Streaming is no longer a secondary platform for broadcasters; it’s a critical component of any station group’s growth strategy and, in the eyes of many experts, the future of linear television.

Since December 2022, CBS has been working on a complete weather graphics overhaul for all its owned and operated broadcast television, streaming and website platforms. But with limited time and resources, the network needed a way to streamline the production of new graphics for its stations.

The need for consistency

Before moving to Max Cloud, CBS meteorologists had no way to efficiently share content with their colleagues across the country. Sharing graphics was a very manual process that involved much building, uploading, downloading and sending several emails back and forth. If any changes were needed, the process started all over again, which required a lot of time.

And spare time is not a luxury meteorologists have available. Because very few television stations hire dedicated producers for weather graphics, most meteorologists are responsible for generating their own presentations. That means they’re building graphics and scenes between their regular responsibilities like on-air hits.

When content was shared, it was often modified by each individual station for their own purposes, preventing a unified brand look across CBS stations. These inconsistencies sometimes led to problems as elements created for streaming were used on-air but, because of formatting differences, would cover up other important information.

To address these issues, CBS had previously hired outside companies to create weather content. But even this approach sometimes proved inefficient. By the time graphics were sent back to the station, the people who originally requested them in a specific style had left the company and the product didn’t match their new approach.

CBS realized that it would be far more effective to give their meteorologists access to shared collaborative tools for efficiently creating and distributing graphics on their own.


Building a unified look across stations and channels

To streamline workflows, CBS tapped a small team of Max “super users” to create and deliver consistent weather graphics to the fourteen weather departments across the CBS group by collaborating in a shared workspace on Max Cloud.

The team is composed of two meteorologists – one in Denver and one in Minneapolis – who build graphics, icons, scenes and more using a shared cloud workspace. This unified platform allows the team to easily collaborate on new graphics and scenes while seeing what the other person is doing in near real-time.

When a new graphic is created, meteorologists across the CBS group can simply go to a dropdown menu within the Max user interface they use every day, grab the content and drag it into their on-air hit.

Max Cloud also allows CBS meteorologists to use shared cloud lockers that hold content for use across the group. This can include everyday graphics, icons and scenes as well as resources for backup purposes either during major weather events or to provide forecast content for markets without a local meteorologist.

This gives CBS News a consistent weather look across platforms, including streaming and connected TV.

For example, meteorologists in different cities may share weather responsibilities for another location that does not have a dedicated local newsroom. These users can open their unified workspace in Max Cloud, open that station’s most recent hit, see what the last meteorologist created and make whatever tweaks are needed for the new content.

Additionally, CBS can use Max Cloud to manage graphics behind the scenes. If there are specific items that all fourteen weather teams need to receive, the network can push those files directly to the stations and ensure they’re in the right file directory, something that couldn’t have been done before. Similarly, content can be remotely removed, fixed and replaced as needed without the local meteorologists doing anything.

When one station noticed an issue with an icon that displayed stars in front of the moon, they notified the meteorologist at another station who fixed the issue and pushed the new icons directly to their system. The new graphics automatically appeared without the station needing to make any additional edits.


More content. More collaboration. More fun.

Since implementation, Max Cloud has significantly accelerated the process of creating and sharing graphics across CBS. With a unified platform, content can now be created in a single place and shared anywhere with the confidence that it will adhere to CBS guidelines and reflect the same unified branding as other stations.

This process gives CBS stations quick access to content they might not have on hand. For example, when a hurricane near Florida is making national headlines, the CBS station in Denver may not normally have much tropical content on hand. Max Cloud allows for a meteorologist in Denver to quickly and easily pull the same robust topical content their CBS sister station in Miami is using to cover the storm. This enables CBS to tap into the full talent resources of the station group, improving content quality and workflow efficiency.

Skills are improving across the station group as well. CBS has found that many meteorologists are eager to grab shared resources and reverse engineer them to learn how they were made. When needed, meteorologists can help each other from remote locations, teaching and learning various ways to build scenes.

Max Cloud will also enable CBS to further increase content production for digital platforms by sharing computing resources. The next phase of integration at CBS will be linking the systems that produce everything from warning maps and radar loops to temperature outlooks and 7-day forecasts on station websites, apps and social channels. When disruptive weather bogs down workstations in one part of the country, tasks can be assigned to other idle CBS workstations across the nation, enabling content to be published faster when it matters most.

Finally, cloud collaboration is building a sense of camaraderie across the group that makes the process of creating and sharing weather graphics more fun. Job satisfaction has increased among CBS meteorologists who have built stronger working relationships – even friendships – through working together remotely to create engaging weather assets.

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About CBS

Founded in 1927, CBS Broadcasting Inc. is an American commercial broadcast television and radio network, serving as the flagship property of the CBS Entertainment Group division of Paramount Global.

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