Content Management Moves to the Cloud: TMD has a View

Along with almost every other part of the production to delivery chain content management solutions are being reworked in the cloud. What does this mean for broadcasters or large content owners and is such a solution suitable for every client for every occasion? MAM vendors provide their views, here from Trans Media Dynamics (TMD) Chief Marketing Officer, Paul Wilkins.

The Broadcast Bridge:  More and more aspects of production and delivery are being moved to cloud networks. Why would you advocate content management to follow suit?

TMD:  It is precisely because so many other processes are moving to the cloud that content management should start migrating too. If a producer is delivering programmes to a broadcaster via a cloud service, then it makes sense for transcoding, quality control, proxy creation and other asset management functionality to be performed in the cloud as the content passes. If the metadata created and used for cloud processing also stays in the cloud, it is readily available to all users at all times.

The Broadcast Bridge:  Are there any downsides to cloud content management or reasons why this may not necessarily work in every case?

TMD:  The only real concern is not the cloud itself but the challenges of moving big files up and down. Connectivity needs to catch up. In particular, costs for downloads can quickly mount up. It is really important to have a robust means of handling proxies so that downloads of full resolution media are minimised. Some users may have security concerns, but in truth a business like Amazon S3 will have the best security teams available. A single significant loss of privacy issue and a cloud firm would be out of business. It is rumoured that the CIA uses AWS – it is probably good enough for us!

The Broadcast Bridge:  With multiple delivery channels and devices, programme rights are increasingly complicated. If you don’t have the rights, or if you don’t know what rights you have, then you don’t have the content. What is the media management solution?

TMD:  Intellectual property rights are hugely complicated and challenging, but ultimately they can be expressed as metadata. Some of that metadata will only ever be seen by the lawyers and IP specialists, but some has to be fully embedded in the asset management platform because it will be vital to ensure reliable operation of automated workflows. Multiple delivery channels and formats can only be served by automated, software-defined workflows: there are just too many options and processes to feed manually. And those automated workflows have to know which content can be offered on what platforms, when the start and end dates are, and what encryption and monetisation rules are applied to it. Getting this right calls for experience and expertise in designing the metadata schema, and ensuring that the schema is extensible when you need it. Inevitably there will be changes in requirement during the life of the system. Being able to add fields yourself, without going back to the vendor, is vital.

The Broadcast Bridge:  Outside of rights: how can an asset management platform help content owners' leverage metadata to maximise revenue or open new monetization opportunities?

TMD:  Asset management is a layer in a complex redefinition of the content business. It has to support rich, software-defined workflows, and it has to provide reporting into the enterprise management system. Today’s sophisticated asset management platform should not only be controlling most of the workflows in the management and delivery part of the enterprise, it should be tracking equipment and staff utilisation, telling the corporate ERP reporting precisely how much each process costs. Only then can an enterprise make realistic business judgements about what services to offer, how to monetise them, and how to achieve strong and reliable revenue streams.

Paul Wilkins, Chief Marketing Officer - Trans Media Dynamics (TMD).

Paul Wilkins, Chief Marketing Officer - Trans Media Dynamics (TMD).

The Broadcast Bridge:  What is the best way of assessing return on investment in a MAM solution?

TMD:  Revenues can only be maximised through automated workflows, together with the ability to spot new monetisation opportunities and move into them quickly. Software-defined automated workflows and enterprise-level decision-making can only be achieved through the use of extensive and accurate metadata. Asset management is the logical repository of all metadata about content. So the right choice of asset management platform is one which gives you an extensive and readily defined metadata schema, and incorporates workflow management tools including the ability to design, test and run rich and sophisticated new workflows.

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