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Optimizing Media Distribution: Leveraging DAM for Multi-channel Broadcasting
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Optimizing Media Distribution: Leveraging DAM for Multi-channel Broadcasting

Optimizing Media Distribution: Leveraging DAM for Multi-channel Broadcasting
August 3, 2023

Distributing content across multiple TV channels, radio stations, websites and apps is a major challenge for modern media organizations. Meeting the specific needs of different distribution platforms and devices at scale requires optimizing assets, automating workflows and facilitating collaboration across teams. DAM systems provide features that can streamline multi-channel distribution processes, reducing costs and turning around content faster while improving quality.

Challenges in Distributing Media Assets across Multiple Channels

Media and marketing companies face the ongoing challenge of efficiently distributing digital assets like images, video clips and documents across their many different channels. These channels may include websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, email newsletters, and offline products. Distributing the right assets to the right channels at the right times requires overcoming several obstacles.

  • Volume - Companies must manage a massive and constantly growing library of digital assets. Directly searching through libraries of millions of assets to find the few needed for a certain channel is infeasible. Assets also tend to multiply over time as new versions and edits are made.
  • Variety - Assets come in many formats, file types and varying resolutions to suit different channel needs. Organizing and tracking all these variants of the same logical asset remains challenging.
  • Limited metadata - Many older assets in libraries lack robust metadata describing things like subject matter, people, location and mood. This makes it difficult to programmatically match assets with channel requirements.
  • Manual distribution - Scouring asset libraries and manually distributing relevant assets to each channel is time-consuming and prone to human error. Repurposing assets for multiple channels often still requires manual effort.
  • Naming inconsistencies - Assets often accumulate over time from different sources and teams, resulting in non-standardized naming conventions that confuse automated systems. The same logical asset may have many different file names.
  • Dependency mapping - Complex relationships exist between assets and the channels that use them. Mapping these dependencies is required to Update channels when assets change, but is often incomplete or out of date.
  • Redundancy - Duplicate versions of the same asset frequently accumulate within libraries due to a lack of centralized tracking. This wastes storage space and confuses distributors.
  • Access rights - Different channels and teams often require varying rights to access, edit and use assets. Managing these complex permissions across multiple systems creates governance challenges.
  • Lack of coordination - Teams operating individual channels tend to work independently without a unified process for sharing and reusing assets. This leads to redundant work and inconsistencies across the overall media mix.
  • Technology silos - Multiple business units commonly rely on separate technologies that cannot communicate about shared assets. Data must be manually re-entered or duplicated between systems.

Challenges in distributing media assets at scale stem from high volumes and variety of assets, limitations of asset metadata, outdated processes relying too much on manual effort, inconsistencies in naming and tracking assets, complex dependencies that are poorly mapped, redundant assets wasting resources, difficulties managing access rights, lack of coordination between channel teams and technology silos that prevent automation. Overcoming these obstacles requires integrated technology platforms and process changes that increase organization, automation and collaboration.

Role of DAM in Streamlining Multi-channel Distribution Workflows

Distributing digital assets like images, videos and documents across an organization's many channels is a complex challenge. Media companies face large volumes and varieties of assets, inconsistent metadata, and a lack of coordination between siloed teams. DAM (Digital Asset Management) systems can help streamline multi-channel distribution workflows through organizational, collaborative and automated features.

Organization

A centralized DAM repository brings together all assets in one place, resolving issues of redundancy. Assets are categorized and consistently tagged using standardized metadata schemas tailored for automation. Inconsistent naming conventions are resolved to create logical asset identifiers. Dependencies between assets and distribution channels are mapped. This organization in the DAM provides the foundation for streamlining distribution. Teams have a single source of truth for locating needed assets. Redundant and duplicate assets are identified and consolidated. Relationships that determine which assets map to which channels are documented.

Collaboration

Role-based access permissions in the DAM allow different teams to access only the assets relevant to their channels. Search and filters allow quick location of specific assets. Approval workflows route assets through required reviews before distribution. Real-time commenting enables discussion and feedback between teams about assets. Activity feeds notify teams of new assets or updates that may impact their work. This cross-functional collaboration helps ensure teams are on the same page regarding assets. Channel owners provide feedback that improves assets earlier in the process. Teams become aware of overlaps and can identify opportunities for reuse across channels. Overall consistency in messaging is improved.

