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What is Media Logistics? The Tool that's tackling the TV Industry's Thorniest Problem

By Keith Budge, Vice President and General Manager of Asia-Pacific, Ooyala


Keith Budge, Vice President and General Manager of Asia-Pacific, Ooyala

In an effort to capture a bigger piece of the super-charged over-the-top TV and video market, and meet viewer’s nearly insatiable appetite for content, production powerhouses are upping their stakes in the digital content game. Over the next five years, Netflix will invest a hefty $11 billion in content-- Hulu and Amazon are reportedly increasing their spending too. And the trend isn’t limited to the US, either; in its recent earnings announcement, RTL Group, Europe’s top entertainment network, reported that content production investment is one of its top two priorities for 2016.

Yet, developing and delivering digital content that meets consumers’ desires for more choices and expectations for anywhere, anytime and any device viewing is more challenging than ever before. Video content costs and volumes have skyrocketed, distribution has become decentralized, and production workflows are shifting to new digital methods. Companies are under ever-present pressure to scale production and revenue, without scaling budget and headcount. Clearly, content producers that want to deliver great, profitable content need a new approach – and that approach is media logistics.

Media Logistics Manage Multifaceted Workflows

What is media logistics? One might compare it to supply-chain management. For example, consider how consumer-goods dynamo Walmart revolutionized the complicated logistics involved in ordering, shipping, tracking and stocking its merchandise. Simply put, it pinpointed the efficiencies and eliminated the bottlenecks in its supply chain, and as a result, increased profit, and decreased waste and redundancy.

Much like Walmart’s products, premium content has a long journey from start to finish. It requires countless man hours and resources to move a video, show or series from script to screen to syndication. If workflow processes aren’t managed properly, companies risk increased costs, time and resource inefficiencies; breakdowns in creative processes, and down the line, lost viewers. Media logistics platforms undertake the herculean task of managing the lifecycle of all the assets involved in content production – from concept to consumption. The complexity of orchestrating that workflow might be likened to brain surgery: intricate, multifaceted and vital to all aspects of the system.

Causes Contributing to Content Complexity

It’s a vast challenge to manage, distribute, analyze and scale content across the many platforms that make up content production workflows, and the effort has only become more difficult as time goes on. For example, in today’s ecosystem, a single company may need to create and deliver video for international and national markets in multiple languages, for different devices, and with production teams dispersed across the globe. With more and varied technologies being continually added to the mix, the industry is now staring down a cornucopia of offerings that lack standards, span linear and non-linear formats, and often create huge redundancies in the supply chain. Many of the tools the industry has to work with simply can’t connect with one another.

Legacy and Leading-Edge Systems Can Sit Side-by-Side

As much as content production companies would like to bring in all new systems that seamlessly work together, that also share standards and formats, they already have huge investments in their existing infrastructure. Upending an entire workflow would not only be expensive, it would be time consuming and require vast resources. Companies need a better way to simplify workflows. 

Media logistics platforms prevent companies from throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Rather than replacing infrastructures, and requiring investments in new tools, they work with the existing tools and technologies in a content production ecosystem. Companies can reduce bottlenecks that once existed because of disparate systems and instead can look to a single source for information and updates across their entire production workflow. With access to a single dashboard for info and updates, executives can glean short- and longer-term historical insights that help drive asset allocations. For example, media logistics can be used to see the time and costs required for entire productions, or show the inefficiencies contributing to overruns.

Accelerating Content from Concept to Cash

All told, media logistics platforms are the win-win that the content production industry needs to meet the demand for more content in more places without adding more resources or budget.   By tackling the entire content production workflow -- one of broadcast’s thorniest problems -- media logistics platforms allow companies to focus their time and money on what they do best: making great content.

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