How to swiftly deliver sliced and diced content to multiple online platforms without dropping the ball when verifying exploitation rights.
As media companies have taken to publishing their content on many and diverse platforms in spite of the intricacy of exploitation rights, they have seen the complexity of their content distribution grow exponentially. Nonetheless, in a fast-paced media world that thrives on the issues of the day, editorial decisions need to be taken at the drop of a hat. One of the very first companies to tackle this predicament was RTS, the public broadcaster for the French-speaking part of Switzerland. They called in MEDIAGENIX, the company behind Broadcast Management System WHATS’ON, to co-create a powerful system that enables them to swiftly deliver sliced and diced content to multiple online platforms without dropping the ball when verifying their exploitation rights.
30 to 50 % of the RTS programmes are internal productions or coproductions composed of multiple products. Some parts are live, others preproduced; some come from archives, others are purchased. Each part can be subject to different rights, rights can even be restricted to a number of frames.
Philippe Hêche, RTS Head of TV Continuity Planning: “You cannot show patients in a hospital or children at school without any clearance; actors that show up in a programme can impose their own restrictions, and so on. We absolutely need to know whether there is some restriction on some part of the content, a contract attached to some other part, or an issue on some music track … And we need to be able to define blocking issues, to prevent that such parts of the content are reused on online platforms.”
As platforms multiplied and ever more underlying rights were lurking beneath the product surface, distribution grew ever more complex and the workload started to slow RTS down. They found it increasingly hard to publish as fast as they wanted and needed to, without incurring the risk of inadvertently infringing some right, copyright or restriction.
“With time our exploitation rights were managed by 3 to 4 stand-alone systems and none of these systems saw the whole picture,” says Blaise Guignard, RTS Head of Developments and Processes Unit. “This was inefficient, redundant and risky.” A centralized and efficient management of rights was due, on one system for both linear and nonlinear distribution. This system would then provide overviews that flagged possible issues.
Metadata on extracts
Metadata on extracts were needed to enhance the viewing experience. In an on-demand world viewers want to navigate fast within the programme. This implies, for instance, that you need to index a football game, so that the viewer can easily skip to the goals, the red card or the saved penalty. When publishing the news, each topic from the news run-down should be readily available, allowing the viewer to skip to, say, the stock market news.
Additional metadata on extracts could be used for reports on ratings and costs. For one thing, ratings for parts of a programme provide new insights. For instance: what was the impact of that rain delay on the viewing figures for that tennis match? What happened to the viewing figures when that star made her appearance on the show? The same goes for costs: which parts of that talk show are too expensive to reuse? Also, you need to know how much time you broadcast own productions, and how much time bought productions, even if there are programmes composed of both kinds of production. Automatic reports on content distribution are in high demand, too.
When RTS decided their proprietary channel management system could no longer cope, they started scouting the market for the most suitable commercial product. In the absence of a 100 % off-the-shelf solution they found a like-minded partner in MEDIAGENIX. Both RTS and MEDIAGENIX realized that here was an opportunity to develop a solution that would impact on the future of content distribution.
A champion of co-creation, MEDIAGENIX powwowed with RTS and a mixed project team was formed to develop functionality that managed rights down to frame level.
Before long, content producers at RTS will be able to open the frame-accurate player from their WHATS’ON screen and set time codes, virtually segmenting the content to prepare its distribution or define the different rights on these segments. Information entered in the early stages of the creation of the programme, can be reused later. You want to publish a clip on Facebook? Go to the original product, view the video, mark the clip and publish. The system will inform you about clearance problems or the additional costs involved. The segmentations will allow automatic creation of clips for fast publication online, chaptered in advance. Rules can be applied that say, for instance: the first extract will have this title and this online distribution, or the second and the third extracts are to be grouped on this platform but not on the other, on Facebook we will have only have this separate segment …
Open REST API
As it is key to gather as much data as possible from different sources —without having to enter all this data manually—MEDIAGENIX uses the WHATS’ON open REST API to get as much relevant data from other systems as available. The newsroom system can deliver its run-down of stories with the associated rights, production software can provide the cue sheets with the rights on the materials used.
Instant publication decisions
It was decided to make the clearance process blazingly fast, so that RTS could make instant publication decisions based on the latest events. You want to reuse the product or part of it on a linear or nonlinear platform? The system immediately tells you whether you have the rights for it at that specific moment in time. It calculates the rights on a restricted period of time and indicates whether there are issues (green or red code) or if there might be issues which you should have checked first (orange).
With Broadcast Management System WHATS’ON and its newly developed functionality to manage underlying rights down to frame level, RTS can operate highly dynamically and is always right on the ball when it comes to capitalizing on hot topics with their content.
Senior Business Consultant @ MEDIAGENIX