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How can broadcasters solve the archive footage storage conundrum?

22/05/2019

How can broadcasters solve the archive footage storage conundrum? posted: 22/05/2019

by Tim Jobling, CTO, Imagen

Archives prior to the Digital Age

In live production, archive footage plays a hugely important role - allowing broadcasters and media production companies to build previous events and interviews into new programming to create a more compelling viewing experience. For instance, in the build-up to The US Open, broadcasters will often use historic content from previous golf tournaments to add to the excitement, create a narrative and, sometimes, to ensure the programme is long enough to fill the time allocated to it. However, when trying to access archive footage, broadcasters can be faced with significant challenges as it is often saved in different places across disparate systems.

The ability to share and store content

Most broadcasters tend to have facilities in a number of locations and, as a result, storing and sharing content amongst themselves and with other organisations, along with multiple users, causes a major headache. Often, a number of databases or file sharing platforms are in use and content can't be found easily. This content may then be impossible to recreate, or if it can be, it's at a large cost to the business. Similarly, with employees for an organisation often spread out across the globe, there are ineffective systems in place to store and share content and once a person leaves the business, they take their knowledge of where content is located with them.

Also, with so much new content being created on a daily basis, the amount of archive material held by broadcasters is only increasing. While they may be able to overcome the issue of storing that footage, finding it again can present a whole new series of problems. For instance, how is it organised, what format is it in and how can they find specific video clips at any given time? With such a vast library, pinpointing a certain piece that contains a particular goal from the 1998 World Cup can become a mammoth task. So, how can broadcasters overcome these challenges and calm the headache the storage of archive footage presents?

Solving the dilemma

As the creation of new content builds, this has meant the amount of older material created by broadcasters and media companies has also increased. As a result, the size and scale of the problem they are dealing with in terms of the management and storage of content will grow only in tandem. To alleviate this, these organisations must look to implement a more robust cloud-based solution which will ensure their digital assets are not only protected but also reusable for the future. While this will require a small initial investment of time and money to implement, it is a low-risk, high-reward option which will allow broadcasters to safely store, search and share content internally.

Among the benefits offered by a video management platform is the opportunity to monetise content. In recent years, we have seen nearly every major broadcaster use the wealth of programmes or footage they have stored online to create VOD services. While smaller broadcasters won't have a back catalogue on the same scale as national or international broadcasters such as the BBC, which is thought to have an archive consisting of about 1 million hours, moving to a single, digitised catalogue of content can open up new revenue streams in the form of their own VOD platforms. This will allow smaller broadcasters or production companies to showcase their historic content and tap into the trend of consumers re-watching old' content, the popularity of which has been demonstrated by Netflix and the revelation that Friends is among the most-watched programmes on the platform.

Furthermore, adopting a single digital solution may give broadcasters the push they need to digitise archive footage which may currently only exist on film or video and which is therefore easily lost, damaged or destroyed. This is something most of us can relate to in our personal lives, with many of us likely to have old photo albums from our childhood or video tapes containing camcorder footage stored in shoeboxes or at the back of a cupboard. However, with so much sentimental value often attached to this content, most of us are willing to pay for a cloud solution that will allow us to digitise and store all this content in one place, giving us assurance of its long-term security. This idea also applies to broadcasters but on a much bigger scale and for them, the risk of footage getting lost or damaged could create major problems. While it won't have the same sentimentality, it will have a large monetary value and may be impossible to recreate.

In recent years, the broadcast space has become increasingly competitive and this shows no signs of slowing down as new streaming services are launched and broadcasters vie for the rights to sports events, film and TV series. As a result, there is even more reason to address the challenge of storing existing content, as those who fail to do so will only see the problem worsen with the effects most keenly felt on the quality of their output. Conversely, broadcasters that act and implement a new solution will benefit hugely from a more efficient system that grants peace of mind and ease of use, as well as the potential to create new revenue streams.
LINK: https://www.live-production.tv/news/products/how-can-broadcasters-solv...
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