Content Control in a Complex Broadcast Environment


Broadcasters and other media companies today acquire, generate and store an unprecedented volume of content to take advantage of new distribution outlets. Enabled by the transition to digital media and file-based workflows, this model presents new opportunities with respect to revenue generation as well as new challenges in terms of establishing effective control over content that is stored in-house or distributed via broadcast or the Internet.
Control over media content is essential in today’s marketplace, as it is critical to maintaining “clean” and lean archives, establishing rapid production processes, ensuring compliance with usage rights, and preserving the value of media assets once they have been distributed. In particular, the ability to identify and track content is vital as archives grow larger with more versions of content being created for more distribution platforms, and as metadata becomes more complex and less consistent.
Given the substantial volume of media that broadcasters must manage, manual resources have proved too imprecise and too expensive in addressing content control issues. Of the automated techniques currently available, watermarking provides identification for unchanging watermarked assets within an archive but fails to support content identification for legacy or non-watermarked content, wherever it is stored or distributed. Because watermarking requires encoding of content into a new version with a watermark included, broadcasters must alter their workflows with the addition of time-consuming processing. Also, since watermarking does not facilitate the actual comparison of content, broadcasters cannot use this method of content identification to identify similar versions or duplicate content within their archives.
Video fingerprinting overcomes the obstacles that limit watermarking, serving as a non-intrusive solution for content identification in a wide variety of broadcast workflows. Video fingerprinting allows media to be organized, versioned, and ultimately controlled at any point along the media lifecycle, and it does so by storing the unique audio-visual characteristics of video in a file that subsequently can be compared against the video fingerprint of any other piece of media. Through flexible video fingerprinting, the broadcaster can employ precise frame-by-frame searches and rapid, large-scale searches, depending on the requirements of the application.
Within the broadcast environment, video fingerprinting can provide substantial workflow and business benefits in the management of media archives. By fingerprinting material from tape-based assets as they are digitized, and by fingerprinting any newly acquired or captured digital media, the broadcaster can build a reference database that supports key tasks across the workflow including helping users locate and identify rights information or specific versions of media.
For example, during production, editors and production staff can use fingerprint comparisons to find different versions of the same video and select the best version for a news story or package. In building their archives, broadcasters can link unique video fingerprints with additional metadata to ensure that the video can be identified in the future, regardless of the format into which the archived file has been transcoded. By creating and preserving this information in a secure database, the broadcaster not only enhances the short-term utility of assets, but also protects them in the long term as formats, distribution outlets, and platforms continue to increase in number.
As multiple versions of a program or segment are created for different markets, broadcasters can use fingerprinting to meet audit and archiving requirements for regionalized content. Comparing different versions of content at the frame level, the user can isolate and identify changes such as subtitles and scene alterations. Further, since only the alterations need to be saved along with the master or original file, the broadcaster can use this approach to reduce storage requirements and costs.
Video fingerprinting can also simplify management of usage rights and time limitations, providing a means of tracking where and how material is reused in highlight shows and other segments. With ready access to this information, sourced from the original material, the broadcaster can ensure that material going to air adheres to rebroadcast rights and licensing agreements. When the entire archive has been fingerprinted, staff also can ensure that just one instance of material is being archived.
While it is important that broadcasters identify the content they own, today’s video fingerprinting technologies provide much more extensive functionality that supports a more efficient workflow across ingest, storage, production, and distribution. Video fingerprinting, however, should be seen not only as a driver of efficiency within digital workflows. This advanced technology serves as a guaranteed strategy that will enable broadcasters’ to identify, organize, protect, and monetize content – their valuable revenue generating assets – now and in the future.

Tags: ipharro | iss045 | video fingerprinting | secuirty | watermarking | usage rights | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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