Over the past few years, newsrooms have accommodated the dramatic changes to viewership habits. No matter what region of the world you are in, newsrooms are expected to not only produce traditional scheduled linear newscasts, but also go live to Facebook, Twitter, Periscope and YouTube. Today, news production also requires live, mobile micro-channels and video-on-demand (VOD) for broadcaster websites and mobile apps, and syndication to major news portals. At Grass Valley we have been busy researching, monitoring and addressing many of these challenges for news organizations worldwide.
In discussions with many customers, it was quite clear that no one has really addressed the challenge of not just "simplifying" the workflow, but also managing the many UIs and interconnects it takes to address all applications. One customer was actually using as many as 15 different UIs going back and forth between different platforms for content creation, show planning, editing, production, search, archive and publishing, and using different tools for each destination. The traditional newsroom computer system (NRCS) was seldom used (other than for the linear newscast) giving way to a production asset management (PAM) platform and file-based video switching to go live on a single story or multiple stories on a specific trending topic, while also using VOD segments of the "microcast" to publish, with extended play, content for more in-depth coverage. This required social media platform monitoring and searches on related topics within the media asset management (MAM) and online content management systems (CMS) to address multiplatform 24/7 newsroom requirements.
Journalists want to work in one place. Federated search across connected systems (the PAM, NRCS, MAM and others) would allow a reporter or producer to work in one place but access content and metadata across the system seamlessly (or as seamless as an internet connection would allow). The move from large applications to web-based technologies will make this simpler, but better communications across systems with standard formats would allow better interaction without costly project customization.
Many believe the NRCS should really be the system of record for a newsroom, after all, it is the place where the planning and stories are crafted. But NRCS systems are increasingly hampered by the limitations of the MOS "standard" and how it was traditionally implemented. Enhancements to MOS integration and additional traffic between the NRCS, PAM (and MAM), coupled with powerful business logic (to allow the system to create and manage different versions of stories for targeted end-platforms) would allow journalists to truly repurpose content without having to duplicate their effort.
Improved MOS interaction between the PAM and NRCS will go a long way toward making this a reality, so that metadata can flow back and forth automatically rather than via manual processes as is often the case today. The improvements will have real implications to efficiency, both from a commercial and time perspective both critically important to news organizations. That said, you can quickly see why so many broadcasters want to "reinvent" the platform of choice, and its associated workflow, to address today's requirement for breaking live, scheduled live, mobile micro-channel playout and VOD publishing. Complicating this further, stories are required to be told differently depending on the platform destination and targeted audience and the desired level of interactive engagement.
To address these challenges, Grass Valley has been hard at work addressing the 4x digital media workflows, and also looking into ways we can use advancements made by our cloud-based solution for live streaming channel playout. You see, not only will social monitoring impact content choice as producers follow trending topics to draw viewers to their news sites and go live with Facebook, but also maintain viewership through the support of topical micro-channels that will quickly become the norm with live breaking news on the go.
Monetizing all of these workflows and destinations is also challenging. Closing the business cycle between traditional traffic and billing systems, supply-side platforms (SSP) and server-side dynamic ad insertion (SSDAI) must also be tightly coupled with production systems. Metadata management becomes paramount throughout the production chain starting from the camera through production and delivery such that the content has all of the necessary unique ID and information for downstream systems to make intelligent decisions for discovery and targeting.
Story level monitoring of what the viewer "likes" on multiple platforms allows broadcasters not only to focus their editorial output on the market(s) they wish to address, but allows them to genuinely address the tricky issue of monetizing and assigning cost to their operations, bridging the gap between the content creation systems and the financial systems in live news.
Therefore, it is paramount that news organizations and departments seek out and identify broadcast vendors that have the necessary solutions, vision and roadmap to address these expectations. Our mission is to unify these platforms, close the business cycle and address the requirements for metadata driven, automated workflows that allow broadcasters to produce content on any platform, whether impromptu live, scheduled live, as-live channel playout and/or by publishing VOD assets all with the ability to tell stories differently no matter the audience, based on the destination of choice.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and thinking about the many application challenges Grass Valley can help you overcome. More importantly, as you look forward, let us help you in your strategic planning process and provide insight into how we can assist you to reach your goals.