Automation

Workflow automations in the DAM are triggered by metadata tags applied to assets. Automations can then distribute relevant assets to specific channels based on rules. Automated emails notify channel teams when new assets are available. Integrations connect the DAM to content management, social media and digital signage systems used by distribution channels. Data is synced bi-directionally so the DAM and channel systems remain in sync regarding assets. This automation reduces manual effort, speeds distribution times and minimizes human errors. Teams spend less time searching for assets and more time on creative work. Assets are distributed to the right channels at the right times to maximize relevance and freshness.

In summary, DAM systems address the challenges in distributing assets at scale by:

  • Providing a centralized repository that organizes assets and maps dependencies.
  • Enabling collaboration and transparency between distribution channel teams.
  • Applying consistent metadata schemas that power automated distribution.
  • Integrating with technologies used across channels for bi-directional syncing.
  • Automating distribution workflows triggered by asset metadata.

DAM solutions transform outdated processes relying on manual searching, copying and selecting assets for each new use. Greater organization, teamwork and automation within a single platform allows media companies to efficiently distribute the right assets to the right channels at the right times.

Transcoding, Format Conversion, and Adaptive Streaming Capabilities

Media and marketing organizations face the challenge of distributing digital assets in formats that are optimized for the various channels and devices their content will be consumed on. This requires capabilities for transcoding source assets into multiple formats, bitrates and resolutions.

Transcoding is the process of converting a media file from one format to another. This may involve changing the video codec, audio codec, resolution or bitrate. Transcoding allows source assets like 4K videos to be converted for playback on devices with lower resolution screens or weaker internet connections.

Format conversion is similar to transcoding but refers more narrowly to changing just the container or file type of an asset while keeping the video and audio codecs the same. An MP4 file, for example, may be converted to an MOV or AVI file. This allows assets to be used with software that only supports specific container formats.

Key use cases for transcoding and format conversion include:

  • Creating assets for different channels - Converting source assets into the specific formats required by channels like websites, mobile apps, social media, streaming services, and digital signage.
  • Supporting different device types - Creating lower resolution and bitrate files optimized for smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and other common device types. Often multiple versions are needed to maximize compatibility.
  • Enabling streaming and progressive downloads - Converting video files into the required formats and bitrates to allow both adaptive streaming and standard progressive downloads.
  • Delivering subtitles/closed captions - Transcoding subtitle or closed caption files into formats compatible with target distribution platforms and devices.
  • Facilitating sharing and storage - Converting assets into open, common formats to allow wider sharing and compatibility with different storage options.
  • Optimizing for content management systems - Converting assets as needed to be ingested by different CMS platforms based on their specific requirements.

The tech capabilities underpinning transcoding workflows include:

  • Video transcoding - Converting source video files between different video codecs (H.264, H.265, VP9), changing resolution and adjusting bitrates.
  • Audio transcoding - Converting between audio codecs (AAC, MP3, AC-3), number of channels and sampling rates.
  • Format conversion - Changing the container format of a file while keeping video/audio codecs the same (MP4 to MOV, WEBM, etc.)
  • Encoding for streaming - Creating multiple renditions at different resolutions and bitrates to support adaptive streaming protocols like HLS and DASH.
  • Integrating with encoding/transcoding farms - Connecting to external farms that handle intensive operations at large scales for optimization and cost efficiency.
  • Automating workflows - Rules and triggers to automate the transcoding and format conversion of assets as they enter platforms, based on their metadata.

In summary, transcoding and format conversion capabilities are essential for organisations wanting to distribute digital assets across multiple consumption channels and device types in their optimized formats. These technologies allow source assets to be transformed into multiple renditions tailored for specific use cases, improving compatibility, performance and the overall user experience. When implemented at scale through automated workflows, transcoding helps media companies efficiently prepare and distribute high quality content that reaches all intended audiences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, DAM solutions optimize media distribution for multi-channel broadcasting through features that organize, convert and deliver assets as needed by different platforms. Centralisation, standardisation, automation and collaboration enabled by DAM transform previously siloed and manual workflows. When implemented holistically with a focus on process changes alongside technology, DAM systems can truly revolutionise how organisations produce and share content with all intended audiences.

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