As content management stabilizes into an early mainstream phase of maturity, cloud and hybrid architectures dominate. While the volume of content increases and saturates the market, the leading platforms have turned their attention to content use – specifically its reusability – and gathering intelligence about the content.

Content saturation means digital platform needs to go beyond simply managing user content. With recent advancements in semantic text analysis and machine learning, there is an opportunity for digital platforms to support automatic, intelligent content analysis. This will improve confidence that the content created will optimize SEO while delivering relevant content and ensuring an appropriate tone of voice for target audience.

MAM Moves to Cloud

There is a widely held perception – rarely discussed – within the broadcast industry that despite all the marketing hype, media asset management (MAM) has struggled to deliver the expected benefits of time, savings, and functionality. Even some vendors for MAM systems acknowledge that some implementations have not been a success.

MAM is about managing content, and specifically where it is. It is the modern version of knowing what shelf the tape is on, and the processes for moving it around. Yet at a typical broadcaster, the scope of MAM could include supporting transmission (TX); archive and library management; production, news, or graphics operations; or any combination of the above.

Broadcasters and vendors are reappraising the monolithic MAM system with a modular approach more suited to cloud business and production workflows.

Up until now, cloud has mostly meant distribution via the cloud and had very minimal impact on MAM providers, and perhaps because of that, many MAM companies have been sitting back on their laurels a little too long. As industry moves to a born cloud, delivered cloud reality, with content being curated completely on the cloud, the impact for MAM providers is set to shift.

The problem is that for many MAM providers, nothing much has changed in the last 15 years. With unwieldy systems designed for one type of user – large broadcasters have the same way of managing files, they are simply going to become obsolete as they cannot be used in that way anymore. This is already causing problems without the cloud, as workflows have changed so much over the past decades, as have the types of companies delivering media, from multinational traditional broadcasters, through small media companies, to businesses using video for marketing. A large unwieldy MAM set in its ways is not going to work for most content providers.

When efficiency is at the forefront of everyone's mind, really good automation and standardization will be crucial, as will having a MAM that actually sits natively in the cloud environment itself.

MAM catalogs are an essential part of media operations, and they are not disappearing. Media organizations will always need to be able to search, browse, and retrieve their media assets, retaining metadata from the interaction with external systems, and enabling workflow orchestration on top of those media-aware data models.

The move to cloud infrastructures will have some major implications for the technology providers' right through the chain. MAM is one area which needs some significant changes if the sector wants to keep up with the rapid rate of change in this industry. Customers will demand MAM as a utility service. MAM will have to be ubiquitous like water, electricity, and mobile coverage. If not, MAM will simply become redundant.

Industry Speak

Secure Storage at the Forefront of India's Production Future

Peter Lambert
Worldwide Director, Sales
EditShare

Bollywood movies are spending an excess 180 crore to produce valuable feature films for the home market. Indian production budgets are growing, and digital assets are their currency.

We have seen stories recently about large US video businesses targeted by hackers. In one case, a company's storage database was compromised and valuable digital assets were stolen. The entire industry is shaken by this type of attack, with knock-on effects reaching as far as agencies and advertisers. It is clear that more vigilance is required from all sides of the TV and film business. Bollywood's (not including television) 250 censor-approved films generated a gross revenue of approximately, USD 600 million. There are a lot of jobs in line if an illegal stream is found online because a company's storage pool was hacked and duplicated.

We are working behind the scenes to address this crucial security issue. We are creating technology that allows comprehensive auditing and reporting of all file system activity – including file creation, deletion, modification, opens, and reads, as well as Media Space access in general. Not a single action or operation can take place without leaving an audit trail. In the unlikely event of unauthorized activity, the time, date, user, IP address, and action can be traced immediately. This is nothing less than full accountability for all digital assets.

This ability to analyze user's activity is a massive statement that asset security is a serious concern for EditShare and storage auditing is the answer to the need for extreme accountability by Indian facilities responsible for high-value TV and Bollywood content.

Content Storage all in Cloud

In the backdrop of a 2012 IDC report's prediction of more than 40 zettabytes (ZB) of digital data content creation in 2020, Spectra Logic projects that much of the data will never be stored or will be retained for only a brief time. Data stored for longer retention, furthermore, is frequently compressed. The stored digital universe is therefore a smaller subset of the entire digital universe as projected by IDC.

While there will be great demand and some constraints in budgets and infrastructure, Spectra's projections show a small likelihood of a constrained supply of storage to meet the needs of the digital universe through 2026. Expected advances in storage technologies need to occur during this timeframe. Lack of advances in a particular technology, such as magnetic disks, will necessitate greater use of other storage mediums.

No organization or individual is immune to the problems of limited storage capacity. However, many are finding new means to adapt their storage resources to alleviate the impact of not having sufficient storage to meet their operational and business needs. Some have moved to cloud storage for their archives or as mid-tier storage silos or for temporary bursty needs. Others have looked to virtualization technologies to help support cross-utilization of both storage and compute resources.

Virtualization is bringing to industry new methods for the allocation of services across pools of resources ranging from servers to high-performance storage or near-line archive. Storage resource management processes help users make appropriate decisions. Applications vary from real-time storage environments to short-term slow storage to long-term deep storage for seldom-accessed archive purposes.

