Demand for integrated platforms surges as production companies battle rising competition

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By Sydney-based Ooyala Asia-Pacific chief Steve Davis, an occasional M+AD contributor: The emergence of multiple delivery channels is placing increasing pressures on established video production companies. Where once broadcast television was king, viewers now have a portfolio of viewing options which, in turn, is causing challenges for content creators.

Television companies in particular are faced with finding efficient ways to distribute their content across everything from traditional broadcast to on-demand services accessed through a variety of devices. Failing to achieve this will result in slower time for content to get published, errors in content library, possibly declining viewer numbers and satisfaction, and lower advertising revenues.

Traditionally, broadcasters have approached this challenge by adding extra tools to their production facilities. While existing systems continue to be used to create and distribute linear broadcasts, others are ‘bolted on’ to handle distribution to on-demand channels such as Facebook, YouTube and others.

In many cases, the result has been the creation of a cumbersome and complex production infrastructure. Content creators and managers have had to juggle multiple different systems depending on the distribution channel with which they are working.

For the company, this means additional costs are incurred for staff training and cumbersome, manual tasks become part of your workflow. There is also the pressure and costs associated with taking longer to get content to the various channels and available for viewers. At the same time, there tends to be a lack of visibility of workflows, increased errors and difficulty in troubleshooting as content is passed across different systems before being published.

Taking a platform approach
Increasingly, content providers are taking a platform strategy when it comes to supporting the production and distribution process. Rather than investing in and deploying point products, a single platform is put in place that can handle all the required distribution channels.

Taking a platform approach can deliver significant benefits. More content can be processed and distributed in a shorter space of time, and by fewer people. Production staff can focus on higher value-adding tasks such as curating content, promoting new services and offerings, and increasing content quality. Many manual processes can also be removed, significantly improving workflows and staff productivity and reducing errors.

“By adopting an integrated platform, video content creators will be best positioned to effectively get their offerings to the multiple distribution channels in use today, in the shortest period of time.”

Having a single platform in place also means staff no longer have to log into multiple systems or learn different user interfaces. Gone are the days of copying and pasting metadata into an excel sheet so that other teams can then copy and paste it back into their production platform. All of the creative and administrative tools can be centralised and processes automated so that multiple teams and departments can easily and efficiently collaborate as required.

The integrated platform also allows content to be efficiently and quickly distributed to multiple channels. A video file can be broadcast, posted to social media and made available for on-demand viewing at the same time.

Industry research shows that, on average, adopting an integrated platform can achieve time savings of 70% and increase the volume of content being distributed by a factor of four. For example, automation allowed one European broadcaster to transition its advertisement ingest operations to being 100% file-based while virtually eliminating all human errors around compliance and quality control.

The migration process
Making the shift from a collection of point products to an integrated production and distribution platform requires a number of key steps. These include:

  • Map workflows:  All existing workflows should be documented so that the steps currently required to get a piece of content from production through to its distribution to consumers are fully understood.
  • Identify bottlenecks: Once the processes are detailed, each should be examined to identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies as well as the time taken to complete each step of the process.
  • Streamline processes: Accurately assess how many processes could be streamlined or automated through the deployment of a video production platform.
  • Assess alternatives: Evaluate platform alternatives and identify the most appropriate fit for the organisation.
  • Review legacy equipment: Assess whether existing legacy equipment has an ongoing role to play or should be decommissioned. Sometimes it can be put to work in a different part of the organisation.
  • Carry out a migration: Undertake the migration to the new platform, and extend it to cover the advertising function. This will improve productivity and further streamline internal processes.

By adopting an integrated production and distribution platform, video content creators will be best positioned to effectively and efficiently get their offerings to the multiple distribution channels in use today, in the shortest period of time.

As viewer habits continue to evolve and competition for eyeballs increases, having this flexibility in place will be key to future success.

  • Sydney-based Steve Davis is the vice president and general manager of Asia-Pacific for online video technology company Ooyala ( 

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