What started out as a simple B2B music distribution workflow enterprise has evolved today into the go-to company for entertainment awards shows looking to manage everything from submissions to voting, and the first stop for independent music artists, record labels and distributors to manage and deliver audio and music video files to programmers, broadcasters, and journalists.
Say hello to Toronto-based Yangaroo, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with new partnerships in the industry, a bold new TV Advertising Compliance & Clearance Platform geared toward for broadcaster compliance, and several artificial intelligence and machine learning projects around the automation of tagging and data verification.
Grant Schuetrumpf, president of advertising for Yangaroo, spoke with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) about how his company became the entertainment industry platform of choice for everything from the Grammys to the Emmys, how secure distribution of content became one of the founding principles of the company, and how integral industry data standards have become for Yangaroo’s business model.
MESA: How did Yangaroo come about, what was the impetus for the company, what gap(s) in the digital content management and distribution space has the company sought to fill?
Schuetrumpf: Yangaroo was founded to improve the efficiencies associated with business-to-business music distribution workflows. Since its inception in 1999, it has evolved to become the cornerstone of award show management and one of the few advertising distribution service providers with a complete North American footprint.
Thousands of independent music artists, and all of the record labels and distributors use Yangaroo’s Music Platform to manage and deliver their audio and music video files to radio programmers, TV broadcasters, journalists, and other industry music influencers anywhere in the world.
Yangaroo’s Awards Show Management Platform is the entertainment industry platform of choice. Industry awards such as The Grammys, The Golden Globes, The Emmys, The MTV VMAs, The Academy of Country Music Awards, and The JUNOs, use this platform to conveniently manage the submission, nomination, streaming, judging and voting for their thousands of members located around the globe.
Many notable brands, agencies, production companies and broadcasters use our Advertising Platform to manage and deliver their TV and radio advertising commercials to over 27,000 directly connected broadcast destinations across North America and now parts of Central & South America. Yangaroo provide services for the general advertising, direct response, and political markets — ensuring TV, radio and digital advertising reaches the required destinations on time, every time. Yangaroo focused on making the process highly automated and trackable with detailed reporting available throughout the distribution process. Yangaroo delivers any length of video through the platform which opens up our client base to now over 4,000 additional long-form directly connected destinations.
MESA: What does Yangaroo’s cloud-based tech platform do for those in the advertising and music space that others don’t, what makes it stand out?
Schuetrumpf: Yangaroo has built a platform and team that understands the needs of all stakeholders in the distribution equation. For those who send media to broadcasters, Yangaroo makes it quick and easy to import lists, automatically ingest traffic instructions, select from a complete list of all broadcast destinations in North America and validate all aspects of the delivery to confirm the successful completion of a campaign. For the broadcaster, Yangaroo has built an easy to use system that allows for the free flow of metadata and media through a variety of systems integrations and a full and specific API. For both the sender and recipient, Yangaroo provides industry-leading customer success engineers — industry professionals who understand what needs to get done and are ready to make it happen. Yangaroo’s focus has always been on innovation and automation throughout its platform. This ease of use translates to less data entry, manual efforts, and most importantly translates to cost flexibility in the delivery of its service.
MESA: The Yangaroo Awards offering has become an industry-standard, used by some of the most significant awards shows around. How does this end-to-end solution end up becoming the go-to digital solution for the Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and others?
Schuetrumpf: The entertainment industry has trusted our diligence in security and media workflows for years — so the transition to support awards show submissions processes and online adjudication was a natural one. To their credit, it was CARAS (JUNO Awards) in Canada that initially connected the dots for us. They recognized Yangaroo had eliminated the use of CD-Pro distribution at radio — so why not do the same for award show judging. The Recording Academy came on board next, and their continual drive towards excellence in high security and procedures has allowed us to innovate and collaborate with some of the largest auditing firms in the world. While Yangaroo has built a robust and reliable platform, the needs of each show are unique — so Yangaroo has specifically tailored both the user experience and the administration tools to facilitate fast entry and management. Our work has found us on the front-end of the process as well – facilitating fan votes for everything from the People’s Choice Awards to the American Country Music Awards.
Yangaroo also recently began a collaboration with the Producers Guild of America to re-engineer the technical aspects of their certification process and website (P.G.A designation). It has allowed us to add certification procedures, along with protocol and management to the platform.
MESA: Security is of paramount importance for any M&E cloud-based solution. How does Yangaroo go about ensuring the secure-delivery of the assets clients move around on the platform?
Schuetrumpf: The secure distribution of media was one of the founding principles of the organization. Yangaroo maintains a patent for our use of watermarking tied to the typing cadence of users and continue to innovate throughout the distribution chain. Yangaroo has regularly had to balance the demand for simplicity of workflow with the high-security needs of our entertainment customers. Where possible, the complexity remains in the background never to be seen by the end-user. Whether it is encryption at rest for media files or rigorous rules associated with data access within the organization — we think it is crucial to foster a respect for the principles behind the need for security amongst our team members. If you build the best systems but don’t inculcate the right culture amongst your team — the human element will always be the weakest link.
For that reason, Yangaroo engages in regular staff training and awareness exercises. Yangaroo is also completing its certification for the Trust Partner Network (TPN). This is an excellent program and has aided in shining a light on some lesser considerations as Yangaroo works toward its compliance.
MESA: What are some of Yangaroo’s favorite use-case examples where media and companies made especially good use of the company’s services?
Schuetrumpf: Yangaroo has use-case examples and stories across each industry. Whether it’s an independent music artist uploading their music to our Music Platform and being found and played by a radio broadcaster, or an awards show that takes advantage of a customized version of our Awards Show Management Platform to improve their overall operational efficiencies, user experience, and security, or even a media or creative agency using our Advertising Platform as part of a full-service solution for the trafficking and delivery of their spot and radio advertising, and even a national broadcaster utilizing our Advertising Platform to improve their advertising workflows and overall management of advertising. Every day we reflect on the achievements and look even more forward to the new opportunities in front of us.
MESA: What’s next for Yangaroo, what innovations and advances can we look forward to next from the company?
Schuetrumpf: Yangaroo has never rested on its laurels when it comes to moving the needle for innovation in broadcast workflows. Yangaroo has spent a lot of time building integration and data processing tools utilized in the normalization of traffic data to the BXF format. Mix that with our extended use of Ad-ID, EIDR and DDEX and Yangaroo makes the data interchange with broadcasters just as fast and easy as Yangaroo has made media distribution.
Yangaroo has also leveraged our experience in certification and compliance management systems to architect a new TV Advertising Compliance & Clearance Platform. It allows for faster and easier collaboration on approvals for broadcaster compliance.
Yangaroo is also working on several AI/ML projects related to automating aspects of tagging and data verification that can be very time consuming or error-prone in post-production workflows.