The Power of Automation: Adopting Media ERP to Drive Lean Operations across the Supply Chain
PFT Blog Team | 28 Aug 2017

The Power of Automation: Adopting Media ERP to Drive Lean Operations across the Supply Chain
The Power of Automation: Adopting Media ERP to Drive Lean Operations across the Supply Chain Click To Tweet

Considering the unarguably fast clock speed in Media & Entertainment (M&E) today, content enterprises need to be able to rapidly access, preview, share, process and publish content for on-time delivery to an ever-increasing number of platforms and devices. Typically, M&E companies use multiple on premise, non-scalable, media asset management (MAM) systems for content operations such as ingest, annotation, cataloging, storage, retrieval and distribution. Moreover, they use different MAMs across different divisions, departments and locations within the organization. Such multiple systems to manage content during production, marketing and distribution lead to high costs, and provide little room to enhance speed. Automation remains in pockets, and work order administration between multiple tasks continues to be manual. Collaboration amongst supply chain participants - production house, post production vendor, studio and the network is limited, and managing a growth in processing, packaging and delivery of content on public cloud infrastructure (like AWS & Azure) is challenging.

In the world of abundance, how does one drive lean operations and embrace automation?

If organizations have to succeed in this ‘Digital Next’ era, they need a single MAM that is able to automate the supply chain – one that can manage media operations across global sites, with capabilities for work order management. They need a single MAM that extends beyond Technical Operations teams and is usable by creative, marketing, legal, operations, sales and senior executive leadership teams - a single software for the enterprise integrating production, distribution, broadcasting & OTT related business activities.

A Media ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution offers all this, and more. It helps broadcasters, studios, brands and service providers lower their Total Cost of Operations (TCOP) by automating business processes around content and managing their business of content better.

Powered by Hybrid Cloud architecture, Media ERP is well suited to manage content workflows across multiple distributed locations. The solution enables internal and external stakeholders to access content anytime, anywhere; facilitating easy collaboration with multiple vendors and distributors. Users can perform operations like cataloging and subtitling on a low resolution proxy, while operations like editing can be performed on the high resolution content. The solution’s workflow engine manages distributed workflows for the remote execution of tasks at service recipient sites as well as a central operations site. These tasks include transcoding (using Vantage Pro), Auto QC (using Baton/Cerify), file transfer (using Aspera/Signiant), file management and API integrations to ingest and deliver content. Moreover, data is protected with Encryption, Watermarking and Content Disaster Recovery. It can easily be tailored to include Broadcast workflows like Subtitling/Closed Captioning, Cataloging, Transcription, VFX and Online frame-accurate conform.

Listed below are a few instances of how automating the content supply chain can add tremendous value for M&E enterprises:

Content Acquisition

Often during the shoot of a film/television show, content is captured at a remote location. In this, typically the raw camera files from the shoot are put on a storage device and sent for review, a process which can take up to a week. There is no mechanism to review this content collaboratively in a short time span. A Media ERP solution allows users to upload raw camera files on to the cloud even from a remote location. These are transcoded into a low resolution proxy and made available for streaming to any desired destination. The content then becomes available for simultaneous review by stakeholders in different geographical locations, thus saving valuable time.

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Asset & Essence Metadata

Today, content needs to be processed, delivered and stored in multiple formats and resolutions. To avoid duplication and ensure easy discoverability, technical and descriptive metadata should ideally be generated as part of the ingest process. With Media ERP, assets can be ingested and cataloged with pre-defined, content specific metadata, and supporting files like poster artworks, external audio tracks, QC reports and EDLs can be added as essences to the primary asset. This ensures best results during searches, and assets can be retrieved at lightning speed.

Collaboration

Creating a film or television show involves the close collaboration of multiple teams, each of whom has to give inputs during the content lifecycle. For instance, in a broadcast environment, various teams like Programming, Editorial, Marketing, Promo Production, Legal and Quality Check need to collaborate in order to make content ready for telecast. For on premise deployments, members from these teams need to be physically present wherever the content is stored in order to review it and provide their inputs. An automated supply chain mitigates this need for physical presence and allows multiple teams to simultaneously work on a low resolution copy of the content, thereby driving creative enablement and increasing efficiencies. The Programming team can provide comments for specific EDLs (Edit Decision Lists) and share these with the Editing team. Feedback can be easily tracked and compared for all subsequent edit masters, and NLE (non-linear edit) project files can be shared among editors to help save time on the edit table.

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Localization & OTT Delivery

Today, films and television shows need to be localized in different languages for telecast in multiple territories. They also need to be published to different OTT platforms, each of which has its own set of technical specifications. Creation of a low resolution copy of the content therefore becomes imperative. Typically, this is attached with metadata and a few additional files before being uploaded on to an FTP location, which may not be completely secure. With Media ERP, users can select a set of files, watermark them and securely send these to dubbing/subtitling vendors. The dubbed/subtitled files can later be reviewed and validated on a frame accurate cloud player. Once ready, sets of files can be simultaneously published to one or more OTT platforms in accordance with the corresponding packaging requirements.

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Automation across the Supply Chain

Media ERP offers new possibilities in automating tasks that were hitherto manual. For instance, it offers end-to-end business process orchestration for promo creation including versioning automation. This includes end-to-end work order administration, seamless integration with Broadcast Management Software (BMS), review & approval processes, post-production and hand-off for play-out along with a revolutionary versioning appliance that allows to ‘render’ promo versions for the creative automatically based on pre-configured versioning templates. The process of master creation for domestic and international syndication can also be automated with Media ERP, leveraging unique elements like a Compliance Data Model, Caption Re-timing feature and Profanity Check tool for compliance Auto QC of captions/subtitles. This kind of automation helps reduces the amount of manpower and edit systems used for these processes and helps achieve faster Turnaround Time (TAT).

Key Benefits

With Media ERP, M&E enterprises get ONE MAM system across Creative, Marketing & Technical Operations, and one software that will work across global sites. With Promo Versioning automation, work order administration, mastering automation and many such extreme digitization features, Media ERP offers the lowest TCOP than the next best alternative – a whopping 30-40% less. Users no longer have to worry about maintaining and managing standalone applications, upgrade costs, system & software support costs, hosting, help desk, etc. Automating the supply chain helps M&E players drive creative enablement, enhance operational efficiencies, reduce cost and realize new monetization opportunities. With the extent of digitization in the M&E industry only set to increase, Media ERP, with its versatility and scalability, fits the bill.

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