By Chris Tribbey
The Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) asked its members attending the NAB Show to highlight what they offered at the annual confab. This is the first of two stories sharing the responses.
Ramki Sankaranarayanan, founder and CEO of Prime Focus Technologies, couldn’t be more pleased with his clients’ reactions to the company’s NAB Show news.
Prime Focus used the show to announce new functionality for its Clear Media ERP Suite, a new promo versioning automation module for Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The addition promises to increase operational efficiency for broadcasters and promotional content creators, offering an end-to-end workflow for promo creation, including work orders and seamless integration with Broadcast Management Software (BMS).
“It’s a significant automation kick-up,” Sankaranarayanan told MESA. “The efficiencies alone are so significant.” He estimates that PFT’s solutions have already helped content enterprises cut operational costs by 30%, and the new promo versioning automation will only bump that up more.
The reason MediaSilo launched an on-demand, real-time watermarking service — SafeStream — was simple, according to Jared Vincenti, product manager for the company: “It came out of conversations with our customers, where we found a lot of people who found the watermarking process to be time consuming and tedious,” he told MESA.
Using custom watermarking, SafeStream allows content providers to easily pair personal information (including emails and IP address) to the intended viewer of the content, making digital screeners both instantly available but also secure.
At the NAB Show, Vincenti showed how quickly any piece of video content can be watermarked, with the company’s cloud capabilities taking less than a minute to embed user information on a digital video.
“We leave the tedious tasks to the machines,” Vincenti said.
Francois Quereuil, senior director of marketing for Aspera, said the latest version of the IBM-owned company’s high-speed file transfer software and workflow automation solutions, geared toward the broadcast and media space — FASP 3.6 — has but one goal: serve as a replacement more expensive fiber-based options, and prove that cloud computing and storage are the way to go for the transfer of live video and data streams.
“High quality video streams are our main focus, 4K, 8K, without delay or glitches in the playback,” he told MESA. He noted that Aspera has also been integrating a QC tool with the latest version of FASP, and pointed to the company’s agreement with AOL as a highlight.
AOL kicked off the NAB Show by announcing it would use Aspera’s full suite of high-speed transfer and automation software as the backbone for its new media management platform.
Deluxe OnDemand, the company’s multi-screen and OTT media management platform, covers everything from TV Everywhere aps to the expansion of VOD and SVOD libraries and the ability for content companies to get electronic sell-through (EST) services off the ground.
But it’s how OnDemand works that has the industry’s attention, according to Todd Collart, SVP and GM of Deluxe OnDemand.
“It’s about making it simple, fast and cost effective, to deliver content to any device,” he told MESA at the NAB Show. “And now that customers are looking at things like HDR, our content delivery [solution] stands out: ingest once, then monetize on any device, any window, any platform. Clients don’t have to worry about [delivering] the latest formats.”
Then there’s Deluxe MediaCloud, the company’s multiscreen and OTT media management platform, a software-defined broadcast platform that offers media asset management, multi-channel playout and delivery. Maurizio Cimelli, managing director of MediaCloud, said that when his team arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 16, to set up for the NAB Show, by the end of the day MediaCloud had set up a fully functional TV station — featuring a 4K live video feed from Sweden — that broadcasted a live feed through the end of the show, with no hitches or glitches.
“From a show perspective, the proof is in the pudding,” Cimelli said. “This proves we’re a truly global business, and can offer our service anywhere in the world.”
Harrie Tholen, managing director of Civolution’s NexGuard, sees the sheer amount of international day-and-date releases occurring with content companies and their movies and TV shows, and knows there won’t be any shortage of business for his company.
“We’re having a very good year,” he told MESA at the NAB Show, pointing to the late February news that AMC Networks would be protecting its properties with the NexGuard forensic watermarking system.
Steve Pontillo, EVP and CTO for AMC Networks, even pointed to the demand for day-and-date content worldwide as the reason: “Viewers all over the world demand day-and-date access to their favorite AMC Networks content. It is paramount for us to protect our assets when they are at their most valuable,” he said. “NexGuard’s watermarking technology enables AMC Networks to trace the source of potential illegal copies of each video asset; this enhanced content security is a powerful deterrent against piracy and protects our revenue and that of our distribution partners.”
Tholen said AMC isn’t alone: increasingly both major studios and TV companies are doing everything digital, including early release screeners, and the need for forensic watermarking is more important than ever. Visible watermarks can be easily removed (“Pirates are clever,” Tholen said, shaking his head) and a visible watermark can truly ruin the viewing experience for intended viewers, if it’s there too long.
“As the release windows of worldwide TV content distribution continue to shrink, it is more important than ever to reduce the complexity behind the deployment of watermarking throughout the distribution lifecycle,” Tholen said.
Verizon Digital Media Services
Mary Kay Evans, chief marketing officer for Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS), noticed a trend at this year’s NAB Show: the top headlines, for the most part, concerned major companies partnering up together to offer media and entertainment industry solutions.
VDMS is part of this trend, coming into NAB on the heels of its announcement that it was going to acquire Volicon, a video capture, compliance monitoring, archival and clip creation workflow solutions company geared toward broadcasters.
“We’re growing like crazy, and not just from an acquisition perspective,” Evans told MESA at the NAB Show. “We’re seeing the consumption of video across our customers’ applications growing like mad.”
VDMS has seen video network traffic on its platform grow 70% in the past year, and it’s a true indication of how much consumers are turning to online content today, Evans added. “If consumers don’t get the best experience possible, they turn somewhere else, and that’s what we offer, a strong network, everywhere it’s needed,” she said.
LTO (Quantum, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM)
It’s been nearly 20 years since Quantum (then Certance), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and IBM jointly developed the Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology, an open format tape spec that aimed to offer high capacity storage, without sacrificing data integrity.
To date, more than 225 million LTO cartridges and more than 4.4 million drives have shipped, and according to Shawn Brume, business line executive of data protection and retention for IBM, LTO’s collection of tape storage products will only become more popular going forward.
“Most of the media and entertainment industry has seen itself become IT [centric], in just a five year period,” he said. “Film is a novelty, everything is digital, and it’s become such a fast transition, the amount of data has jumped [exponentially].”
For media and entertainment companies dealing with more data than anyone could have predicted, LTO’s seventh generation technology supports tape cartridge storage with a compressed capacity of up to 15 TB, and data transfer rates of up to 750 MB per second.
“LTO gives companies the power to move data around, and do it affordably,” Brume said.
Mediamorph CEO Rob Gardos and his team came into the NAB Show riding on a high: in March, the Mediamorph Platform was named a Cablefax 2016 Tech Award winner in the Commercial Software category, a nod to the forward-thinking capabilities of what Mediamorph offers.
“For us, what we’re finding, is that ‘rights aware’ is the correct term for what our focus is,” Gardos told MESA at the NAB Show. His company continues to focus on helping content owners quickly and simply manage how they content to consumers, and avoid any pitfalls with the regional rights associated with what they distribute.
Mediamorph used the event to tout its latest advancements in helping companies determine what they have available for which devices; overcoming the difficulties associated with managing new deals for TV Everywhere and other digital-first contracts; and streamlining the data associated with any given title, from prices to promotions to windows.
“Everything we do is about driving the monetization of an asset, all in the context of the supply chain,” Gardos said.