Managing the pieces

Christophe Carniel looks at how to manage content in multiplatforms.
NETIA's Christophe Carniel
NETIA's Christophe Carniel

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Christophe Carniel looks at how to manage content in an age of multiple distribution platforms

The shift from tape-based media operations to digital file-based workflows has opened many new doors for content producers and owners. More specifically, this move has facilitated a dramatic rise in the number of distribution platforms and outlets through which such companies can deliver and monetise their digital assets. Key players across the media industry are extending their businesses to include new distribution platforms, striving to meet consumers’ demand for access to content anywhere and anytime, and to provide these services under a single brand.

The rise of this multiplatform market, in which the traditional broadcast and telecommunications sectors are converging, has put new demands on content producers and providers.

Vital to the success of operators’ emerging multiplatform models is the ability to maintain efficient management of media even as their production and delivery processes target an expanding array of platforms and devices. Rather than implement multiple parallel processes for preparing and delivering content, operators now must establish a single streamlined content management model supporting multiplatform publishing.

Implementing an effective CMS

Because the CMS typically supports the entire workflow, from ingest to delivery, it must satisfy several fundamental requirements, all having to do – in one sense or another – with compatibility.

The first of these requirements is that the CMS must be compatible with the other systems, such as servers, archives, and edit systems. High interoperability and ease of integration are key to effective communications between the CMS and other critical systems.

Often serving as an umbrella application that manages many devices and processes across the workflow, the CMS must be able to exchange with those devices the messages that, in turn, facilitate tasks such as ingest, indexing, broadcast/publishing, and archiving of content.

NETIA CMS solutions rely on a Web Services Architecture, which uses HTTP with an XML serialisation, along with other standards, to communicate with third-party systems and guide their operation. Additional “connectors” help to standardise this communication so that bidirectional interactions between the CMS and other systems are regular and predictable. To support multiplatform delivery now and in the future, the CMS also must be compatible with a broad range of content formats. In addition to handling the wide array of formats now used to provide content to all variety of devices, the CMS must be versatile enough to offer future-proof operation.

In other words, it must incorporate a mechanism by which the operator can add support for new formats as they emerge. Also important to the efficiency of operations is the ability of the CMS to manage different formats and versions created from each video master over its lifetime, as well as the metadata related to all these versions, and to simplify this complex collection of media and information for users.

Compatibility of its interface with the work of each staff member is another critical element of the CMS. The system GUI and ergonomics must be sufficiently flexible to provide the right combination of functionality and media access for each user and role within the business. While the media management functions of the CMS itself are very sophisticated, the interface by which users access and manipulate media must be intuitive and in line with the task at hand. By providing tools and features in a modular manner, the CMS can be configured to offer each user a simple screen optimised for his or her role within the workflow.

Building a foundation

Working with growing volumes of media in multiple versions, as well as ever-increasing numbers of distribution targets, content producers and providers originating from both the broadcast and telecom industries have recast their operations in order to offer content across multiple outlets under a single brand.

Leveraging a CMS to minimize the overhead required to establish multiplatform delivery, these businesses are able to take advantage of new revenue-generation opportunities now while also building a foundation for additional growth going forward. With the growth of their digital archives under the management of a CMS, media companies can focus less on the technical demands of content delivery and more on creating or acquiring the content their viewers demand.
Christophe Carniel is president and CEO of NETIA.

Solutions at work

NETIA has been refining its portfolio of media asset management (MAM) products to address the challenges outlined above. In doing so, the company has developed new audio and video content life cycle management and preparation solutions that enable multiplatform delivery and help users control growing volumes of on-demand audio and video content in multiple formats.

The company’s new ingest-to-delivery content management solutions help media players in their quest to consolidate and then manage and monitor production and delivery of content for television, the Internet, telephony, and mobile platforms.

Orange, the key brand of telecommunications operator France Telecom, has employed a content management system (CMS) from NETIA to unify and facilitate its storage, management, and distribution of content to any service provider or multimedia platform. Built on an existing NETIA Media asset management solution, the CMS ingests content from sources such as post houses, production facilities, and traditional TV and radio broadcasters.

The system interfaces with ingest, production, automation, and storage applications to streamline automatic take-on of high-resolution media and associated metadata. The software also enables the addition of supplemental metadata, in turn enabling faster searches and better access to stored content. Tools within the CMS facilitate preparation of content for delivery by performing metadata extraction, transcoding, quality checking, image processing and subtitle management.

In managing the entire workflow for Orange, the CMS leverages the NETIA Workflow Engine to organise media management processes, harmonise exchanges between different applications, handle prioritisation across the system, and automate content distribution processes. To streamline content delivery itself, the CMS provides tools for content packaging, metadata tagging, and rights management, with workflow-supervision guiding these processes.

Configurable rules govern the delivery of content to specific service providers and numerous service platforms ranging from VOD to set-top box, catch-up TV, and Internet news portals.

NETIA also has provided a MAM to global media brand L’Equipe Group, which comprises the L’Equipe TV sports news channel, the www.lequipe.fr Web site, the RTL-L’Equipe digital radio station, and the print magazine and newspaper also dubbed L’Equipe. The French media group uses the NETIA solution to maintain visibility of its brand, which reaches 18 million people every month across all L’Equipe outlets. Relying on the NETIA software, the company’s Digital Media Factory (DMF) creates and delivers video on virtually every platform, including TV, Web, mobile, and VoD.

L’Equipe has used its NETIA MAM to digitise media archives dating back to the 1920s and to bring them into the system along with newer assets. As a result, the L’Equipe newsroom, Web site, broadcast, and print staff all have access to the group’s complete store of content at the desktop.

The MAM at L’Equipe enables searches and low-resolution browsing from any Web-based interface. Its partial-restore function allows editors to access and restore just the high-resolution media they need quickly, and the system’s automation of speech-to-text processing, transcoding, quality control, FTP delivery, and other critical functions helps improve turnaround times while enhancing accuracy in media handling.

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