News & Views

Transformative collaboration: Enhancing media workflow efficiency at Anuvu

  • Anuvu’s transformation towards a unified solution for media workflows
  • Managing user acceptance during the shift from spreadsheets to a central platform 
  • The importance of partnerships with tech vendors across the supply chain 
  • Seamless localization of content 
  • Navigating industry challenges with agility 
  • The role of AI and machine learning 
  • Using metadata for content discoverability and personalized experiences 

  

In the dynamic media and entertainment landscape, companies often face the challenge of transforming their workflows to keep pace with evolving technologies and global demands. In a recent MEDIAGENIX webinar, Anuvu shared its transformative journey, shedding light on the hurdles faced and triumphs achieved by integrating MEDIAGENIX’s VOD capabilities. 

Anuvu provides connectivity and content for markets on the move, including airlines, cruise lines, and mission-critical maritime, energy and government services. MEDIAGENIX offers a comprehensive range of SaaS suites for content strategy, content-value management, and content scheduling, including world-renowned product brands such as WHATS’ON and BeBanjo.  

The conversation between Joshua Smith, Content Engineering Manager at Anuvu, and Jess Payne, Technical Account Manager for MEDIAGENIX, hosted by Dan Meyer, Sales Manager for MEDIAGENIX, also shed light on the significance of change management and collaboration among vendors in the industry.  

Let’s delve into the key takeaways from their insightful discussion. 

  

Embarking on the transformation journey 

Anuvu, initially a conglomerate of companies utilizing disparate tools and spreadsheet-based workflows, sought a unified one-stop solution. Joshua Smith, a key figure in Anuvu’s transformation, reflects on the quest for a mythical unicorn – a product that covers all bases off the shelf. This search led them to BeBanjo, a decision influenced by the VOD platform’s ability to seamlessly integrate various components and act as a central hub for a cohesive supply chain. 

Strategic partnerships and collaborative problem-solving 

As Anuvu navigated the complexities of transformation, partnerships played a pivotal role. Collaborations with BeBanjo (now MEDIAGENIX, red.), upstream partners like Rightsline and downstream partners like SDVI form the backbone of Anuvu’s streamlined workflows. These partnerships facilitate a holistic approach, ensuring that changes made upstream are reflected downstream in real-time. Jess notes: “Anuvu is unique in servicing a multitude of platforms through diverse partnerships and dealing with equipment challenges. We aim to lift some of that burden off them in our collaboration.” 

Joshua acknowledges that Anuvu relies on such partners to address challenges in their ecosystem, encompassing both old-gen and cutting-edge systems: “In our market, we’re dealing with a mix of ancient MPEG-1 systems and old-school tapes like VHS and Hi8 while also embracing the latest 4K HDR technology. We started with about 200 systems, but now it’s almost 800. Airlines, trains, buses, and ships are adding systems to meet customer needs. The platform’s ability to schedule and differentiate between analogue and digital content is crucial as the variety of systems and requirements keeps expanding. It’s a daily challenge, but the power lies in collaborating. Coming together to discuss problems, meeting downstream and upstream partners, and finding the best solutions within our ecosystem – that collaboration is the key.“  

Jess agrees: “Our approach is simple: if we can’t meet you where you are and help you reach your goals, we become a blocker. It’s crucial for MEDIAGENIX to understand your problems, collaborate with your partners, and maintain an open mindset and architecture. Our openly available, well-documented APIs make integration seamless for mutual success.” 

Overcoming resistance to change 

Transitioning from spreadsheets to one source of truth was a significant cultural shift for Anuvu’s internal users. Joshua emphasizes the need for a gradual approach, conducting open workshops and showcasing the new system’s benefits. Jess highlights the importance of making the transition as seamless as possible, prioritizing design, flexibility, and a positive user experience. 

Dan emphasizes that when change is organized effectively, delivering quick results and showcasing benefits throughout the process becomes achievable. This sentiment resonates with Jess, who acknowledges that organizations vary in their readiness for change. However, resistance tends to dissipate once teams experience the positive impact on collaboration and personalization. 

Real-time collaboration and the ability to make last-minute changes empowered the organization to meet the dynamic needs of their customers with agility.

