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Better Together! Dalet Acquires Ooyala Flex Media Platform business.

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Jan 28, 2020
The story behind Dalet StoreFront: open innovation, team collaboration and workflow expansion
Hungry audiences are demanding more content than ever before. Content creators and owners need to become more efficient at exposing and monetizing their content - Dalet StoreFront brings them the tools to achieve just that.

How did Dalet StoreFront come about?

Dalet StoreFront is a new way for media professionals to connect with their clients. It’s a window into the Dalet MAM inventory engaging clients through a familiar shopping cart approach. It’s a SaaS (Software as a Service) portal that ensures content security while showcasing it to a community of clients and prospects. It’s a win-win situation that brings in untapped revenues connecting content to clients.

Economists have an unusual word to describe the value in simple commodities like gold and platinum. It’s “fungible,” meaning that a substance is exchangeable. One piece of gold is the same as another piece. When you’re ordering gold, you don’t need to specify anything apart from how much of it you want to buy. You can split it up, mould it, melt it, recombine it and absolutely nothing has changed. You still only ever need to specify the weight of gold that you want to buy - or sell.

Most things are not like that. Cars aren’t fungible. Nor are houses. And nor is media. You can’t buy media by the ounce. Media has many more dimensions and characteristics, all of which affect its value. But that’s only part of the story, because any given piece of media will have a different value to different buyers. Wildlife footage has very little value to an organisation that specialises in motor racing.
 

Let’s look at this in more detail

The media landscape today is significantly different in almost every way to how it was thirty years ago. Films are now files. Negatives are numbers. Cupboards full of tapes and reels have migrated to the cloud. And “supervising” all of this is a Media Asset Management system (MAM). Files are not physical things, and that opens up an incredible range of possibilities, but, because you can’t store non-physical things on shelves, you need an all-embracing MAM system like Dalet to keep track of all the ephemeral properties of millions of blobs of data.
 

What is Dalet StoreFront?

Dalet StoreFront is a window into the hidden value of a media organisation's media assets. It allows existing Dalet users to display their content to other media organisations, safely and simply. Essentially, it uses Dalet’s ability to orchestrate content to provide a browsing and fulfillment back-end to Dalet StoreFront’s users.

The beauty of this arrangement is that there is virtually zero extra effort needed to prepare media. All the information - the metadata - about the media would have been input to the Dalet MAM as part of the normal process of onboarding media files. This is likely to include information about the title, authors, rights (including restrictions about usage) and also data about what’s contained within the clip, possibly including timecode references. There would also be information about format, resolution and whether or not the clip is in HDR, for example.

This metadata, which needs to be there anyway as part of the normal usage of a Dalet MAM system, is exactly what’s needed as the basis for a transaction with a potential buyer. And because of the richness of the metadata, Dalet StoreFront is able to make sure that a media purchaser only sees content that it is allowed to acquire.
 

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Dalet StoreFront in Use

Imagine a subscription based television provider specialising in travel and wildlife programming. Their world-class media content – programs, trailers, and B-roll content – needs to be distributed to a global network of broadcasters and partners. In a traditional model, the broadcaster/partner would need to email a request for materials. This request could be for marketing material to promote a program, highlights or materials to create the highlights, or the program itself.

On the receiving end of the request – the television provider would need to check the rights of the content, the agreement with the partner, search the materials and send over a selection proxy assets. Once confirmed there is yet another step is to finalize the transaction and send assets, hopefully in the right format, via a file transfer service like Aspera. Every step requires manual interaction and investigation. When pressed for time, corners get cut and a sampling of what could be offered from the rich archives is shared for consideration. It’s a daunting process that affects the entire operation and more importantly, could shortchange the impact of the final material if a lesser quality asset was provided. 
 

