Buyer's Guide to Media and Entertainment Video Platforms 2016
If this sounds like a content management nightmare, it’s easy to see why a robust content management solution will be critical to your choice of an MEVP solution. In addition, though, there are a few other things to consider when it comes to content management: DRM, including encryption and watermarking, as well as applications for managing content processing workflows and job scheduling, to effectively process and manage digital media content in the cloud.
Content management options, either homegrown ones offered by the MEVP or third-party options integrated into the MEVP, vary widely between platforms. So it pays to consider what your initial and ongoing uses of content management will entail.
Given the amount of metadata generated during the pre- and postproduction processes, including commenting and logging, there’s an expectation that this metadata would be searchable throughout the production and delivery workflows. This isn’t necessarily the case.
A few MEVP offerings provide the ability to search through comments, and a few offer the same for metadata keywords added to the overall logging. MEVPs have been hard at work over the last year to expand their search capabilities, including the ability to search comments and keywords generated as part of subclips, with ways to retain associated metadata—internal to the MEVP solution—from rough cut to delivery format.
At least one system also allows round-trip metadata updates, meaning that anyone who has spent time inputting comments during logging will be happy to know that the comments are searchable to specific desktop nonlinear editing suites. This is useful for those who might have a multisite or multiplatform workflow, as well as for those who might be looking for a hybrid solution, with some on-prem production and cloud-based production and delivery.
AUTHENTICATION AND PERMISSION
Security options vary between MEVPs, with some providing only role-based authentication, in which a user is assigned a specific role—commenter, logger, administrator—and then is permitted to view or manipulate content for a particular project.
Others focus more on project-based authentication, in which each project requires reassigning permissions to a particular user. This is less flexible but perhaps more secure. In these systems, no one is allowed to copy and paste assets between projects, and the permissions are entered manually, to avoid anyone copying permissions into a project for which they’re not allowed to access content.
A few key MEVPs are offering the more flexible Active Directory (or LDAP) approach, which allows for authentication either by user or role.
Once content is ready for delivery, there’s a question of storage. Many content delivery networks (CDNs) offer storage that complements their MEVP offering, but there are also a growing number of pureplay storage companies. These companies often have storage points of presence (POPs) at the same data centers that CDNs and MEVPs use, especially for content storage and delivery outside of the U.S. As such, the transfer from storage provider to MEVP service is surprisingly quick.
Even within an MEVP offering, there are a number of options. For instance, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) there are at least three options: Amazon S3, EFS, and Glacier. Amazon notes that these can be used for archival, content, and file storage, but that it also offers interfaces to “specialized Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Media Asset Management (MAM) solutions from leading media software vendors,” in case the MEVP customer already has a solution in place.
Today’s MEVPs have a number of key features. We’ve touched on a few of these, but there are many others— from dynamic advertising insertion to pay-per-view or event-payment gateways—that may be required for your particular MEVP needs.
Don’t forget to run a detailed use case on your workflow, keeping in mind that it may require specialized broadcast features that vary between the U.S., Europe, and even Asia. The availability of cloud-based MEVP solutions, including those that offer acquisition and production options, varies by geography, but the needs of the majority of viewers correspond fairly consistently to the service offerings provided by MEVPs in those regions.
This article appears in the 2016 Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook.
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Companies and Suppliers Mentioned