(As published in ’20:20 Vision of Future TV’, the APB special report on the occasion of NAB Show 2019)
Faced with accelerated change and growing complexities across OTT, DTC, On Demand and Linear services, media companies go for flexibility and efficiency in their content ecosystem relying on a future-proof backbone.
Strengthening that operational backbone allows them to reach for new business models. This is what MEDIAGENIX take away from years of intensive co-creation with a world-spanning customer community.
A total of 45 media companies recently gathered in Brussels for two days to debate on where the industry is going and how they should get there. Keynote speaker at this MEDIAGENIX User Advisory Board was Alan Wolk, the co-founder and lead analyst of T[R]EV and one of the industry’s influential thought leaders.
Alan Wolk touched on the whole range of hot topics, from the battle of the Flixes and the rush for big data to the advent of game changing technologies, such as ACR, ATC3.0 and 5G, and the ‘spotified’ viewer experience.
The gist of the debate that followed was that we find ourselves in the new reality of the content-centric era. Digital technology has broken down the barriers that stood between the content and the viewer. This is changing long-standing business models and relationships and has also opened the door to new players.
In the meantime, the industry is moving on at white-knuckle speed. Media companies are repositioning themselves, exploring new models such as integrating video, audio and print, DTC, starting up consortiums to kill the ‘Flixes’ or gearing up to join them.
Business software and the IT industry itself are undergoing major changes. Cloud services, browser-based applications, a continued need for new (micro) services and support for global organisations are but a few of the ingredients that spice up the life of software solution suppliers such as MEDIAGENIX.
The crux of the matter is that viewers increasingly turn to the Internet where social media and OTT services are prolific in offering a wide range of content. This prompts media companies to take a closer look at the content they can offer. What rights do they have on the content? What distribution platforms are available and through which technique can they best serve their business goals with each title? Maybe it is on a premium pay service, or on Facebook or YouTube, maybe on a linear channel.
Any media company that publish their content on diverse platforms have seen the complexity of their content distribution grow exponentially. Blockbusters, vintage series and movies, gameshows and soaps, old content or new, … all require a different approach, which always needs to ensure the highest operational efficiency, immediate insight into availabilities, and instant information to make strategic decisions.
To be able to repurpose content, slice and dice and recompose it, put it on an on-demand platform, or stream it, media companies need to know whether there is some restriction on some part of the content, a royalty contract attached to some other part, or an issue on some music track. And they need to be sure that such parts of the content are not reused.
WHATS’ON by MEDIAGENIX provides the much-needed overviews and flags possible issues, taking real-time accuracy to frame-level. Once entered, information can be reused all along the product’s life cycle and everybody in every department is working on the same, real-time data.
At Swiss public broadcaster RTS, WHATS’ON users segment the content to prepare its distribution, or define the various rights on these segments. The system informs them about clearance problems or the additional costs involved. Other companies use the solution for monitoring royalty statuses.
Royalties and participations
It is common knowledge that calculations for royalties and participations have grown highly complex. Millions of consumption records a month need to be digested for intricate revenue share calculations if distributors, platforms and talent are to get what is theirs by right. This involves countless beneficiaries and revenue split models.
At RTL Netherlands WHATS’ON automatically applies calculations to a series of preset rules, which results in a month-by-month view on the amounts the different parties are supposed to get. There is a distributor view per title, another is the platform view. Reports are easily made.
In the meantime the presence of the FAANGs is pushing media companies to produce more exclusive content than ever. This comes with a cost that has to be balanced with new revenues. Licensing the rights for other countries, markets or platforms to third parties is one of the viable options.
“The MEDIAGENIX solution covers the whole rights-out process including sales planification, orchestration and task follow-up, deal support, and revenue distribution management.”
The solution MEDIAGENIX have developed for this, makes it easy to identify sales opportunities and clear the rights. It covers the whole rights-out process including sales planification, orchestration and task follow-up, deal support, and revenue distribution management.
One of the most debated phenomena in the media market is the dramatic surge in the budgets spent on sports rights. According to GlobalWebindex, 3.4 billion people saw at least part of the 2018 World Cup. This is half the world population: a monetisation treasure trove. Unsurprisingly, the social media giants have jumped on the bandwagon.
Sports and live broadcasting is very different from non-live broadcasting, however. The differences in workflows and required functionality span across all departments. Live events have their very specific challenges, what with the inherent unpredictability (cancellations, delays, uncertain durations, …) and last-minute changes. You have to deal with concurrent events and overlaps, diverse sources and feeds, graphics, several commentary languages, the very complex rights, obligations and exceptions, and not to forget the ever growing importance of metadata.
To optimise revenue and achieve operational excellence in the face of these complexities, MEDIAGENIX have developed a solution for (e)sports and live events in general. It automatically conforms all scheduling to the applicable rights, obligations and exceptions and facilitates last-minute changes. It also sees to it that feed, commentary and resource requirements are met for live coverage, recorded highlights and studio shows. The solution centrally manages metadata from specialised online databases.
Undeniably, the need for maximised efficiencies has contributed to accelerated consolidation in the media market, along with the scuffle for more leverage in negotiations over exhibition rights, and the struggle to secure content production or distribution channels.
Another reason why media operations are seeking scale is to take maximum advantage of technological developments. Apart from the shift from hardware to software, we see that even MAMs, Playouts and Airtime Sales Systems are moving to the cloud.
A similar trend emerges to centralise all content ever produced or bought in a global content management system in the cloud, ready to be shared by channels and platforms across the globe. As the media assets in WHATS’ON each contain all video, audio and subtitle files for one item of content, the content can be shared by all channels in whichever regions, and each channel automatically receives the content in the right (language) version.
With globalisation comes the need for efficiency in localisation. During a recent implementation, A+E (History Channel) took the opportunity to overhaul their localisation workflow and, where possible, automate the supply chain with their localisation vendor(s), with a view to reducing errors and duplication, increasing efficiency, and creating space for increased monitoring. It led to better quality and an improved experience for the language houses concerned as well as for their internal workforce. The bulk of their language material is ordered automatically, the rest is management by exception.
As this content-centric era is one of perpetual permutation MEDIAGENIX help media companies reinvent their business and content ecosystem around a future-proof backbone that with its open architecture and Open or Business APIs offers all the flexibility this age requires.
Broadcast Management Platform WHATS’ON provides a single tool to manage the content supply chain, from planning to distribution. The solution can either support their entire workflow, or operate as a central system driving content, rights, media, EPG, or finance workflows complemented with niche applications.
The result is that amid rapid change and growing complexity, media companies can efficiently run and adjust their business mix to reach the most elusive viewers.