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How Fandango and Vudu Consolidate and Optimize OTT Workflows

Rema Morgan-Aluko, Vice President, Software Engineering, Platform, Fandango, Vudu, and Rotten Tomatoes, has a professional experience skillset that has put her in a unique position to develop OTT workflows across multiple platforms. In this conversation with Nadine Krefetz, Consultant, Reality Software, and Contributing Editor for Streaming Media, Morgan-Aluko talks about her varied experiences with optimizing workflows across brands.

“We have multiple workflows for a couple of different areas, but I'll just simplify and talk about two right now,” Morgan-Aluko says. “One workflow that we have specifically for our short-form content are trailers. Our Rotten Tomatoes brand has the largest trailer network on YouTube today. Whenever you watch a trailer, chances are you're watching one of our trailers. And so for us, speed is critical. It is very important for us to get the trailer up, first and foremost. That's the person who gets the ads, whoever has the trailer up first. So we leverage both internal tooling based in the cloud and an encoding pipeline specifically built within the cloud that is optimized for speed.”

This approach differs from the direction taken with long-form content, where quality takes precedence over speed. “With our Vudu platform, that is actually on-premises,” Morgan-Aluko says. “And so we're working on transitioning that into the cloud so that we can take advantage of some of the speed storage, the archival systems, and different things. Because right now we're maintaining this huge library on racks within our on-prem data storage, and the cost of storage has gone way down. So we save on operational costs instead of having a person at the data center managing things for us. Can we leverage the cloud to do so? That's something we've done in the past with our previous platforms. And so we're pushing that. But we have best-in-class workflows for our trailers platform using Amazon Web Services to make that happen.”

Krefetz says, “You also mentioned earlier the consolidation of the workflows from the different offerings that you had. Do you want to touch on that briefly?”

“Previously we ran another home entertainment platform called FandangoNOW that we have since sunset, and that platform was completely cloud-native,” Morgan-Aluko says. “And so we're using those models and thought processes to improve our Vudu platform to help us get into the cloud.” She highlights that they are now looking at similar coding pipeline models used for FandangoNOW. “We're going to bring it back to help us get both speed and quality on our encoding pipeline.” She emphasizes that this approach may be a way to improve costs by uniting their short-form and long-form systems.

One interesting use case where these different forms are presently converging is their movie clips system, Morgan-Aluko says. “We actually use long-form content from Vudu, and we cut out these interesting, memorable moments [from] films. And we cut from the long-form and build these short-form clips that we also make available on YouTube. And so that's one area where our systems are converging, but there are tons of things that we still need to look at and evaluate in order to make sure that we're leveraging all the tools that we have at our disposal.” She notes that Vudu now has 60 million customers, which entails a massive amount of content management. “So anything that we can do to improve costs to speed, to reduce the number of hands that have to actually be involved to touch things is what we're trying to figure out,” she says.

Learn more about OTT workflows at Streaming Media West 2022.

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