Applied Technology: Enhancing Engagement for OCS

Orange Cinema Series (OCS) is a group of subscription TV channels operated by Orange S.A. in France specialising in feature films and popular TV series. To meet the changing demands of their viewers and to improve staff efficiency, OCS implemented a new media asset management solution with Cantemo Portal.

The television landscape has changed dramatically over recent years, and is still evolving at an astounding pace, with consumers demanding more and more high profile content, available across a multitude of devices, for viewing when they choose. Of course, with more and more devices constantly being launched, broadcasters are having to keep up to ensure their content is viewable on as many devices as possible. At the same time, this new landscape is opening up a multitude of opportunities to those broadcasters, such as OCS, who are able to embrace them, giving consumers a compelling offering.

Social media is also playing an increasingly important role in television habits and consumption, with many consumers watching a particular series, film, or channel because of a recommendation from a friend or from a post in their newsfeed.

The OCS Vision

The vision of OCS has always been to offer consumers across France access to popular TV series and feature films on multiple devices. By delivering that content both on-air and on-demand as catch-up, OCS is tapping into that increasing demand, giving its viewers access to the content they want when and where they want it.

OCS also places a great deal of importance on engaging with consumers via social networks, helping to drive viewers and subscribers to its range of channels.

Orange Cinema Series (OCS) is a group of subscription TV channels operated by Orange S.A. in France. The network specializes in feature films and popular TV series

Orange Cinema Series (OCS) is a group of subscription TV channels operated by Orange S.A. in France. The network specializes in feature films and popular TV series

The Challenges

Whilst this new television landscape offers broadcasters a number of opportunities to delivering compelling services and engage with its audiences, it also creates a number of technical challenges.

One of the biggest challenges faced by OCS was the sheer volume of graphics and video assets in its catalogue. This is of course exasperated by the need for varying file formats to ensure seamless delivery across multiple platforms. And once aired, the films and TV series are made available on-demand, therefore need to be accessible by subscribers anytime, rather than simply archived.

With such a vast catalogue, storage was also becoming a concern for OCS, ensuring that the media assets could be stored securely. Naturally, security is a prime concern for any broadcaster, particularly when airing premium content.

OCS is based across several sites, therefore it was also looking to make remote access to assets much simpler in order to become more efficient. As well as different sites, it is also different departments needing access to both video files and its growing image library. In its mission to engage with consumers, the marketing team in particular needed instant access to the catalogue of assets to include them in its activities, including social engagement.

OCS needed a new content workflow that was simple to deploy, easy to learn and future proof.

OCS needed a new content workflow that was simple to deploy, easy to learn and future proof.

Evaluating the options

In order to overcome these various challenges, OCS was looking for a flexible, easy to use solution, with a web-based client to enable access across several sites. It was also looking for secure storage for its vast catalogue of both media assets and images.

At the same time, it was clear to OCS that the transition had to be quick, seamless, and secure, as it would be unacceptable to interrupt service during the process.

OCS approached strategic and operational consulting practice, IVORY, which evaluated the current processes and future demands and needs of OCS to make recommendations. IVORY proposed the integration of Cantemo Portal to manage the video and image assets, and MatrixStore from Object Matrix for safe and secure storage.

Implementation

The integration of both solutions was awarded to CTM Solutions and Lapins Bleus Conseil. The companies have extensive experience conducting projects for both Cantemo and Object Matrix, and they worked together to ensure the complete software solution was installed, customized for site-specific needs and correctly configured before switching the OCS systems to the new solution. This was crucial to ensuring that OCS was able to continue delivering an uninterrupted service to both its distributors and subscribers.

One of the biggest priorities for OCS was a seamless transition to the new solution, ensuring that the look and feel, and many of the tasks and processes remained familiar to the numerous staff members accessing it.

Therefore, Lapins Bleus Conseil implemented a number of customized features, specific to OCS, including incorporating a corporate theme following Orange branding guidelines, and creating a customized internal task management feature. Lapins Bleus Conseil created a fully customised push to air workflow for distribution to both web and playout, which was in line with existing internal workflows.

Parham Azimi, CEO, Cantemo.

