Six ways broadcasters can secure their digital future

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Sydney-based Ooyala Asia-Pacific VP/GM Steve Davis, writing exclusively for M+AD, looks at six ways in which broadcasters can secure their digital future: The pace of change in the television industry has never been more rapid. The rise of OTT streaming services and surging demand for content means workflows are being compressed and pressures increased.

The changes are occurring at a time when many broadcast production and distribution companies are shifting from traditional, on-premise linear workflows to digital, non-linear workflows that are internet protocol (IP) or cloud based.

On the surface, this evolution seems straightforward and logical. Digital technology simplifies processes, strengthens partner relationships and is vital to ensure ongoing success. Yet, despite these clear advantages, many content producers and broadcasters are intimidated by the challenges of the task ahead.

Embracing change
There are six key ways in which television production and distribution companies can embrace the rapid change sweeping the industry and secure their digital futures. They are:

1. Understand which areas will see immediate benefits from IP
Not all areas of television production are progressing at the same pace toward having seamless IP-based workflows, so it’s important to prioritise where attention (and investments) should be made.

Recent research by the Digital Production Partnership found OTT-friendly areas, including IP distribution and live streaming, offer the most immediate business benefits for moving to an IP-based model. Other areas, such as location-based production management, should be considered for later deployment. Meanwhile, early-mover advantages can accrue in areas such as media asset management and post-production.

2. Take a holistic view of operations
Successful companies, particularly those with both linear and digital broadcast delivery, are increasingly dropping their traditional silos. They realise that success now requires co-ordination to integrate and orchestrate the entire video supply chain holistically.

Production and distribution teams must stay continuously connected to each other as well as to internal and external systems that support scheduling. This, in turn, can prevent duplication and improve communication.

3. Make data your friend
Data takes the guesswork out of video operations and promises to be a core factor in future success. Metadata that can be carried throughout the content lifecycle serves as a “single source of truth” and offers a range of valuable benefits.

These include stronger asset cataloguing, improved visibility and continuity, and better control at every point in the process. Metadata also supports robust analysis and advanced business modelling while also providing a direct performance link from content creation through to monetisation.

4. Embrace automation
Automation will continue to offer many critical advantages to all companies in the television sector. It streamlines operations, trims costs and speeds delivery.

Effective automation also minimises bottlenecks caused by human errors through managing all the tasks and formats required for output. This, in turn, allows companies to re-direct skilled staff to higher-value tasks such as new content creation, rather than being swamped with tedious, repetitive activities.

5. Check your platform
In the content business, rapid change is inevitable. In the midst of thinking about a digital transition, many companies are also faced with planning for and managing new partner, device and output requirements while at the same time figuring out how global market growth will affect their business. At the same time they must also keep up with emerging technologies, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, that promise to not only challenge existing media operations but enhance them.

This is where media logistics platforms can help. Deployed on-premise, in the cloud or in a hybrid configuration, they can help producers and broadcasters readily scale their operations and strategically drive future business expansion. Also, modern micro-services architectures can help current systems adapt to new developments such as codecs or DRM types.

6. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
Planning a linear-to-digital transition is the perfect time for content producers and broadcasters to take charge of their digital futures. This future can be supported by a media logistics platform that has the capacity to both handle legacy systems and introduce or replace them with new systems to improve productivity over time.

As a result, companies can change and customise workflows to better support client requirements. They can also configure new functionality and adjust product offerings as market conditions and end-user demands change. All this can be achieved without the need to bring back original vendors to make changes or modifications to legacy systems. This, in turn, avoids downtime and unexpected costs.

In the television production industry, the only constant is change. By following these six steps, companies can ensure they are ready for that change and can turn it into an advantage.

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