Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bring It On!

The skies over Vancouver are about to get a bit more crowded. That's right Chopper 9 will be getting some company when flying over breaking news stories or special events.
We learned Thursday that our rivals are getting into the ENG helicopter game. Canwest Global inked a deal with Global Traffic Networks to provide air cover in the on going battle for TV sets. Our competitor will be in the sky shortly with an R44 Raven ENG package.

The announcement came as really no surprise. What is interesting is Canwest plans to launch air operations in 5 markets with this deal. Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Hamilton are the Global stations to which air operations will be a new thing. Toronto already has an ENG copter, but is either adding a second machine or the flight arangement for the current machine ( an A- Starr) has expired and the capability is being replace with an R-44. In any event, the news wars just got more interesting.

Before this announcement, there were only 4 dedicated ENG helicopters in the whole country. There were 2 in Toronto CTV( CFTO), and Global, one in Montreal TVA and one in Vancouver CTV.

I am looking forward to the competition. Competition always make teams, in this case news gathering teams, play better, play smarter. Bring it on.


Widescreen said...

We have always only had 3 regular and one partime chopper. They are not dedicated to news but spend the bulk of their time doing just that.

We have only a fluid mount and lens, no fancy stuff and until recently was considered okay. Now one of the networks has added a Flir lens and the pics are remarkable compared to what we had.

Problem now for them is they are to heavy and cannot venture far over water or distance without stopping to refuel.

Now there is pressure on the rest of us to get one!

Murman said...

No question Widescreen, weight is an issue. But the FLIR pics are so smooth. You just need to know and plan for more frequent fuel stops.

The machines that are being introduced by our competitor are also under contract to provide traffic reports to a local radio network. It will be interesting to see when there is a conflict with a traffic jam vs an actual breaking news story, which media will have the hammer and what will take priority.
Our machine has News Gathering mission primarly.
The addition of another machine certainly will increase the stakes here.

And oh yes Congrats on your 25th,,, mine was in June,,,, I feel so old,,,,