That is good, because it means our technology is agile to allow us to move quickly, responding to new business opportunities, and get an edge on the competition. As an example, let me talk about the automated branding system we installed at MBC in the Middle East.
MBC saw a new business opportunity: a channel dedicated to Bollywood movies. Having spotted the gap in the market it wanted to fill it as quickly as possible. This was not a nine-month technical project to get the channel on air: the board wanted the channel live in just a few weeks.
That meant the marketing had to start virtually immediately, with a programme of attractive and dynamic promos and trailers, building momentum and a sense of anticipation in the target audience. The challenge was to make all these promos.
The traditional way of making promos is, of course, to allocate an editor and an edit suite, which has a not insignificant cost attached. For MBC, even if the budget was there, the Dubai centre did not have spare editing facilities. The solution lay in Pixel Factory, a Pixel Power product.
The way it works is that you allocate your experienced graphics designers to create a set of templates for all the different sorts of promos you are going to need. You can put time and resources into this because you are only going to do it once. You set the look for the channel, and this is maintained consistently in every promo produced.
The templates are loaded into Pixel Factory, ready to be rendered with whatever content you give it. The input can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, and usually a soundtrack for the programme or series you are going to promote. The spreadsheet includes information on which versions of the promo you need, as well as version specific information like transmission date and time.
From then on the automation takes over, cutting all the different versions of the promo to the soundtrack. You get tailored content, and potentially a lot of promos, so you do not risk boring your audience by rotating just a few trailers. The branding is consistent because everything uses the same core templates. Pixel Factory runs on the same high-quality graphics engine used by all Pixel Power devices, so it all looks terrific.
The finished promos, once checked by the producer and channel manager, are delivered to the asset management system, along with the appropriate metadata, ready for playout.
The graphics automation is unattended so can run 24 hours a day. You get a lot of productivity from the device as well as lightening the load on traditional editing. At MBC they found that automating promo production for its new Bollywood channel saved 40 hours a month in edit suite time, and reduced the delivery time for new promos by 50%.
The original project was so successful that MBC rolled it out to three more channels. That saved a full-time editor with room and facilities, releasing them to do more interesting work than creating multiple versions of trailers.
The obvious extension of this concept is that the same high quality branding can now be delivered at a price which is affordable for online services. When you set up the initial templates, you simply define what you want for the different platforms you serve: OTT, mobile and tablets.
Each time you commission a new trailer or promo, you tick the boxes for all the variations that you need. It might take a little more processing time but the chances are you will have spare capacity in a device that works 24 hours a day without the need for supervision. Now you have the option to match your marketing and branding consistently across every platform you serve.
It also ensures your streaming is more consistent with your broadcast output, in content and in quality. That serves your audience well, and will keep them coming back for more.