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the connected world supplement special report Supplement sponsored by


For any broadcaster, media assets are among the most valuable resources the company possesses. Today’s broadcast environment presents numerous opportunities through which to leverage these assets in extending their service offering and building significant new revenue streams. At the same time, pressure on the business of media delivery is becoming ever greater, demanding that broadcasters minimise capital and operational expenditure while increasing speed of new service or platform rollout. Advanced technologies and innovative new approaches to the classic playout automation and media management challenge are enabling broadcasters to meet both technical and financial challenges of multi-platform and second-screen media delivery. Neil Maycock, chief architect at Snell, reports.


Automation and multi-platform delivery


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n the world of connected TV and mobile media, in which content is delivered to multiple devices via multiple platforms, the way a broadcaster manages and distributes its media assets can


have a significant impact on its performance and long-term profitability. Automation and media management systems offer enormous potential for implementing multi- platform delivery with high operating efficiency, improved baseline performance, and greater profitability. Snell’s flagship broadcast


automation solution, Morpheus, is a scalable, multichannel and multiscreen playout automation solution that provides a foundation for existing channels and a host of new services. Based on format and device independent platforms, the system offers a range of robust and resilient content distribution mechanisms designed to keep pace with new devices as they evolve. This flexibility is essential as broadcasters move to meet the demands of the continually evolving consumer appetite. From its core database engine


through to every device, Morpheus automation offers the resilience and, where required, redundancy to ensure that the right content and its metadata will be in the right place at the right time. While this has always been


The ultimate goal for broadcasters now is to make compelling, unmissable content for all of the screens that viewers use to consume media. After all, though the TV screen will like remain the most important display device, it is now one of many ways in which consumers can watch content.


important in conventional channel- playout models, it is even more critical with delivery via additional platforms and outlets. A complete suite of automation solutions, Morpheus gives today’s broadcasters a robust yet highly flexible and scalable solution for delivery to the variety of content distribution platforms. Requiring minimal overhead,


sophisticated automation systems can manage the acquisition and movement of content throughout the enterprise regardless of how that content arrives. When content is required, the system can supply it from the optimum source. When metadata about that content is required, as is the case in conventional and mobile broadcasts, the automation system’s database engine can supply that data for delivery along with media. Automation’s ability to supply both media and metadata with speed and flexibility has become a key enabler of new services such as ‘second-screen’ applications.


Automation and second- screen apps


Estimates suggest that more than 50% of consumers today are online as they watch television. Engaging with media through multiple devices at once, consumers are not only watching their


S26 l ibe l the connected world supplement september/october 2011 l www.ibeweb.com


favourite shows on television, but also posting and tweeting on social networking sites, checking movie and actor facts, and visiting the broadcaster’s website. This new viewing model, in which the viewing experience is enriched by online content, gives broadcasters the chance to reinvigorate their ad revenues by selling targeted services to the online advertising and sales market. Among the greatest challenges in


offering such ad services is to identify the programming being watched and to provide relevant information. Music, game, and entertainment programmes, in which live performance and competition are so critical, are a natural fit for second-screen applications and advertisements. Such programming presents significant challenges, however, such as managing dynamic insertion of commercial breaks or unexpected changes on a scene-by- scene basis. It is difficult or even impossible for broadcasters to build playlists of rich and relevant information in advance or to assure that the correct production information is supplied in real-time with an ad separating two segments of the live programme. Broadcasters’ proprietary


applications have lacked the real-time flexibility necessary for second-screen applications, and more versatile


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