNG

We stated earlier on that the Satellite News Gathering equipment is not dead yet ─ and maybe not anytime soon. Because technology is an advancing phenomenon that causes lots of behaviours to change, satellite technology will continue to do everything within its power to evolve and address some of its weaknesses. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that some thriving news companies apply to still maintain their competitive edge in the media world today.

The right tools

As clearly stated by the Satellite Interface Reduction Group (iRG), one of the most effective ways to close loopholes in broadcasting is by using intelligent tools. These tools help SNG operators automate their workflow and reduce the risks that are associated with human errors.

Talking about the right intelligent tools to use, here’s a list of them:

    • High Throughput Satellite (HTS)
    • O3b system
    • Spectrum Analyser

With the emergence and integration of satellite technology like the above-mentioned SNG operators can regain some level of control and have their set up processes more simplified for them.

Finally, back to the question asked about the death of SNG equipment, maybe the real question should be what technology innovations are media houses ready to imbibe in their broadcastings? In other words, the Satellite News Gathering equipment is still in operation only if they are not the conventional type.

Having said that, are you wondering where you can learn more about modern-day SNG operations, with an emphasis on speed and digital quality? Or do you need the tenacious services of our SNG crew? Click on the link to get all the information that you seek.

Hurry and call us on +234 803310 8952.