The Media Supply Chain can be defined as the people, organizations, audio and video assets, data, infrastructure, and processes involved in preparing content for distribution to media consumers.
The essence of media supply chain optimization is that it enables organizations to be more agile and efficient, with greater intelligence in making business decisions. But what is the media supply chain itself? How is it integral to your business? And how do you get started with optimization?
With a better understanding of the “what, how, and why,” you’ll see how powerful media supply chain optimization can be in enabling growth and profitability for your media organization.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What a media supply chain is
- How the modern media supply chain works
- Why media supply chain management benefits your media operations
- How media supply chain optimization is transformational for your business
- How to leverage the media supply chain ecosystem
- Where to begin supply chain optimization for your organization
- What to expect once you’ve optimized your media supply chain
The Media Supply Chain
When most people think of supply chain, they imagine the standard manufacturing supply chains that make cars, paper towels, and so on. The production line turns raw materials into finished goods. Input and output are fixed, and so is the factory infrastructure. No matter how demand fluctuates, the factory has finite capacity and can only deliver so many goods.
The media supply chain is the process used to prepare your content for distribution. Decades ago, the media supply chain was nearly as tied to the physical as auto manufacturing and similar industries. Content was created using film reels and tapes. It was a physical medium, and the tools and infrastructure used to prepare media assets involved physical manipulation of those raw resources.
In the past 10-15 years, the industry largely moved from film and tape to digital formats and file-based workflows, using bespoke software systems and specialized “black boxes” to produce content for traditional television or cinema and theaters. This type of on-premises media supply chain typically comprises multiple systems from different vendors, often delicately tied together with custom software.
By nature, these systems are brittle, which means they are best left alone once you get them up and running. The problem is, change is inevitable in today’s digital media marketplace, and an on-premises conglomerative system can adapt only in a limited manner.
Having made the move to file-based operations, media companies often deployed massive amounts of data center infrastructure to perform the work of preparing media for delivery. But as delivery requirements exploded and options for making content available to international markets and on new direct-to-consumer services, that on-premises infrastructure — as large and heavily invested as it is — fails to accommodate market changes.
For these reasons, media organizations began moving to a more modern approach, one that embraces cloud technology to create a much more flexible, scalable, and responsive infrastructure that will empower them to meet the demands of today’s media market.
What Is The Modern Media Supply Chain?
So, how is a modern media supply chain different than a conventional supply chain?
A modern media supply chain differs in one critical way: It moves the tools of production from fixed, on-premises infrastructure (the factory floor) to an agile cloud-based environment. This means your organization can scale both infrastructure and production as demand fluctuates. In short, when you move your media supply chain to the cloud, you gain game-changing fluidity and flexibility.
Media supply chain management solutions allow you to leverage the versatility and scalability of the cloud to resize and retool your media factory. You can adapt quickly to address changing technical and business requirements.
Some media management solutions simply track what happens to an asset as applications perform tasks needed to prepare that asset for distribution or archive. They don’t orchestrate the activities, nor do they deploy the underlying infrastructure needed to support the applications or the workload demands. And infrastructure is the engine that drives your media supply chain, with intelligent metadata management powering decisions about what to do and with what resources.
With intelligent management of cloud-based infrastructure, you can adapt on the fly to provide just the right tools at just the right scale for the work at hand.
What Is Media Supply Chain Optimization?
Spikes in demand are common in today’s media marketplace. With an optimized media supply chain, you can run a massive content “factory” when demand is high. You can scale back when demand recedes. But the benefits of optimization go well beyond scalability ….
A sophisticated media supply chain management platform allows you to connect processes across the content life cycle and to create, collect, analyze, and use metadata from one process to the next. This metadata guides downstream processes and helps optimize the supply chain activities for maximum efficiency. The supply chain platform also collects an immense amount of operational metrics about what and how the work was done. When these metrics are presented in a user-friendly manner, you not only gain greater insight into your operations, but also capture the intelligence you need to make better decisions and drive further optimization going forward. You know exactly how long it will take and how much it will cost to create every new asset.
Optimize your media supply chain, and you also eliminate costly waste. No more duplicate processes across the workflow, software licenses going unused, or machines standing still and taking up space. At any given time, your resource utilization is precisely matched to your current demand profile.
You can even extend optimization across the interconnected group of suppliers, partners, and distributors you work with to bring content through its life cycle. By optimizing handoffs and media management across this chain, you reduce friction and improve efficiency in getting content into the form needed for distribution deals. Realizing massive time and cost savings, everyone wins!
What Is The Media Supply Chain Ecosystem?
When you’re trying to build an agile business that can respond to each new opportunity, you need operations that can quickly adapt to the unique requirements of those opportunities. If your teams are struggling with rigid workflows made up of existing tools that can’t do the job at hand, you’re missing out on the transformative benefits of a cloud-native media supply chain.
When a new project lands at your doorstep, your supply chain should be optimized and able to employ the right tools for that job, not just rely on a fixed collection of media applications because that’s what you have installed. With applications available on demand in a cloud-based approach, you enjoy benefits including:
- Instant access to a broad ecosystem of tools
- Ability to change, replace, and scale any tool as needed
- Consumption pricing, paying only for what you use
A comprehensive ecosystem of best-in-class tools for file transformation, QC, ML, security, and content delivery allows you to match capabilities and pricing to the requirements of any task or workflow. Choose the tools you need for the job, spin them up or down as needed, paying only for what you use. With on-demand application services (or microservices), your supply chain can now be custom-fit to every job.
What Can I Expect From Media Supply Chain Optimization?
The SDVI Rally media supply chain optimization platform manages every step required to move content from ingest to distribution and deploys all the applications and infrastructure needed for those steps to create a dynamic, responsive media supply chain. The platform also captures data across your operations and uses it not just to boost efficiency, but also to pin down actual costs, improve accountability, and understand the real costs and profits of prospective deals.
Geoff Stedman, Chief Marketing Officer, SDVI.
When you use the Rally platform to optimize part or all of your media supply chain, you’re able to make decisions more quickly, respond to opportunity with agility, adapt to fluctuating demand faster, execute more efficiently, reduce time to revenue, and provide exceptional consumer experiences.
You can even realize benefits across the broader media supply chain, including your content producers, media companies, and delivery partners. In building a trusted content community, you reduce friction, eliminate duplicate work, and simplify the handoff of content and metadata. You and your partners, both upstream and downstream, can automate the movement of content and the registration of data so that an exchange that once took months can instead be completed within days, all within the cloud.
By employing a modern media supply chain, migrating workflows to the cloud, and then optimizing those workflows, your organization can achieve the agility, efficiency, and intelligence essential to seizing opportunity in today’s media landscape.