​Content Management Moves to the Cloud – Dalet 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? Dalet’s director of marketing, Ben Davenport shares his view and begins by outlining how he thinks the industry should view what MAM actually means.

The Broadcast Bridge: Is there a problem do you think in the industry's or clients understanding of what MAM is? There are many phrases to describe a potential content management solution including media management, media logistics, production asset management, workflow orchestration. How should this area be defined so it makes common sense?

Dalet: MAM is many. The CTO of an international news organization won’t have the same definition for MAM compared to an engineer at a post-production house, a multimedia specialist in a sports team or a librarian at a governmental or international institution.

Regardless, for many users the acronym "MAM" has come to represent something big, complex and expensive. Rather than address this directly, some vendors have simply started using other words or phrases to refer to what are, in fact, the same type of solutions. In reality, a good MAM enables greater efficiency and change management across a broad range of different broadcast operations, from media acquisition to manipulation, preparation, distribution and archiving. It is highly modular, scalable and extensible and, when scoped and deployed well, can bring significant benefit such as a unified editorial and production approach, full resource optimization through federation, orchestration and integration, as well as increased staff empowerment with new levels of collaboration and mobility, and advanced automation and reporting.

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?

Dalet: It is less of a question of "why" and more of a "when" or "in which circumstances." As media organizations and their content repositories grow, their content management systems must evolve with them, and the cloud facilitates just that. Any time you need to rapidly and/or dynamically scale your infrastructure up or down, cloud will always make sense. The same goes if you are trying out a new service, running a proof of concept, or even setting up a test system that you'd like to be able to switch off.

More than acting as a safe testing grounds for the latest technology on everyone’s tongues, the cloud untethers media organizations from the constrictions of traditional operations. It helps eliminate geographical barriers while enabling ubiquitous access to resources and full mobility for your staff. With cloud-enabled, media management workflows, users can contribute, document, edit, review and upload/download content from virtually anywhere in the world.

So in the end, whether you’re aiming to create a true, agile “2.0” organization or looking to expand business in a new geo area without a big infrastructure investment, cloud technology allows for unified media operations involving geographically dispersed teams, freelancers and ultra-mobile collaborators.

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

Dalet: One area of concern for some organizations may be that if you have a very consistent throughput of media and steady workflow demands, it's very likely that moving some of your operations to a cloud-based system is going to be significantly more expensive than an on-premise infrastructure. Although the cost of cloud compute and storage is frequently decreasing – given that, in reality, you are simply displacing one datacenter (your own) for another – unless you really need to move to an OPEX model, it's likely that wholesale migration to the cloud will still be more expensive for certain organizations.

The Broadcast Bridge: With multiple delivery channels and devices, programme rights are increasingly complicated. What is the media management solution?

Dalet: Enterprise media management platforms with smart workflow orchestration are able to perform the process of automatically encoding, encrypting and packaging multimedia files based on pre-defined business rules that apply accordingly across different delivery channels and services. These rules will serve specific access policies for all assets across multiple devices, geographies and throughout time. In other words, intelligence needs to be built into automation to acknowledge rights (and other) metadata and respect associated business rules.

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?

Dalet: Content delivery over the Internet (whether to mobile devices, computers or connected STBs) has opened up a number of opportunities to content owners – be that by extending geographies or more nuanced offerings such as highly niche channels.

Metadata is the building block of asset management and essential not only for making content searchable, but for automating the crucial links between assets. A smart MAM platform can grant the power to dynamically group content into media “packages” for multi-platform, global distribution, and, as a result, revenue from exponentially extending the reach of any given program.

Tools, like media asset management, that enable the association and management of descriptive metadata, both editorial (content) and structural (e.g. audio/language labeling), combined with highly configurable, smart orchestration make it possible for content owners to exploit those new business opportunities.

Ben Davenport, Director of Marketing, Dalet

Ben Davenport, Director of Marketing, Dalet

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

Dalet: Assessing ROI in a MAM solution depends significantly on the compelling reason for the investment in the first place, which directly involves costs reduction and revenue growth.

For example, if the primary reason was to mitigate risk, be that avoiding regulatory compliance fines or ensuring business continuity, then the return is actually a reduction of further costs. Another scenario is keeping existing costs under control, especially up-front costs linked to integration and interoperability, which requires full compliance with industry standards and initiatives such as FIMS (Framework for Interoperable Media Services) and IMF (Interoperable Master Format). Regarding "ongoing" costs optimization, it all comes down to resource utilization, and one has three master keys to crack this: orchestration and automation, resource federation, and elasticity.

On the other hand, if the investment was intended to increase revenue by supporting new business opportunities, revenue and margin become important, meaning that you need to be able to calculate some sort of "unit cost" for your assets. And what generates the most value in 2016? An explosion of video everywhere. In addition to availability and mobility, it’s finding and sharing that is actually changing media habits. And the use of MAM platforms to enable finding and sharing is crucial for intelligent content packaging and new audience growth thanks to smart recommendations. All of this gives us a perspective on improved ROI from investing in MAM far beyond linear TV.

In either case, effective and comprehensive reporting and dashboards are going to be critical in calculating ROI.

Let us know what you think…

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