M&E Journal: How Advanced MAM and Storage Can Help Monetize Content

(Avid will showcase its solutions April 8-11 at the NAB Show, booth SU801)

By David Colantuoni, Vice President of Product Management, Avid

The explosion of content creation — and distribution platforms along with it — has stressed a media industry already pressured by ever-tightening budgets. To meet the challenges of remote workflows, playout to multiple platforms and the need for production efficiencies, more intelligent and economical ways of storing, finding and managing assets as well as greater production speed and mobility are critical.

While better asset management and more sophisticated storage are streamlining production and saving costs, these benefits aren’t necessarily most important.

The end goal is making the best use of, and deriving the most value from, media organizations’ most valuable asset: content. Unlocking the value of content through discovery and leveraging assets in new and often more personal ways, can bring more viewers, better experiences and greater profits.

Working smarter

Technology providers are innovating to deliver scalable, flexible and intelligent architectures. Independent solutions have given way to end-to-end ecosystems capable of scaling and managing assets logically and flexibly. These systems also closely integrate with storage technology so media organizations can leverage content not just across locations and continents but also across brands. Content owners, broadcasters and rights holders can now produce and distribute content from anywhere to anywhere, and on virtually any device.

That means more opportunities for viewers and more opportunities for media companies to monetize valuable content.

The newsroom may be evolving faster than any other area to meet the needs of today’s “always-on” news environment. Journalists are not only benefitting from faster, easier workflows without traditional bottlenecks, but tools are providing new autonomy. They can search, access and create content in the field, send packages wherever needed, and get video on air and online faster — all from their laptops. Workflows also seamlessly integrate with web, mobile and social platforms, and allow stakeholders to view, comment on or log footage in a browser.

Unlocking content’s value

In addition to empowering content creators and operational advantages, highly integrated ecosystems that include sophisticated MAM systems and shared storage are bringing profound business benefits. Virtualized workflows, greater collaboration capabilities and easier access to media files are delivering resource and cost efficiencies, more productivity and higher-quality content.

And functionalities like integrated metadata sharing are helping companies better leverage and expand their assets; AI is enabling clips creation in a fraction of the time it takes to manually locate needed assets. Many of the tools that facilitate this new collaboration, speed and mobility are remarkably easy to deploy and use but feature sophisticated technologies.

It all starts with a common, easy-to-use interface built on a web browser. A lightweight, quick-to-launch client that can be used in a web browser anywhere with very little training seamlessly connects to a data center housing storage and the servers that run the infrastructure or to cloud or hybrid environments. The ability to move from on-premise to hybrid to cloud provides the portability so essential to today’s speed-driven and remote workflows.

App-based services

The best search mechanics allow you to find and retrieve content quickly and easily regardless of its location – in the cloud and in on-premise, archive or nearline storage. This puts a particular clip that may be archived or parked temporarily on nearline, or on online storage, all at a user’s fingertips.

Within this integrated infrastructure, accessing media functions is as simple as selecting the desired app, switching on the modules needed, and customizing the workflow with the required media services and partner connectors. Apps cover everything from searching and browsing media, researching data and social media feeds, logging, editing, review and approval, publishing and more. All are accessed from a common role-based interface for a consistent and unified user experience.

New-age storage

Software-defined storage architecture is designed to accommodate the shift to the cloud while supporting on-premise and hybrid workflows. On-demand access to a shared pool of centralized storage can be quickly provisioned, repurposed and tailored to each workspace’s capacity. It’s also designed to be fluid, moving assets where they should be at a given time and saving costs by eliminating the need to purchase more production storage. A ‘‘media-aware” system keeps assets close when needed, moves to nearline when appropriate, then further away to archive.

Intelligent storage is also critical to support increasingly advanced functions like cognitive services.

Sophisticated searching of potentially millions of assets can be achieved by linking all storage. But there’s much more, including services like phonetic indexing, indexing the spoken word of ingested content, phenomes or just the voice. Services can also be used to complement a metadata search or tie together as infrastructure gets more sophisticated.

AI: Content discovery to QC

This new ecosystem is also leveraging the power of AI, which is being used for automated metadata extraction, transcription services and content indexing. The process of taking content, applying an algorithm to derive time-based metadata that is then registered in an asset management system is greatly enhancing content discoverability. An algorithm that converts speech to text, aligning each word in the text to markers within the content makes it possible to locate where a certain word or phrase is said.

Content indexing can also find voice signatures and identify where a certain speaker is speaking. Additional layers or strata of time-based metadata allow even more detailed searching. AI algorithms are so advanced that they do more than identify faces – they can infer the mood of each person at any given time. More AI algorithms applied to a content library enable increasingly sophisticated searching and can automate often prohibitively time-and cost-intensive human tasks.

Perhaps even more valuable is the ability to discover valuable content long after it has been archived. Often, we don’t know in advance what content will be significant. AI can help uncover valuable assets buried deep within a content library. With enough metadata strata you triangulate in to find any desired content.

Phonetic search also has extraordinary promise. A time-based indexing algorithm can convert text into phonemes that take you right to specific locations within a piece of content so that keyword searches can be conducted on never-before-transcribed libraries.

Better monetization, greater growth

All of this innovation drives toward a fundamental benefit: the best use and monetization of assets. Most intelligently and economically storing assets and enabling users to easily access and manipulate those assets, wherever they are, is at the heart of these systems. They allow more creativity and the ability to personalize content when appropriate. It’s time to use technology to help leverage content as the ultimate driver of business growth.


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