When thinking about improving the ROI from investing in MAM solutions, instead of thinking about managing archives or adapting legacy linear workflows, let’s look from the other direction. Why not start onscreen? On screens?
If we could start again, think critically about where better media management workflow really adds the most value in 2016. What do we see? An explosion of video; everywhere. New versions and streams on every screen; anytime. Instead of thinking about the usual angle of how they were delivered, let’s look at it from the audience’s point of view.
Content is now SO easy to find and SO easy to share. Regardless of your digital tribe, whether you’re a boomer, x’er or millennial, viewing is compulsive and greedy. As well as availability and mobility, it’s finding and sharing that is actually changing media habits. The use of MAM systems to enable finding and sharing has changed too. Workflows now directly add metadata to aid downstream content placement, search and recommendation.
An entire industry has emerged alongside broadcast based around box sets and binge-watching subscriptions and "bundles." Marketing and distribution and formats are being dramatically altered by the rise (and rise) of the digital box set and its exclusivity. Amazon, Netflix, Sky and the explosion of OTT services constantly rewire what we now desire. Without linear channel-based broadcast workflows to adapt to and the limitations of the EPG, pure VoD players have been able to breakthrough many traditional barriers.
To establish their own USPs in a highly competitive market, the pure players have progressed beyond the traditional notion of an asset and how assets are described in an EPG. Often transcending traditional geographic and lingual barriers, the OTT services have to supply multiple versions of content and enable a rich user experience. To do this, an asset might need to group not just a single instance of video and audio but all the versions, trailers, stills, captions and descriptive metadata that are linked by a common title or campaign.
Intelligent workflow automation enables highly efficient delivery to all partners and platforms. This could, of course, include linear, and indeed many US networks have created their own new content hubs to better serve both linear and non-linear growth. European broadcasters can now order fully internationalized packages from leading US networks.
Other new media services drive our viewing laterally. The quality might be variable, but the ads are getting better; most of all, YouTube knows what I like. Killer tags or keywords guide me and recommend adjacent content, and suddenly I just can’t leave the Tube, and its growing number of ad-sponsored channels (yes channels). How do these keywords get there? And more broadly, how do they get to an EPG, a PPG (personal programming guide), the distributers Grid or the App?
These keywords (e.g. actors’ names, series and episode synopsis, news) can be added directly as part of the upstream workflow by the programming team, either manually but preferably automatically from EPK’s or licensed external data sources such as from IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. This too can now be coordinated by the MAM workflow.
Metadata can be used to dynamically group and recommend content into “packages” of media – making the difference in process and management between “publish the [your language] version of all [number of episodes in series N] of [Program] series [N]” and “publish [Program] series [N]” – or alternatively “push all [insert name of favorite actor/cross promotion] movies/programs.” This allows dynamic recommendation and thus revenue from cross service branding, promotions and live events.
All of this gives us a perspective on improved ROI from investing in MAM beyond linear TV. Legacy linear is just another version and, not withstanding broadcast licensing conditions, apart from frame accuracy for ad insertion and its special access services, it is not so complicated. For the best ROI from any MAM system, legacy linear may not be the best place to start.