Switching fault crashes ABC broadcasts

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Switching fault crashes ABC broadcasts

MediaHub implementation blamed for ‘meltdown’.

National broadcaster ABC has blamed a computer outage for bringing transmissions to a standstill for more than 20 minutes last month.

Media Watch yesterday identified ABC's automated broadcasting system, MediaHub, as the cause of freeze frames that appeared in all but two states on October 19.

MediaHub distributes ABC content using 200 broadcast and media servers, 100 presentation mixers and automation units, and media management software Morpheus.

The system, introduced on June 30, 2010, was expected to speed ABC's content delivery and cut staffing costs. But Media Watch reported that an insider had seen "five to 10 years of mistakes in just five months" since the system went live.

The program heard that an "IT core switching fault occurred" at 4pm on October 19, resulting in disruptions to ABC 1, ABC 2 and ABC 3 channels.

According to Media Watch, MediaHub's main computers crashed and "the back-up failed to kick in."

"This was catastrophic because MediaHub is essentially a computer system, which switches programs with a giant router - which also went down," host Paul Barry said.

ABC Chief Operating Officer David Pendleton said the ABC business continuity plan was activated at 4.04pm, and the services were progressively restored from 4.15pm.

Pendleton said ABC was "reviewing its business continuity plan and will implement changes based on its findings".

An ABC spokesman declined to provide further details about the issue.

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