This article was originally published in FEED Magazine, Issue 4, June 2018
By Andy Hurt, SVP Marketing and Business Development, Wazee Digital
Anyone who creates or holds the rights to media content intended for broadcast is familiar with the notion of a traditional static archive and all its limitations. You know the drill: You create the content — it could be sports coverage, news, a TV show — and play it out once, then send the tapes, film, hard drives, or digital files to a vault or digital library somewhere behind a firewall for safe keeping. That’s great for long-term preservation, which is critical, but not so great if you want to reuse that content in the future. And these days, that’s what it’s all about. With today’s IP technology, content creators and rights holders must be prepared to repurpose or die.
In other words, to compete, you must be able to distribute your content broadly. That means delivering it not just to traditional satellite and cable providers, but to multiple digital endpoints. (Think Hulu, Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube, not to mention your own OTT platform.) You can’t accommodate all those endpoints without being able to access, repurpose, and reformat specific assets to get them to the right audiences through the right channels.
Speaking of broader distribution, archives are increasingly becoming a hub for licensing, reselling, and distributing assets to third parties, such as filmmakers and advertising agencies looking for content to use in their projects. This monetization opportunity is another reason to make sure your archive is more than just a storage cellar.
Finding, retrieving, and reusing content from a traditional static archive can be cumbersome if not impossible.
That’s where dynamic archives and the cloud come in.
Dynamic Archive + Cloud = Endless Possibilities
While a static archive is simply a place to store media after it had been sent for distribution, a dynamic archive lets you go back into your archives and easily reuse specific assets whenever and however you choose. Add the cloud to a dynamic archive, and the possibilities for repurposing and remonetization are almost endless. Storing assets securely in the cloud, and then adding a cloud-native, browser-based management platform on top, brings content out from behind a firewall and makes it easily accessible to any permissioned user with an internet connection from anywhere in the world, all from a central location.
1. Simplify discovery and access from anywhere
2. Reduce capex through scalable cloud infrastructure
3. Create content once and use it many times, thanks to automated workflows in the cloud
4. Develop new sources of revenue
5. Centralized global access
1. Start in the cloud. Traditional archives and MAM systems store content behind a firewall, likely on LTO tape, where it is inaccessible to anyone outside your organization — the very people who might want to buy it. A cloud-native MAM application that is also tied to licensing will turn what was once just a storage expense into revenue.
Therefore, the first step is to store your assets in a cloud-native platform, where they are more easily searchable and distributable according to strict security policies. Putting content in the cloud might seem counterintuitive, but actually it’s the key to a successful workflow.
The importance of the cloud cannot be overstated.
Once assets have entered the cloud, you can set up predefined workflows for all your digital endpoints, and then rely on cloud infrastructure for automatic transcoding, computing, and publishing. In this way, you can create content once and use it in innumerable ways with very little human intervention. Even better, once the content has been published to YouTube, Facebook, and other digital platforms, ads can be placed against it, and it becomes another source of revenue.
The cloud offers unprecedented scalability — a key benefit given that there are so many different endpoints and strategies for content delivery today. Cloud-native infrastructure lets you scale up and down as needed and only pay for what you use, as opposed to building an in-house infrastructure for peak usage and having it sit idle most of the time.
2. Maximize your metadata. In the cloud, enriched metadata makes otherwise stagnant or lost assets searchable, discoverable, and shareable. Most assets enter an archive with a full load of technical metadata and sometimes even basic descriptive metadata, but that metadata isn't enough for monetization. You really need a thorough description of the content so that you can find it and turn it into clips that people request. Therefore, it’s important to have a viable process in place for capturing detailed metadata. Some cloud-based dynamic archive and management platforms come with granular-level metadata and search algorithms that help ensure you and your stakeholders can easily find and retrieve just what you’re looking for.
3. Have a monetization strategy. It's not just about having metadata and being able to search your content. You must be able to sell and distribute that content to a third party. That means you need a partner who not only has a background in media asset management, but expertise in licensing content as well.
4. Create the right workflow. The right workflow starts in the cloud, with a cloud-native MAM system built not just for management, but for monetization. Putting the right software in place makes it easy to build a specific workflow for any given request — a workflow that includes finding and tagging assets, creating clips, and making those clips accessible to third parties.
Consider this: Fulfilling requests for content can yield hundreds or even thousands of video files, each with its own separate metadata file. Imagine the logistics of finding and transferring all those files from one location to another if they were sitting behind a firewall in a tape-based archive. But when they’re already in the cloud, then it’s all about enhancing and continuously monetizing your assets — a much simpler workflow that can only be done by an architecture intended for the cloud.
5. Centralized global access. Getting enriched content to the proper audience is essential. A dynamic archive provides a single avenue to capture, organize, and share content giving centralized access to content in a secure cloud environment. With this method, rights holders have complete control of their content with the ability to distribute to global stakeholders including news media and corporate partners through permission-based access.
Dynamic archives are meant not just for preservation, but also for multiuse. Anyone with high-value video content, such as iconic moments in history, sports, or pop culture, can use a dynamic archive to generate a new revenue streams.