In the dynamic media market, with new content deals happening almost daily, the need for easy and accurate content transfers is higher than ever, writes Geoff Stedman.
The global supply chain is under severe pressure but unlike semiconductor shortages and rising energy costs, the bottleneck squeezing the world’s media factory can be fixed.
That’s not to say the industry isn’t near breaking point. Consumer demand for content and the mass production of it by studios and broadcasters is at an all-time high. Also unprecedented is the amount of money being pumped into the top of the pipeline.
Billions of dollars are being invested in the creation of premium content to fuel direct-to-consumer platforms. Localised versions of that content are required to cater for multiplying channels in different markets. Dwarfing even original output is the parallel need to license, reformat, repackage - and monetise - library titles which all go toward feeding insatiable audience appetite.
The exponential rise in demand to distribute content to platforms in the right format with the right metadata - on time - is stretching the capacity of supply chains at even the largest media organisations.
“It’s the hardest job we do,” informs Bart Spriester, VP and GM of Content and Streaming Providers Suite for Comcast Technology Solutions.
- Read more: Journey to a Modern Media Supply Chain
“Processing content involves a lot of bulk work. When you have to spray that content out to hundreds of spots in the US as well as thousands of outlets internationally – and we have up to a hundred destinations in a single European country alone – this is a bottleneck not just for us but the whole industry.”
Media ‘factories’ like Comcast Technology Solutions had found themselves pushing against an avalanche in order to keep pace with the soaring complexity of demand.
“As an industry we are having to spend a lot of time, energy and money,” Spriester says. “We are all having to work really hard because there is no standardisation. The industry needs a solution that tackles the problem in a faster, streamlined, more automated way to get content out to the end consumer.”
Eliminate Duplicate Work
It’s not as if media companies have been standing still. Many have got their own house in order by embracing supply chain methodologies. In recent years they have transformed their processes for receiving, validating and converting raw programming into the numerous output formats required to satisfy the variety of delivery platforms. Combining automation, intelligent orchestration and more focused manual task management, media companies realised huge improvements in the efficiency and agility of their own media factories.
This solid start now needs to be expanded to encompass the wider community of content exchange. Because no matter how efficient a media company’s inhouse supply chain could be, there’s a fundamental flaw when that supply chain has to repeat the same tasks that have already been done upstream, and downstream partners have to repeat those same tasks again.
“The new media supply chain involves an interconnected web of content producers, media companies, and delivery partners, who, if intelligently connected, can move content from one to the other without triggering redundant processing,” Geoff Stedman, SDVI
Certifying metadata and content specifications with a new delivery partner is often iterative and time-consuming. Duplicate media processing often takes place at the destination because they do not know (or trust) what has been done upstream. Eliminating this duplication of work and improving speed and efficiency of adding a new content destination requires an approach that involves the broader media supply chain.
“In order to monetise their investment, studios need content distributed everywhere from niche apps to giant content aggregators and this complexity will be amplified as spend continues to increase,” urges Spriester. “This is a problem we really need to go after to tackle and solve. We have to take supply chain methodology to the next level.”
A Trusted Interconnected Content Community
No longer is media supply chain optimisation solely about making media operations more efficient and agile within a media company. The new media supply chain involves an interconnected web of content producers, media companies, and delivery partners, who, if intelligently connected, can move content from one to the other without triggering redundant processing.
That intelligent connection is at the heart of Rally Connect. We’ve helped some of the world’s largest media companies streamline and modernise the media supply chains running in their factories. Now with Rally Connect, we’re extending the media supply chain to connect these factories together and adding another mechanism to further optimise how partners receive and distribute content. For media operations departments, it’s a game-changer.
A great illustration of this broader media supply chain happened in the content exchange between A+E Networks and Discovery. They automated the movement of content and the registration of metadata for that content into Discovery’s system. A process that would have taken 60 or more days, was complete in less than 24 hours.
“Not so long ago, even transferring a few hundred titles at the same time would have seemed a very big deal but with cloud integration and supply chain management systems like Rally we can do this in just a few hours,” says Dave Klee, VP of Strategic Media Solutions, A+E Networks. “We want to get to a point where you have a list of titles, you click a button, and off they go.”
Geoff Stedman is chief marketing officer, SDVI.