Enhancing efficiency and deliverables 

The pivotal shift from Excel’s fragmented work environment to a cohesive platform streamlined scheduling and provided a unified repository for metadata, translations, and synopses. The impact on Anuvu’s deliverables process and airline customers was substantial. Anuvu witnessed efficiency gains that transcended the entire supply chain. Real-time collaboration and the ability to make last-minute changes empowered the organization to meet the dynamic needs of their customers with agility. 

Seamless localization of content and metadata 

Joshua delves into the challenges of managing content across offices globally, catering to teams in multiple locations and diverse customers with audiences in numerous languages. He highlights the critical importance of localization, stressing that having local partners who understand cultural nuances and linguistic differences is key to success. 

BeBanjo’s support for localization proved instrumental. The platform’s accessibility 24/7 from different offices and hubs allowed teams to work collaboratively, ensuring content and metadata could be efficiently adapted to various languages and regional requirements. 

Joshua details the significance of BeBanjo’s API in streamlining Anuvu’s translation process: “We’re all about bringing content to a global audience, and that means translating everything. Thanks to the API, we streamline the process. From English synopses to cast and crew info, we send it out to translators for languages including Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Norwegian, you name it. BeBanjo takes care of the heavy lifting. It compares existing metadata with customer requirements, highlighting what’s missing. If an Arabic or Dutch translation is missing, BeBanjo points it out, and we send only what’s needed to the translators. The translations are neatly stored in the central repository, ready for our metadata teams to make it accessible for users worldwide.” 

Navigating industry challenges  

The conversation touches on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. Joshua acknowledges the industry’s shift towards recreating the at-home experience in various travel modes: “As people are trying to bring the home experience to the cloud, 4K HDR is the sweet spot. Forget about 8K – the file sizes are huge, like a terabyte or more. That’s a problem when you have limited storage on seatbacks. This is all about maximizing content with minimal storage, and let’s be real, after 4K, our eyes can’t even tell the difference. With limited screen sizes, it’s all about delivering quality without the storage struggle.” 

Joshua emphasizes the need to find efficiencies with tighter budgets while maintaining an appetite for quality content: “We don’t aim to just bring the latest and greatest from Disney+, Netflix, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal and Sony to in-flight entertainment; we want to curate a unique experience. From partnering with Hot Ones and A24 and showcasing viral YouTube videos, we’re offering a lineup that goes beyond the mainstream with content that sets us apart. So that our customers can say: when you fly with us, expect more than the usual blockbusters – we’re bringing you the latest, most interesting gems you won’t find anywhere else.” 

We’re looking to machine learning to speed up our processes.

The role of AI and Machine Learning  

Joshua sees integrating AI and machine learning as crucial for the industry’s evolution. He envisions leveraging AI tools to streamline processes, reduce timelines, and enhance content selection: “We’re exploring the power of AI beyond basic automation. With timelines getting tighter in our industry, we’re looking to machine learning to speed up our processes. Machine learning can analyze historical data, making content selections faster and more efficiently. It helps in compliance screening, flagging potential issues for human experts to review. Instead of hours of manual video screening, AI speeds it up, focusing human attention on critical markers.” Jess echoes the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of agility in responding to industry dynamics: “We operate on two levels: constant small changes for optimization at 80%, and when that 20% arises, we step in with project support. Our goal is to be as agile as our customers, supporting them where they aim to be.” 

Content discoverability, viewership metrics and KPI tracking 

The participants discuss the growing importance of metadata in the industry. Joshua stresses the need for enriched metadata to support advanced interactives, ensuring a personalized and engaging user experience. Jess highlights MEDIAGENIX’s commitment to providing a well-structured metadata model to support content discoverability. 

The conversation concludes with a brief discussion on viewership metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Joshua outlines Anuvu’s approach to capturing data through BeBanjo, utilizing Tableau for data visualization and continuous improvement opportunities. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, this case exemplifies the power of collaboration, technology, and adaptability in navigating the complexities of the media and entertainment industry. Anuvu’s journey is a testimony to the transformative power of strategic partnerships, user-focused design, and a commitment to seamless localization.  

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