Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not Being All Things To All TV Producers

I didn't make it to IBC this year - NAB was enough for me - but a friend called me from the show this afternoon. He's a senior manager with a major broadcast services company, so I asked him how things were going.

He replied "everyone here is selling platforms that do everything".

And therein lies the problem.

From being an industry of specific skills (Barco did monitors, Grass Valley did mixers and Ikegami did cameras in my day...), we're now in a world of Jacks of all trades.

Adobe's take on the cloud was clever initially but remains malformed as they haven't really done anything sceptical for enabling downloads and storage online.

For example, most online edit apps are Flash based, so five years out of date and pretty much useless in the age of the tablet.

The reality is that every platform does a few things well and none do everything brilliantly, leaving those involved in the industry with the problems and headaches of integration.

When we wrote TV Station In A Box at Narrowstep in 2002 we'd already addressed this - we rolled up asset management, metadata, scheduling and VOD along with PPV and video advertising in one platform. It seems a long time ago now...

So it's not rocket science to build a comprehensive platform for the industry as many others such as Brightcove went on to do.

However, the world has changed. When TV Everywhere acquired the majority of Rights Tracker our aim was to bring together what we saw as the two main components of modern media management - asset management and rights management.

And we did this. We have built the ultimate platform. But the trouble is the world has moved on.

Behemoth software solutions, even in the cloud, are complex and need extensive training.

So, we've changed tack and decided to release the platform not as one great big panacea, but as a series if apps - specific functions that offer advanced capabilities to the creative industry.

I guess we won't be at IBC next year claiming to do everything.

But we will be at MIPCOM showing how we can improve processes for production companies and distributors. Watch this space and get in touch if you'd like a heads up!