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Automating the Vod/OTT distribution workflow for speed and flexibility

Speed and efficiency are of the essence in today’s multiplatform media world, and workflows need to be integrated tightly and with great flexibility. Integrating with best-of breed solutions and APIs to piece it all together, Business Management Platform WHATS’ON by MEDIAGENIX takes the lead, with the seamless automation of the VoD distribution workflow orchestration as a case in point.

Media companies typically ingest content from a variety of content providers  on their VoD platforms. Take the case of broadcasters that want their content to be published on these platforms. Typically they need to deliver an XML file, video files and images according to certain specifications. Video files need to be transcoded and the encrypted  Images need to be resized, the relevant metadata needs to be included in the XML, and at the right moment it all needs to be published to the set-top box or the website back-end. In a multiplatform world, this rapidly results in a complex workflow.

To automate these workflows, Business Management Platform WHATS’ON communicates through REST APIs with a best-of-breed open-source workflow engine and data flow system.

How it works

Based on a defined workflow, the workflow engine seamlessly orchestrates the tasks that need to be performed at the right moment increasing efficiencies. External “workers”—which can be WHATS’ON services or external services—pick up these tasks, complete them and report this back to the workflow engine, until the complete workflow is executed. Statuses are automatically updated along the way so that the operator can follow the progress in WHATS’ON.

Each new task is placed into a relevant queue. There is a queue for resizing, for moving files via FTP, for transcoding, for instance. Any system can be stopped without affecting the overall workflow, and when, say, a transcoder needs to be replaced, nothing fundamental  needs to change to the workflow or WHATS’ON. Timers and signals are used so that, for instance, when all transcoding and resizing tasks are completed the workflow pauses until it is activated again. If in the meantime new information arrives, signals can stop this workflow and begin a new workflow. This provides a lot of possibilities and great flexibility.


WHATS’ON provides the tools for users to monitor task performance.through multiple gadgets. The external tasks gadget tracks all the tasks that are running at the moment. Another gadget tracks incidents. When for example, a source file is  missing or the FTP is down, the workflow is stopped. The user is alerted through the dashboard, restarts the server and the workflow continues from there.


With WHATS’ON serving as the content management system with all the metadata, this workflow automation solution can be applied to other media operation workflows, irrespective of whether we are talking VoD/OTT or Linear.

The integration of best-of-breed tools makes it possible to create, deploy and orchestrate complex workflows, make them visual and explicit, begin workflows within a workflow, work with multiple instances, use timers, limit scripting, have automatic versioning of workflows, prioritize, etc

The workflow functionality can evolve independent from WHATS’ON, so that no WHATS’ON upgrades are required.

Also read the article on OTT strategy and how to maximize OTT ROI.

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