In this world of streaming video, the demand and opportunity for content targeted at global markets is continuing to skyrocket. But the total money available in those markets is lagging behind. A key challenge is the versioning and localisation of that content.
What do these terms mean? Most of the content produced has to be versioned for the various platforms and services on which it will be distributed. Most of it will also be ‘localised’ — that is, prepared for consumption in another territory — this can include adding foreign language subtitles and soundtrack, and re-editing to comply with regulatory and cultural requirements.
“The scale of the localisation process is immense. For every asset we create, we can have up to 16 different versions to cover all the regulatory requirements of our various markets. Now, across our consumer-facing international brands alone, we create thousands of hours of original content a year. Multiply that by up to the 16 versions; then multiply that by the number of languages, and then by the different audio dubbing and subtitling requirements. Add in the internal video editing that may be required to make the nuances of storytelling work in different territories: it quickly becomes millions of assets. And that’s before we get into promos and short form.”
— James Crossland, SVP International Operations, Warner Media.
So, what’s being done to address this immense challenge?
The Digital Production Partnership (DPP), a media industry business network, brought together twenty-two senior executives in a special roundtable event titled ‘The Localisation Challenge?’ at IBC 2019 in Amsterdam. The companies represented were: A+E Networks, Amazon Web Services, Apple, Deluxe, Disney, Eluvio, ITV, NHK Archives, PBS, Pixelogic, Prime Focus Technologies, SDI Media, SDVI, SES Video, Sky, UKTV, Videomenthe, Vubiquity, WarnerMedia, Zoo Digital and ZDF Enterprises.
The roundtable generated the following three key insights.
1. Maturity in internal business relationships
There’s lots of content being delivered, but…oops!…it’s not compliant with delivery requirements. And…double oops!…it’s not suitable to be prepped for versioning and localisation. Is this because there are no clear standards for deliverables in the media industry? Well, partly, but it’s mostly because people don’t want to upset the apple cart among the creative and commercial teams.
Solution: Companies need to incentivise and build more productive relationships between different parts of their business.
2. Building trust into what we receive
We’re naturally inclined do business with people we know, like and trust. But when a piece of content is passed from one content provider to another, the receiving company may find that it’s technically inferior to what was promised. This means that even well-established, high-quality media companies don’t trust each other.
Solution: Use a cloud-native central library and agreed specifications for assets.
3. All content should not be equal
All content is, in effect, tiered at the point of commission. In the pre-streaming world of linear distribution, tiering was based on the schedule: ‘daytime’, ‘peak’, ‘post-watershed’, and so on.
In this new world of on-demand, tiering is more difficult to identify. But, in reality, budgets alone still create tiering.
Solution: Media companies should reflect the reality that all content should not be equal in the way they manage the onward processing of content. Some content is simply more valuable and should be treated as such.
DPP Tech Leaders’ Briefing
The who’s who of the media industry will converge on London for the DPP Tech Leaders’ Briefing. Overcast CEO Philippe Brodeur will be there on 13th and 14th November and is be delighted to meet you and illustrate how your company could save time and money on more effective media asset management and internal collaboration.
Why Meet With Overcast?
A) Cloud Native
We get it. You want your applications to run more effectively together. You want this workflow to elevate the productivity of your team. So you sign up with a cloud provider and use it to run your existing applications. Problem solved, right? Not necessarily — like content, not all cloud solutions are created equally.
So why is cloud-native important? Each part (applications, processes, etc) is packaged in its own container — this means your activities, actions and workflows are optimized for the cloud. And that ultimately means less cost and less time fussing about with legacy technologies.
(B) Managed Software as a Service
Managed SaaS is all about being able to create a tech stack. It allows you to integrate best-of-breed solutions, which ultimately allows you to manage your digital assets with maximum flexibility.
SaaS, while it incurs a subscription charge, is significantly more cost-effective since you’ll save on hardware, licences, tech support, and scaling up.
(C) Tech-enabled services
On a cloud-native platform like Overcast, we segmented our application into microservices. This means they are significantly more agile and maintainable. Crucially, a tech-enabled service empowers you to redesign your workflows for speed and cost reduction. Oh — and it means you can pick and choose what you want so there’s no need to buy a whole tonne of software you would never use.
Please email Philippe on email@example.com if you’d like to pick his brains in London.