Marketers Love Self-Serve

Partners and broadcasters require marketing materials to promote programming.  Eliminating the one-to-one requests, access to assets is predetermined, so only pre-approved marketing content is exposed to shoppers. Not only does this simplify the mass distribution of marketing material for new shows, it also makes it far more efficient to serve those broadcasters looking for a very specific asset...one that could promote the re-airing of an older program in a specific region.
 

Find that B-Roll!

Even a five-second shot used as B-roll can make all the difference to a producer looking for a specific shot to use in their highlight reel or production. Dalet StoreFront flips the traditional model and lets producers browse the catalog as opposed to an individual sending producers a handful of shots that may or may not be relevant. Dalet StoreFront broadens the selection to include ALL suitable content available for use. Requests for assets are sent to sales bringing the process down to a few simple steps.
 

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Prep Your Content for Global Delivery

Much like marketing, handing localization of programming content under the traditional model involved many steps and efficiencies. New programs slated for worldwide distribution often need to be dubbed/subtitled in multiple languages.  Dalet StoreFront presents localization entities (ex. companies like SDI Media, a Dalet customer) with the required proxy videos to begin their work. This eliminates the guesswork of who is to translate what along with the transfer back and forth of materials. The Dalet MAM back-end manages the delivery in the right file format, and delivers it to the relevant, pre-configured endpoint (e.g. a cloud secure storage location, a CMS, etc).
 

Add More Angles to Your Fast Breaking News

With news organizations constantly updating their catalog, Dalet StoreFront answers the call for immediacy and access to assets that will help journalists deliver hyper-local reporting. News organisations can share and deliver media as soon as content has been ingested and logged into the Dalet MAM. It doesn’t matter whether content has been on the system for years, or has just arrived. It’s all equally available giving newsrooms the material they need to build breaking stories and journalists the right media to localize their stories or bring in historical context.
 

Open Up Your Archives… Safely!

In the world of sports, archived content becomes even more valuable with time. Iconic plays and players are safely preserved in well-guarded content vaults. The sheer value of the material means no direct access for outside partners. Dalet StoreFront connects to the Dalet MAM archive, creating a separate security layer that tethers the archived assets in a safe manner. This allows clubs, leagues and other partners to browse the archives and select the materials they want to use in their productions whether it’s for highlights, programs or game recap. The Dalet back-end manages the entire process from presenting the materials, to requests for assets and delivery.

Running on Amazon Web Services, Dalet StoreFront makes these and many other workflow scenarios happen. Every shape and form of content becomes searchable, browsable - and obtainable. It’s safe, efficient, and is set to transform the way businesses find, acquire and incorporate content into their own productions.
 

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Do You Need Dalet StoreFront?

If your organization needs to seamlessly connect and expose content inventory to your community, empowering discoverability of untapped content, ripe for monetization and licensing, then Dalet StoreFront is the right solution for you! A Cloud-native SaaS service running on Amazon Web Services, Dalet StoreFront brings in untapped revenues connecting content to clients.

Learn more and request a Dalet StoreFront demo at https://www.dalet.com/business-services/storefront.

 

 

