TV-BAY Magazine
Get Adobe Flash player
by Lisa Clark, Signiant F or broadcasters and media enterprises of all shapes and sizes, the ability to move critical content rapidly and securely from point A to point B has always been important – but it’s never been so complex and rife with risk as in today’s multiformat, multiscreen content delivery environment. Today’s broadcasters and content owners are often required to distribute content in multiple languages, in HD as well as SD and in formats that support a plethora of new platforms and services such as mobile devices, pad computers and video on demand. So many content types often necessitate the use of multiple outside partners and vendors, some of whom might be working with their own subcontractors. Because so many different entities need to access this valuable intellectual property in order to get it into its final form, security becomes a much larger and more difficult proposition. The sheer size of today’s media files adds even greater complexity to the content movement challenge. Since many HD and 3D files are often two to 10 times the size of SD, traditional solutions such as FTP are not up to the task. With multiple, tight distribution windows that have to be hit precisely to maximize profits, broadcasters can’t afford the delays and missed deadlines that might result from slow and inefficient networking capabilities. It’s no wonder that many media companies still rely on that old standard, tape, to exchange content 68 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE with vendors and subcontractors – even as many other aspects of their operations move towards file-based, tapeless workflows. Never mind the extra time that must be built into the schedule to deal with the inevitable delays, customs hang-ups, and potential for loss that are the norm with overseas shipments. Security is a highly justified concern for these broadcasters thanks to recent, highly publicized network security breaches, but the reality is that valuable video assets are far safer in an electronic exchange than they are when shipped on physical media that can be easily hijacked in transit. As exemplified by the Signiant family of enterprise software, an emerging class of technologies addresses these challenges head-on by enabling the accelerated, managed and highly secure movement of file-based media between systems, applications and users. These systems leverage a media enterprise’s existing network and IT infrastructure to facilitate movement of all types of content – from pre-production video and mobile news to finished-format movies, trailers and TV episodes. These systems provide a highly managed infrastructure for rapid and reliable content transfers, with enterprise-class security. A file movement solution designed for content exchanges between media organizations and their outsourcing partners should be browser-based, making it easy for users to exchange content with other users, systems and applications regardless of location or the size of the digital assets. In addition, it should offer network flexibility to accommodate a mobile work style; for example, a contractor working from one location can begin a download, then pause it and move to another wireless location. Instead of having to start the download all over, the system picks up where it left off even if the computer is now connected to a different network. The transfer is seamless and secure, regardless of file size. Finally, the ideal file movement solution should offer the ability to add some degree of automation to the exchange, for maximum safety and efficiency. For example, the media company could specify that all files coming in from 39 vendors be scanned for viruses and quality controlled before going into the server, or that certain vendors’ output be transcoded to specified formats. To summarize, file transfer software should enable broadcasters and media companies to electronically send files of any size at light speed to their vendors and get the amended versions back without causing any delays in the production schedule. Companies can do these exchanges with even their smallest, least technically sophisticated vendors, and they have the assurance that their files will arrive safely without any risk of piracy or other digital security breaches.