Parham Azimi, CEO, Cantemo.

Coming to Grips with Storage

As mentioned, the sheer size of the OCS video and image library was one of the biggest challenges for the broadcaster. Therefore, the solution to this was two-fold. Firstly, it was clear that OCS needed bigger storage capability, which was more secure and easier to operate than was already in place, as well as being fully future-proof. By introducing the disk-based repository from Object Matrix, MatrixStore, OCS is able to store and archive that vast library. It has been integrated with Cantemo Portal, with an automated dual-copy archival process, meaning that OCS has been able to apply a number of rules determining when and how an asset should be moved to MatrixStore.

Any items ingested into Cantemo Portal are automatically duplicated on the MatrixStore cluster, ensuring OCS has a redundant copy of all its assets and therefore extra assurance that those valuable assets won’t get lost. Security settings also mean that only those with correct authorisation can access assets from within MatrixStore. By automating that process, it has also made the storage process much more efficient.

Managing the Assets

The second element of getting to grips with such a large catalogue is that finding the videos or images required can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. That is where Cantemo Portal comes in. CTM Solutions and Lapins Blues Conseil worked with OCS to determine the necessary metadata structure, which would need to be applied, as well as defining automated rules and access permissions according to the broadcaster’s specifications.

By applying detailed and intelligent metadata, according to a number of determined criteria, such as categories and status of each asset, the search process is now simple, enabling the different teams within OCS to easily and efficiently find the content they are looking for when and where it is needed.

The Cantemo Portal also enables OCS to modify that metadata structure on an ongoing basis, something, which is particularly important due to the large volume of additional content still being created and added to the repertoire every year.

Cantemo Portal proved to be key for OCS as it moved to implement a facility wide MAM workflow across all of its multiple facilities.

Cantemo Portal proved to be key for OCS as it moved to implement a facility wide MAM workflow across all of its multiple facilities.

Usability

The integrated workflow ensures that the system is user friendly, an important requirement for OCS and its team. The interface is available via a standard HTML5 web browser, which means that employees from any of the OCS sites can access the Portal at any time. At the same time, stringent security settings ensure that only those authorised personnel have access.

Cantemo Portal has also been designed for ease of use, something, which was particularly important, as it is not just the technical teams who need access to the assets. It was also crucial, as OCS wanted to ensure a seamless transition. Therefore, as mentioned above, the user interface needed to be intuitive and in line with the corporate branding so that the team could simply switch over to the new software and related processes, without needing to spend a great deal of time relearning how to navigate around the software. As this is one of the extensibility options in the Cantemo Portal product, the Lapin Blues Conseil team were able to compile a customized OCS theme in line with the OCS and Orange branding guidelines, including look and feel, colours, and fonts.

At the same time however, the story in the backend is very much more complicated. The system is able to integrate and automate diverse workflows without the users’ knowledge. For instance, when a user exports an asset to a specific location, such as the central play–out, this asset will first be transcoded to the correct file format and then a quality control check is performed automatically to see if the file is correct based on specific criteria.

The Cantemo Rules Engine App keeps assets divided between productions and automatically archives or exports assets to MatrixStore, for example.

Engaging Subscribers

As mentioned, OCS places a great deal of emphasis on engaging its subscribers, and other potential subscribers. With an increasingly diverse content distribution environment, whereby US +24 and series episodes that reach France the day after US broadcast, it is more and more important for OCS to react fast and engage its subscriber base as early as possible. Giving the marketing team instant access to the catalogue of videos and images in an easy-to-use interface was an important part of this implementation.

The marketing team is able to work with stills in a new way thanks to the new setup: processing images, as well as creating new ones from video files in the system. Also, Cantemo Portal enables instant publishing direct to multiple social networks from within the software. Naturally this has made the process much more efficient, meaning that OCS can engage those subscribers instantly, and across several networks.

A Seamless Process

Cantemo Portal has enabled OCS to work faster and engage subscribers early. The entire workflow has been streamlined and automated, from ingestion from distribution, to storage. Ultimately, this means that OCS can concentrate on delivering premium content at the right time and engaging its subscribers as actively as possible.

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