Article originally published in the IABM Journal (3rd Quarter 2022)
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The pandemic has massively accelerated the demand for streaming video services, with audiences spending more time at home. In France for example, the SVOD market grew by 43% in 2020 (source: CNC-GFK), and the trend is quite similar in most countries.
As a consequence, the broadcast and entertainment industry had to face a new challenge: produce more content, with fewer resources available on site, and adapt this content to an international audience. This situation has therefore highlighted the need for tools that allow media professionals to work together, in an efficient way, to continue preparing and exchanging content with partners, quickly delivering programmes to audiences, etc
What if the collaboration in the cloud between production, post-production houses, broadcasters, etc was the essential solution to manage media content quickly and efficiently, regardless of location? Without forgetting the ecological issues, which are of prime importance today!
DIGITAL TOOLS BUT STILL MANUAL LOOP!
The days when digital tools and the cloud were seen as a scarecrow in the broadcast world are over. The fear of teams being dispossessed of their skills by the cloud seems to be fading, and the advantages and limitations of these new tools are now quite clearly established.
We observe that every company is now using the cloud but as a by-product of their own solution, and not really for full collaboration.
The problem is therefore no longer really in the use of the cloud, but in the ability of the various players involved in the creation and validation of content to work together. Content exchanges for the revision and validation stages are still manual, even with the use of digital tools: multiple emails, sending via file transfer platforms, use of collaborative cloud tools for monitoring revisions (mainly office automation), etc.
All these tools, as efficient as they may seem, are used without any link between them, which leads to manual steps. These steps are still complex to orchestrate, time-consuming, a source of errors, problematic in terms of content security, etc.
The notion of a single, secure and easy-to-use cloud hub, really designed for broadcast processes, is becoming a real issue, in order to work collaboratively on content and deliver it to playout within the given timeframe.
USE CASE: CONTENT PREPARATION FROM PRODUCTION TO DISTRIBUTION
Let's take a simple use case: the preparation of multilingual content intended for broadcasting on a linear or VOD platform.
In simple terms, the process usually involves several actors, from different companies:
• the rights-holder delivers the program to the broadcaster who bought it;
• the broadcaster checks that the program meets the required technical standards and specifications, through a Quality Control step;
• the broadcaster then entrusts the program to a production house or a lab, in order to add subtitles;
• the lab calls on its translators, mostly freelancers, working remotely, each in a different part of the world, possibly in different time zones, and working at their own pace.
All these steps are mainly done on business-specific tools; content is exchanged a bunch of times through unique tools to review, comment, modify, review again, etc, until the final validation.
The lab must ensure that the project runs smoothly, that the timing is respected and that the quality of the work delivered is good, before supplying the final media to the broadcaster.
On this type of project, there are several pitfalls: how to get a global vision of the work of the freelancers? How to make actors from different companies work together, without wasting time? How to manage multiple versions of files without manual errors? How to keep the budget in check and guarantee deadlines? Finally, the question of the ecological cost of all this trade must be asked, at a time when eco-production is a real issue.
To address these pitfalls, Videomenthe delivers a fluid, collaborative workflow via a SaaS platform dedicated to the management of media workflows. The idea is to offer all the necessary tools on a unique platform, which all partners can work on, with specific user interfaces. No need to use multiple different softwares - all is provided in a secured cloud interface, answering the need and specifications of the broadcast industry (and also now the corporate one). The content provider and all the partners involved in the global workflow can monitor and view the different steps through which the content is processed.
The workflow is entirely done on the platform:
• Basically, the broadcaster uploads the file, launches a technical QC step according to its desired test-plan - a step which is managed by the technical team
• Then the file goes through an editorial check, managed this time by the editorial team
• If both technical and editorial checks are ok, the file goes to the transcription & translation steps, managed by the post-prod house / lab
• The translators have access to the file with restricted rights, according to the language they have to manage
• Once they reviewed, corrected and validated the file, the post-production house can validate or ask for additional review if needed
• Once the workflow is finished, the broadcaster can download the ready-to-broadcast content
The benefits of such a platform are many:
- A unique platform, to avoid the back and forth of content on external tools
- Simplified, secure and faster content preparation
- A reduction of the ecological footprint of these multiple exchanges (digital does not mean no ecological footprint!)
- A better ROI
The market continues to evolve and adapt, embracing cloud technologies as an opportunity to ease the way we work, from anywhere, with anyone, whatever the language.
But today, the answer is far away from being just the cloud: multiplying the digital tools is definitely not the ultimate answer. The key is now in the way we work together on these tools, to increase efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness with a “green” attitude.
At Videomenthe, we’ve been working on this collaboration axis for more than six years, by offering a cloud-based collaborative media workflow platform, Eolementhe©.
Eolementhe© is true to our DNA: fluidity of workflows, ease of use and collaborative work. Our solution allows a real collaboration between the various stakeholders, capitalizing on the possibilities offered by the cloud tools.