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may also receive our newsletters (if not, email us and we’ll sign you up) – the latest edition of which lists 10 reasons to visit Dalet at the upcoming IBC show (stand 8.B77). Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be using this blog to expand on some of those reasons, starting this week with a focus on Media Asset Management (MAM) and the Dalet Galaxy platform. Three years ago, putting together an educational seminar for SMPTE, Bruce Devlin (star of this blog and Chief Media Scientist at Dalet) interviewed a number of MAM vendors and end users about what a MAM should be and do. Pulling together the responses – starting with a large number of post-it notes and ending with a large Venn diagram – it was obvious that what “MAM” means to you is very dependent on how you want to use it. What we ended up with was a “core” of functionality that was common to all MAM-driven workflows and a number of outer circles with workflow-specific tasks. This is exactly how Dalet Galaxy is built – a unified enterprise MAM core, supporting News, Production, Sports, Archive, Program Prep and Radio, with task-specific tools unique to each business solution. At IBC we’ll be showcasing these workflows individually, but based on the same Dalet Galaxy core. For news, we have two demonstrations. Dalet News Suite is our customizable, Enterprise multimedia news production and distribution system. This IBC we’ll be showcasing new integration with social media and new tools for remote, mobile and web-based working. We’ll also be demonstrating our fully-packaged, end-to-end solution for small and mid-size newsrooms, Dalet NewsPack. In sports workflows, quick turnaround and metadata entry is essential – we’ll be showing how Dalet Sports Factory, with new advanced logging capabilities, enables fast, high-quality sports production and distribution. IBC sees the European debut of the new Dalet Galaxy-based Dalet Radio Suite, the most comprehensive, robust and flexible radio production and playout solution available, featuring Dalet OneCut editing, a rock-solid playout module featuring integration with numerous third parties and class-leading multi-site operations. Dalet Media Life provides a rich set of user tools for program prep, archive and production workflows. New for IBC this year, we’ll be previewing new “track stack” functionality for multilingual and multi-channel audio workflows, extended integration with Adobe Premiere and enhanced workflow automation. If you want to see how the Dalet Galaxy platform can support your workflow, or be central to multiple workflows click here to book at meeting at IBC or get in touch with our sales team. You can also find out more about what we’re showing at IBC here.
More Secrets of Metadata
Followers of Bruce’s Shorts may remember an early episode on the Secrets of Metadata where I talked about concentrating on your metadata for your business, because it adds the value that you need. It seems the world is catching onto the idea of business value of metadata, and I don’t even have to wrestle a snake to explain it! Over the last 10 years of professional media file-based workflows, there have been many attempts at creating standardized metadata schemes. A lot of these have been generated by technologists trying to do the right thing or trying to fix a particular technical problem. Many of the initiatives have suffered from limited deployment and limited adoption because the fundamental questions they were asking centered on technology and not the business application. If you center your metadata around a business application, then you automatically take into account the workflows required to create, clean, validate, transport, store and consume that metadata. If you center the metadata around the technology, then some or all of those aspects are forgotten – and that’s where the adoption of metadata standards falls down. Why? It’s quite simple. Accurate metadata can drive business decisions that in turn improves efficiency and covers the cost of the metadata creation. Many years ago, I was presenting with the head of a well-known post house in London. He stood on stage and said in his best Australian accent “I hate metadata." You guys want me to make accurate, human oriented metadata in my facility for no cost, so that you guys can increase your profits at my expense.” Actually he used many shorter words that I’m not able to repeat here J. The message that he gave is still completely valid today: If you’re going to create accurate metadata, then who is going to consume it? If the answer is no one, ever, then you’re doing something that costs money for no results. That approach does not lead to a good long-term business. If the metadata is consumed within your own organization, then you ask the question: “Does it automate one or many processes downstream?” The automation might be a simple error check or a codec choice or an email generation or a target for a search query. The more consuming processes there are for a metadata field, the more valuable it can become. If the metadata is consumed in a different organization, then you have added value to the content by creating metadata. The value might be expressed in financial terms or in good-will terms, but fundamentally a commercial transaction is taking place by the creation of that metadata. The UK’s Digital Production Partnership and the IRT in Germany have both made great progress towards defining just enough metadata to reduce friction in B2B (business to business) file transfer in the broadcast world. Cablelabs continues to do the same for the cable world and standards bodies such as SMPTE are working with