When organizations choose not to use public cloud services for storage or compute resources, they have likely either built their own private cloud or have already carved out a portion of their datacenter for on-premise storage. Storage management and virtualization can be applied to on-premise resources in the same way as cloud solutions, but usually on a smaller scale.

Being a USD 30 billion market annually, the storage industry has and will always continue to attract venture investment in new technologies. Many of these efforts have promised a magnitude of improvement in one or more of the basic attributes of storage, those being cost, latency performance, bandwidth performance, and longevity.Historically many storage technologies have shown promise in the prototype phase, but have been unable to make the leap to production products that meet the cost, ruggedness, performance, and most importantly, reliability of the current technologies in the marketplace. Given the advent of cloud providers, the avenue to market for some of these technologies might become easier.

Looking ahead, cloud providers will consume, from both a volume and revenue perspective, a larger and larger portion of the storage required to support the digital universe. For this reason, storage providers should consider whether or not their products are optimized for these environments.Cloud providers have a unique opportunity to adopt new storage technologies, based on the sheer size of their storage needs and small number of localities, ahead of volume commercialization of current technologies.

Playout Automation

Media and broadcast industry is undergoing several fundamental shifts which include changing consumer behavior, technology advancements. Increased demands on service flexibility decreased ad revenue for traditional broadcast channels, but increased ad revenue opportunities for OTT and social media services.

The demand for accurate and high-quality content is high due to an increasing number of channels, rising language variation, and fragmentation of content. Video operators are finding new ways to launch new channels, manage these channels, and deliver programs with fewer resources. With high competition among vendors and a low-profit margin, channel-in-a-box (CiaB) enables broadcasters to use the existing IT-based platform for playout automation, reducing the capital expense. The broadcasters are not required to incur additional costs to purchase individual devices to prepare the playout chain. This increases operational efficiency and reduces the cost of a broadcasting system by integrating playout and master controls into a single IT-based platform.

Global playout automation market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 16 percent by 2020, according to Technavio. Advanced playout solutions are flexible enough to accommodate any style of operation. Solutions that media organizations benefit from immediately and that also provide a clear migration path to the future of IP and pure software systems are now focused on the industry.

Content providers have come to the realization that traditional production and distribution processes with disconnected systems, teams, and workflows cannot support this expected level of output and activity. It is now critical to remove long-standing silos by developing tight integrations across the ecosystem, and introduce automation to eliminate manual tasks and free up resources for high-value activities, remove barriers to collaboration, shorten production cycles, improve visibility, increase productivity and ROI, and reduce costs.

Automation today comes in many forms to improve processes throughout the video lifecycle and bring OTT content to the market in the most efficient ways possible.

At its most fundamental level, automation streamlines operations by replacing manual, repetitive, and mundane tasks with automated, business logic-driven actions. Automation can accomplish all of this across video workflows so companies can save time, lower costs, and reduce human error. Intelligent workflows can incorporate automated business logic and user-defined rules to determine how an asset is treated when it is ingested. Media logistics can automatically detect and validate files during this process and then orchestrate their transformation and packaging.

Automation through media logistics helps break and integrate production silos, centralize more activities, and improve communication and productivity among groups. Errors are reduced, costly bottlenecks are avoided, and multiple teams will be relieved to no longer find themselves inexplicably working on the same tasks. Team members can shift to higher-value activities such as developing new content, leaving machines to handle the rest.

Companies can take advantage of these resource savings to complete more projects, scale their existing video investments, and adapt far more quickly to the inevitable changes to come in production processes and partner requirements. As content producers and broadcasters move toward IP-based workflows, the benefits of automation are enhanced, as companies can scale even more easily, reduce their footprint, and remain flexible with cloud-based services.

Companies are also turning to data derived through automation for greater visibility and integration throughout operations, easier asset searches, and faster adjustments at any point of production and delivery.

Broadcasters from around the world are seeking affordable playout solutions that they can integrate easily into their existing workflows. They are willing to invest in technology that will seemingly reduce the cost of playout systems and decipher complexities while enhancing reliability and performance in critical operations.

While technology transitions such as the move toward IP-enabled, virtualized, and cloud-based operations present new opportunities for content playout, each transition comes with its own challenges, rate of adoption, and revenue-expansion prospects.

Way Forward

For over two decades, when it comes to content management systems (CMS), the only thing that has been constant is change. This will certainly continue to hold true for 2018 and beyond. There will be new CMS approaches and in some cases major realignments in the industry. In the days ahead, marketers will be looking for environments that are more flexible in terms of sourcing as well as in propagating these emerging CMS experiences.

Tapping into the deep, multi-layered data model of CMS platforms, internal or external reporting and analytics tools allow users to analyze vast amounts of data and offer business intelligence (BI) specifically tailored for media operations in order to measure performance throughout the chain and build sound data-driven strategies. This is one of the keys to growth for media organizations who greatly benefit from the agility and accessibility of the cloud. Content management needs to move from a solution to a smooth part of a business workflow. For a content management to be future-proof it must enable more and more workflows around it, providing a high level of agility, and ease of integration.