Field Report: A+E Networks Moves Content to Market Faster with Aframe

A+E Networks needed a centralized delivery solution for the content produced outside the US, they selected a cloud-based Aframe asset management solution.

A+E Networks’ award-winning programming reaches more than 330+ million subscribers in 200 countries.The content is distributed through its portfolio of channel brands, HISTORY, A&E, Lifetime, H2, Crime + Investigation and FYI, and is licensed to third party broadcast television clients.

Upon reviewing their workflow, the network decided to they needed to improve visibility and efficiency, while providing more timely reviews of the content. One challenge was providing feedback on technical issues or content notes on programs produced by international partners. Previously, the production team relied on email and stills grabbed from the video files.

Claudia Cummings, A+E Networks Director of International Production, explained, “Content was delivered to us by our international partners using multiple methods including FTP, hard drive, and even tape. We were looking to consolidate delivery and create a more streamlined process that would give us access to the content more quickly.”

Building a solution

Together with Aframe, the network developed a new workflow, conducted a highly successful pilot program, and brought seven regions on board: Italy, Southeast Asia, Latin America, the UK, Germany, Spain/Portugal, and Australia, along with two post facility partners, Deluxe and Prime. The solution workflow is described below.

  • When a region is in production on a show or series, the user (which may be an A+E Networks’ channel partner or a local production company) navigates to Aframe with a simple browser to upload video and audio files.
  • Aframe creates timecode-accurate H.264 proxies of the source files.
  • Both the network and their channel partners can access and review the files immediately, and, if necessary, annotate the proxies with their change requests.
  • Editorial/production makes the required changes, and uploads the new files to storage.
  • QC and standards conversion is handled within the system when necessary.
  • Files are then downloaded to network servers and then archived to make room for additional content.

Cummings cited a scenario in which the new workflow saved significant time and effort. “We saw that a file we’d been expecting from South Africa had been uploaded into the Aframe cloud platform. Our associate producer played back the proxy and heard echoing, and she realized the tracks were just slightly out of sync. Through the system, she was able to let the show's producer know immediately that they needed to re-sync the tracks. The producer uploaded a new file the next morning. Under our previous system, that process could have taken a week or more.”

As is the case with any workflow change, A+E Networks was wary of the impact that implementing a new delivery system with partners from around the world might have on already-tight deadlines. “There was really no learning curve. Everyone, from our channel partners to vendors to production companies, was able to access Aframe quickly and use it easily,” Cummings said.

Aframe is also used as a platform for A+E Networks’ partners to provide feedback on international co-productions. It can also serve as a delivery system, allowing the network to share assets, such as graphics, music stems, and supplemental materials that their partners can use in the localization process. Leveraging the cloud has helped A+E Networks address issues of visibility and timeliness in its global production workflow.

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