the EBU to make a core metadata definition that accelerates B2B ecommerce type applications. I would love to say that we’ve cracked the professional metadata problem, but the reality is that we’re still half way through the journey. I honestly don’t know how many standards we need. A single standard that covers every media application will be too big and unwieldy. A different standard for each B2B transaction type will cost too much to implement and sustain. I’m thinking we’ll be somewhere between these two extremes in the “Goldilocks zone,” where there are just enough schemas and the implementation cost is justified by the returns that a small number of standards can bring. As a Media Asset Management company, we spend our daily lives wrestling with the complexities of metadata. I live in hope that at least the B2B transaction element of that metadata will one day be as easy to author and as interoperable as a web page. Until then, why not check out the power of search from Luc’s blog. Without good metadata, it would be a lot less exciting.
Why Ingest to the Cloud?
With Cloud storage becoming cheaper and the data transfer to services such as Amazon S3 storage being free of charge, there are numerous reasons why ingesting to the Cloud should be part of any media organization’s workflow. So, stop trying to calculate how much storage your organization consumes by day, month or year, or whether you need a NAS, a SAN or a Grid, and find out why Cloud could be just what your organization needs. Easy Sharing of Content Instead of production crews or field journalists spending copious amounts of time and money shipping hard drives to the home site or being limited by the bandwidth of an FTP server when uploading content, with object storage services like Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, uploading content to the Cloud has become easy and cheap. Once content is uploaded to the Cloud, anyone with secure credentials can access it from anywhere in the world. Rights Access to Content In recent news, cloud storage services such as Apple iCloud were hacked and private content was stolen, increasing the concern about security and access rights to content in the Cloud. With secure connections such as VPN and rights access management tools, you can specify, by user, group access rights and duration of how long content can be accessed on the Cloud. Both Microsoft and Amazon have setup security features to protect your data as well as to replicate content to more secure locations. Cloud Services to Process the Data By uploading content to the Cloud, in the backend you can setup services and workflows to run QC checks on the content, stream media, transcode to multiple formats, and organize the content for search and retrieval using a Media Asset Management (MAM) System hosted on the Cloud. Cloud Scalability Rather than buying an expensive tape library or continuing to purchase more hardware for a spinning disk storage, with cloud storage, one can scale down or scale up with the click of a button. No need for over-provisioning. Disaster Recovery An organization can easily set up secure data replication from one site to another or institute replication rules to copy content to multiple virtual containers, offering assurance that content will not be lost. Amazon S3 provides durable infrastructure to store important data and is designed for durability of 99.99999999% of objects. Moving Towards an OPEX Model As operations and storage move to the Cloud, you can control your investment by paying as you use services and storing content on the Cloud. Instead of investing on infrastructure maintenance and support, with operations on the Cloud, you can focus the investment on what makes a difference, the content and not the infrastructure to support it. Why Upload to the Cloud? The Cloud is no longer a technology of the future, with cloud storage adopted by Google, Facebook and Instagram, Cloud technology is the reality of today. By adopting this technology you control your investment by usage needs, backup your data and provide secure access to content to anyone with credentials anywhere in the world. The biggest limitation now is bandwidth, and the hurdle is adjusting the current infrastructure to support Cloud operations. Many organizations are turning towards a hybrid Cloud model, where content and services are hosted both locally and via Cloud solutions. Learning from the Cloud experience, Dalet has made initiatives over the past few years to evolve existing tools and services for the Cloud. Dalet now offers direct ingest from the Dalet Brio video server to Amazon S3 Storage and, at NAB this year in Las Vegas, Dalet showcased the first MAM-based Newsroom on the Cloud. To learn more about Dalet ingest solutions, please visit the ingest application page.
5 reasons why media delivery standards might be good for your business
