Breaking News From The Field With Bond Pro

Tue, Jun 06, 2017
Dagens Nyheter streaming from Stockholm terrorist attack with Teradek Bond Pro
Reporters of Dagens Nyheter on the scene of the 2017 Stockholm terrorist attack. Photo: Fredrik Funck

The decline of newspapers around the world since the advent of the Internet has been a bane for print publications everywhere, but many news outlets have found ways to adapt and stay relevant, surviving an ever-changing news industry.

Founded in 1864, Dagens Nyheter - or Today’s News - is the largest morning newspaper in Sweden, and has been a major source of information for the Swedish people for over 150 years. Staying current with modern media consumption trends, they decided 3 years ago that they wanted to try something new: live streaming breaking news.

“While we publish mostly editorial content, we wanted a way to cover events on site and bring live content to our readers online,” said Patrik Miesenberger, Technical Manager for Web-TV at Dagens Nyheter.

But while live streaming is an excellent way to provide breaking news coverage, many newsworthy events occur in remote locations without reliable sources of Internet connectivity, making broadcasting high quality live video impossible without expensive satellite trucks and high-end equipment. So how does Dagens Nyheter broadcast from the field without having to dish out the big bucks?

Newsworthy Broadcast 

During the April terrorist attack in Stockholm, Sweden, Dagens Nyheter sent out a team of reporters to the site to cover it. Because of the gravity of the event, their goal was to provide a robust stream for several hours of coverage.

Custom-built Bond Pro backpack with Dagens Nyheter
Teradek Bond Pro with 6 USB cellular modems fit into a backpack. Photo: Patrik Miesenberger

In order to get the best footage possible, the team used a custom-built broadcasting rig designed by Miesenberger for their livestream work. A reporter records with an Canon XA25 camcorder, which sends its SDI feed to a backpack on the reporter’s back containing a Teradek Bond Pro streaming encoder. 

The Bond Pro is a bonding/streaming device that can combine up to 6 cellular USB connections and send video directly to online destinations or to decoders located anywhere in the world. The redundancy of so many Internet connections allows for a smoother, more robust broadcast, which is especially useful in remote areas with no other kind of Internet connection.

Using 6 separate modems from 3 different carriers (Telia, Tele 2, 3), the reporters broadcasted the feed to the company’s Teradek Sputnik server, where the production team at the Dagens Nyheter headquarters pushed the feed into their Cube decoder at the studio. After the video was decompressed, it went directly into their studio switcher where edits (graphics, lower thirds, camera feed switching) were done. They then sent the stream to a Slice and Cube encoder, the former going directly to the Dagens Nyheter website dn.se while the latter going to their Facebook Page.

Teradek Link with Cube and 6 USB modems
Teradek Link containing 6 USB cellular modems feeding Internet to the Cube. Photo: Patrik Miesenberger

But they had a separate rig as well, this one containing a Teradek Cube connected to a first-generation Teradek Link, which is a bonded mobile hotspot that allows camera operators to stream over aggregated bandwidth back to headquarters. What makes Link unique is that it acts as a WiFi access point with cellular bandwidth, allowing operators to move freely within its range without adding significant weight to the camera.

What Else Is News?

Since Dagens Nyheter live streams their stories on location with their Bond backpacks, they have to take into consideration what their viewership wants to see. In this case, it usually revolves around politics, which has been a trending topic in Sweden recently.

“In last year’s Parliamentary election in Sweden, there were some turbulent times in the country’s politics,” explained Miesenberger. “Who was going to make it into the government? Is the country becoming more conservative? People wanted information, so we decided to focus on [political] events.”

“We’ve had 2 elections so far: the Swedish Parliament and the European Parliament. Both of them were very important for our country, so we tried to cover as many of these events as possible.” A majority of their live videos include either live political press conferences, debates and rallies.

The Best Way To Broadcast

Dagens Nyheter live news broadcast studio
Dagen Nyheter’s livestream production studio in the office. Photo: Patrik Miesenberger

The custom-built Teradek backpacks provided an effective yet low-cost solution to their livestream needs. Instead of having to rent expensive satellite trucks, extra personnel and enterprise-grade ENG equipment, Dagens Nyheter’s reporters could carry every broadcasting tool they need right on their shoulders, sending broadcast quality audio and video to the station and to their viewers.

“We’re very low on staff here at Dagens Nyheter, so it’s important for us to keep our costs low but still provide the quality that our readers and viewers want,” said Miesenberger. “I’m happy to say that we’re very Teradek-heavy at our office because they fit our needs perfectly.

With consumers slowly deviating from traditional forms of broadcast, many news outlets are turning towards new forms of content delivery that are able to reach a greater amount of viewers. For Dagens Nyheter, taking their news reports to Facebook Live has been a successful way for them to not only stay relevant with consumption trends but also deliver important, live information on a platform their viewers use every day.

With the redundant cellular connections that their Teradek Bond backpacks provide, Miesenberger’s reporters can broadcast with absolute confidence that their video will reach their studio and, ultimately, their audience on dn.se and Facebook.