Limits and promise
Established Hollywood studios and broadcasters are unlikely to put their entire MAM in the cloud, since they have already invested millions in their “local” on-premises systems and the private networks to enable accessibility. Unlike smaller businesses, they have the IT resources to maintain the systems and networks. However, even these bigger organizations with on-premises MAMs have begun to explore the cloud as a way to work smarter — augmenting certain parts of their asset stores, reducing the amount of storage they maintain and thus reducing the cost by extending part of the MAM system into the cloud for parts of their business and workflows.
The world has changed since the MAM debuted. We all want instant Web access to anything at any time. Yet amazingly, the professional video industry is one of the last to embrace this anywhere, anytime concept. We still travel to sit in an edit suite and work in big buildings rather than collaborating over great distances. Everyone knows the experience of being stuck in the office at midnight because that’s where the media is.
If you put your workflow in the cloud — whether it’s your MAM system, a portion of your workflow or a combination thereof — your company becomes more efficient by enabling the team to work more flexibly, how they want, where they want.
Every participant in the broadcast and production chain should consider what access and mobility means to their teams, and actively evaluate features and functionality from existing equipment vendors as well as in planned purchases. Cloud enablement may be a nice option to have today, but as more broadcasters, production companies and partners in the industry deploy smarter workflows based around the cloud, it is rapidly becoming a competitive necessity.
Case study: Veria Living
Veria Living, a global broadcaster with operations in New York, London, Singapore and Mumbai, India, has chosen to place its MAM in the cloud, using a private cloud implementation from Aframe. A unit of Indian media conglomerate Asia TV USA, parent to India’s Zee Enterprise Entertainment (ZEE TV), Veria Living is a health and wellness network brand based in New York, with original programming focused on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Prior to 2011, Veria did not have an asset management system. Video assets were stored throughout its diverse operations on individual hard drives, loose tapes and SANs, and it was hard to locate, take inventory or distribute anything in its archive. Today, Veria Living’s team uses the cloud-based MAM as a massive video and document library for both in-house and for external partner access for both production and ready-to-air content. Veria’s team has uploaded almost 1000 hours of video — about 30TB worth — to the cloud MAM, using it to make promo versions of its shows and share content among collaborators in New York, Singapore and India. Being Web-based allows all Veria team members around the world, both employees and trusted production and operations partners, to gain simultaneous access to the same content. It drives the creative freedom for multiple contributors to work efficiently without being locked out of the content because someone else is handling source footage since collaborators can access high-quality proxies of source footage.
The cloud-based MAM architecture employed by Veria Living centralizes the library of production and broadcast-ready video assets and supporting documentation. The assets are contained on private, service-provisioned storage arrays utilizing 2048-bit SSL encryption and overlapping layers of user-based and system-based access security measures. Assets are replicated across multiple locations in different cities and are triple-redundant. Network access and server communications take place over private networks while user file transfers and browser access occur using SSL and individualized user credentials. The system provides extensive management visibility and access control to content, as well as logging file access, commentary and other production activity performed upon the asset, with features that assist in file recovery in instances of accidental deletion.
Other Veria Living departments outside of broadcast operations, such as ad sales and marketing, also access this asset library to create sizzle reels or establish licensing rights for showcasing content to prospective buyers. Additionally, broadcast operations may pull down and queue finished content for its schedule.
For example, a U.S. computer maker placed an advertisement with Veria Living in the U.S. but also wanted it to run on Zee TV in India, while embargoing it for a later air date. Using its cloud-based MAM, Veria’s U.S. team could coordinate the movement of the footage through its ad sales network and make it available to both U.S. and Indian staffs simultaneously, thereby controlling and ensuring dates were enforced. This makes it easy to control and convenient to release the ad on a specific date as negotiated.
Unmesh Khadlikar, head of IT and broadcast operations at Veria Living, sees its cloud-based MAM as an easy-to-manage content library that facilitates content transport to other locations, programming and production approval process, as well as program and syndication sales.
—Stephen Miu is Senior Director, Product Operations at Aframe.