Like me, I am sure that you have been to a restaurant in a group and everyone orders from the set menu EXCEPT for that one person who orders the exotic, freshly prepared fugu, which requires an extra 30 minutes of preparation from a licensed fugu chef so that the customers don't die eating it. Restaurant etiquette means that our main course is served at the same time, forcing everyone to spend a long time hungry, waiting for the special case. And if you split the bill equally, the special case becomes subsidised by the people wanting the set meal. Does this model relate to the media industry? Is there a cost for being special? How can we reduce that cost? What gets done with the cost savings? How can you help? Fortunately those 5 questions lead into 5 reasons why delivery standards might be a good idea. 1. The set meal is more efficient than the a la carte I must confess that when I write this blog while hungry there will be a lot of food analogies. I'm quite simple really. In the "set meal" case - you can see how it's easier for the kitchen to make a large volume of the most common meal and to deliver it more quickly and accurately than a large number of individual cases. In the file delivery world, the same is true. By restricting the number of choices to a common subset that meet a general business need, it is a lot easier to test the implementations by multiple vendors and to ensure that interoperability is maximised for minimum cost. In a world where every customer can choose a different mix of codecs, audio layout, subtitle & caption formats, you quickly end up with an untestable mess. In that chaotic world, you will also get a lot of rejects. It always surprises me, how few companies have any way of measuring the cost of those rejects, even though they are known to cause pain in the workflow. A standardised, business-oriented delivery specification should help to reduce all of these problems. 2. Is there a cost for being special? I often hear the statement – "It's only an internal format - we don't need to use a standard". The justification is often that the company can react more quickly and cheaply. Unfortunately, every decision has a lifespan. These short-term special decisions often start with a single vendor implementing the special internal format. Time passes and then a second vendor implements it, then a third. Ultimately the custom cost engineering the special internal format is spent 3 or 4 times with different vendors. Finally the original equipment will end of life and the whole archive will have to be migrated. This is often the most costly part of the life cycle as the obsolete special internal format is carefully converted into something new and hopefully more interchangeable. Is there a cost of being special? Oh yes, and it is often over and over again. 3. How can we reduce costs? The usual way to reduce costs is to increase automation and to increase "lights out" operation. In the file delivery world, this means automation of transcode AND metadata handling AND QC AND workflow. At Dalet and AmberFin, all these skills are well understood and mastered. The cost savings come about when the number of variables in the system is reduced and the reliability increases. Limiting the choices on metadata, QC metrics, transcode options, workflow branches increases the likelihood of success. Learning from experiences of the Digital Production Partnership in the UK, it seems that tailoring a specific set of QC tests to a standardised delivery specification with standardised metadata will increase efficiency and reduce costs. The Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability is building on the UK's experience to create an American standard that will continue to deliver these savings 4. What gets done with the cost savings? The nice thing about the open standards approach is the savings are shared between the vendors who make the software (they don't have to spend as much money testing special formats) and the owners of that software (who spend less time and effort on-boarding, interoperability testing and regression testing when they upgrade software versions.) 5. How can you help? The easiest way is to add your user requirements to the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability list. These user requirements will be used to prioritise the standardisation work and help deliver a technical solution to a commercial problem. For an overview of some of the thinking behind the technology, you could check out my NAB2014 video on the subject, or the presentation given by Clyde Smith of Fox. Until next time.
Dalet @ Broadcast Asia 2015
As we look forward to another exciting show at BCA 2015, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on the media and entertainment industry in the Asia-Pacific region. There are a few things that always stand out when working in Asia. First is the wide availability and rapid adoption of the latest consumer technology. In M&E, this has driven the requirement to deliver to more and more platforms. While multi-version workflows were always core to many projects in the region, especially where content is distributed in so many languages across a wide geography, this expansion to support multiple platforms has added a further dimension and really brought home the value and return on investment that well designed and deployed MAM-driven workflows can bring to an organizations. MAM-driven workflows such as the Dalet Galaxy-based solutions that have been and are currently being deployed at big-name broadcasters, content owners and content distributors across the whole region. Of course, implementing a MAM and a MAM-driven workflow can represent a big change for the large number of media industry professionals here in Asia. Ensuring that we manage that change as we implement systems is just as important as the deployment of the technology itself. In recognition of this, Dalet has continued to expand our project management and training teams in the region, ensuring that all the support you need before, during and after installing projects is ready and available whenever you need it. Indeed, the team has grown so big, we’re moving to a new office – look out for a change of address soon. If you’ll be at BroadcastAsia next week, we’d love to see you. We’ll be exhibiting in booth 5A5-12 and invite you to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Dalet media workflow expert. And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to register for BCA today! Hope to see you there.