Fans of E4’s Glee will get to see the high-school comedy drama in its normal Monday night slot next week despite the volcanic ash cloud preventing the Fox Network from air-freighting the master tapes to Channel 4.

The US broadcaster usually sends its Tuesday night episode to the UK by air ahead of E4 showing it on a Monday evening at 9pm.

However, with much of European airspace closed, the two broadcasters have had to come up with a new method of delivering the show to avoid rescheduling or postponement.

Secure file-based technology will now be used to send a digital version to C4’s playout provider Red Bee Media.

Stephen Stewart, the account director for Channel 4 at Red Bee Media, said that the alternative method would work out quicker than using airfreight and shouldn’t cost either Red Bee or C4 any extra money.

“This move guarantees that C4 doesn’t have to re-schedule the show,” he said. “It will be quicker and certainly save on air freight costs. The quality is now very good so there’s no technical reason why they cannot do this all the time.”

Red Bee said that it would take just half an hour to send the programme digitally from the US.

The impact of the volcanic ash cloud has also prompted more broadcasters to enquire about Red Bee Media’s file-agnostic send and receive service ‘Media Gateway’, Stewart said.

Glee workflow details

  • Once content has been received at Red Bee’s Broadcast Centre in White City, it will go via a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system to a tapeless workflow and Avid editing systems.
  • Browser versions are then created for desktop approval and full QC checks are done before and after any compliance or pre-watershed editing.
  • The programme is then added to a delivery server for playout.