Originally published in Kitplus Magazine, Issue 130, March/April 2018 pages 96-98
by Chad Hamilton, Vice President, Technology, FremantleMedia
FremantleMedia is one of the largest global television-production companies in the world — with one of the biggest and most valuable catalogs. We operate in 36 markets, creating, producing, and distributing content across traditional TV and digital platforms at a rate of more than 10,000 hours of programming per year.
Besides producing some of the world’s best known and loved content (The Young Pope, Deutschland 83, Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten, Deadliest Catch, Project Runway), FremantleMedia holds a strong position in the game-show market (Take Me Out, Family Feud, Match Game, Let’s Make a Deal, and The Price Is Right). We’re also responsible for several successful talent shows that have gone global, such as American Idol, Got Talent (co-produced with Syco in the U.K. and the U.S.), and The X Factor (co-produced with Syco in the U.K.). In 2017 FremantleMedia launched its first big-budget scripted show, the popular and critically acclaimed America Gods, which started out on Starz and now appears on Amazon.
Over time, managing such an immense and ever-growing content catalog became more and more challenging. With technologies and formats continually evolving, multiple FremantleMedia sites contributing content, and multiple tracking systems from multiple entities involved in production, we accumulated disparate asset storage and management systems. Despite our best efforts at centralized media asset management, our content still lived on all kinds of media in silos that were difficult to track and navigate, making discovery and use far more time-consuming and difficult than it should be.
Meanwhile, there’s been an explosion in demand for content thanks to new media outlets like YouTube that barely existed 10 years ago. There’s also more competition from big-budget content creators like Netflix and Amazon that didn’t exist before.
To respond more nimbly to global demand and maximize our margins in the process, we needed to get total control of our assets once and for all. That meant centralizing assets, making them easily discoverable and accessible to anyone in the company anywhere in the world, and being able to track them throughout their lifecycle across all FremantleMedia sites.
We called on Wazee Digital and its experts to help us tackle that monumental task. Now we rely on Wazee Digital’s Core platform for software-as-a-service, enterprise-level media asset management in the cloud.
FremantleMedia uses Core to store, view, manage, and sell assets going back more than 60 years. Our Core library contains more than 200,000 assets and counting. And as we digitize more and more of our legacy assets, our Core library — and its earning potential — will only grow.
With our new Core-powered asset management system in place, we achieved our primary goal: Give all FremantleMedia’s internal stakeholders easy, secure access to our huge media catalog. Now they not only spend less time wrangling assets, but they can explore a new world of content they might not otherwise have known to look for — which is a big boost to creativity.
Our Core system also makes it easier to distribute content in new ways (such as publishing to
social media channels), sell it to others who might want to use it in their own projects, and maintain the rights to it — all with the ultimate goal of generating more revenue from our massive library and raising awareness of content.
Behind the scenes, the Core system solves some of our biggest technical problems. Most importantly, it wrangles all content — old and new — across all disparate systems and formats into one place. Furthermore, we can now make immediate use of content that’s “born digital” while we continue digitizing legacy assets. And we can generate and make optimal use of metadata to help internal stakeholders find and use any asset in the library.
Our Wazee Digital Core system has made a big difference in our business. We now have a central global resource for managing, researching, viewing, sharing, and selling content, which not only makes it easier to monetize our vast catalog, but can yield other benefits in terms of workflow, creativity, revenue, and cost savings now and in the future.
For example, employee access greatly increases the efficiency of many revenue-generating workflows, such as social media syndication. That efficiency, coupled with Core’s social media integration, could have a profound business impact on FremantleMedia, whose assets are the most viewed of any production company on YouTube.
In terms of costs, we’ve seen significant savings from centralizing asset management in house. By implementing Core, we can eliminate the fee-for-access storage services we were using before, which required employees to call upon postproduction vaults and bonded warehouses to locate content on tapes or film and make viewing copies before they could even consider using the content in question. Those services added up to a considerable expense, hampered access to the company’s own assets, and ultimately stifled creativity — problems that FremantleMedia has overcome by making it possible to find assets through Core with any modern browser.
What’s more, because of the platform’s sophistication under the hood and integration with other Wazee Digital workflows, FremantleMedia could rely on Core for other important functions in the future, such as retaining and managing rights to our content, tracking the use and performance of each asset, and building automated transcoding and subtitling workflows in the cloud.
In short, Wazee Digital Core gives us complete control over our assets, so we can adapt and grow with the changing content-creation and distribution landscape. Ultimately, Core makes it possible for FremantleMedia to do what we do best: focus on creating content and delivering it to our clients on any platform on a global scale.
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