NEEDHAM, MA— Extreme Reach is an advertising distribution and delivery company, offering a start-to-finish workflow for TV and video ads along with talent and rights management. We launched nine years ago with a focus on simplifying the delivery of ads for linear TV and now have 19 offices worldwide.
With an eye on the coming convergence of TV and video advertising, we evolved our platform to manage video ads across every screen and device with Talent & Rights compliance fully integrated—one platform and one process now gives brands and their agencies easy access to and control of advertising assets. Previously, brand advertisers and agencies had to work across many delivery formats and mechanisms, and they also had to manage the complex talent and rights that go along with those ads wherever they played. Extreme Reach brought these processes together—TV, digital video and Talent & Rights, and built a platform, unique in the industry, that supports all three.
To serve our global customers, we originally built data centers with servers in many locations and utilized cloud storage. Content creators would send advertisement files to us for ingest, then we would transcode the files to the required output formats for distribution. We use a large number of Harmonic Promedia Carbon servers for transcoding, and we worked with Telos Alliance TV Solutions Group’s team at Minnetonka Audio to create a custom variant of their AudioTools plug-in for Carbon to manage loudness. Carbon is a video-centric platform and its native loudness processing was limited in capabilities. Because Minnetonka Audio specializes in audio processing, we found that their plug-in was the most accurate solution available for loudness management and adjustments specifically designed for Carbon. So, by combining these two specialties, we compiled a best-in-breed solution for audio and video in a single package.
With our success came continued growth, and the need to build an improved, scalable solution for the future. We saw the cost of cloud services dropping, and the benefits piling up, and decided to shift our media file processing and QC completely to the cloud. We expected this move would take advantage of increased flexibility and also shift capital costs to operational costs, eliminating our ownership of the servers and their required maintenance. For the move to work, we knew we needed cloud versions of both the Carbon transcoding software and the Minnetonka AudioTools loudness control plug-in.
Telos Alliance TV Solutions Group’s engineering and sales teams worked with us to implement and upgrade our cloud-based workflow using an enhanced version of Minnetonka Audio’s loudness plug-in for Harmonic Promedia Carbon, ensuring that we could scale up as required without paying for more space than we needed. The Minnetonka AudioTools plug-in for Carbon supports audio management for television advertising as well as for all other video advertising media, including on-demand, streaming, and OTT.
With this new solution, we have already gained improved processing time, since our transcode and QC servers have direct access to our media files. This translates into faster turnaround of spots between their upload to our platform and their delivery to the thousands of destinations we serve.
We are particularly impressed that the Minnetonka AudioTools plug-in allows us to correctly normalize the loudness of spots by focusing on just the actual “spot” part of a file which will be broadcast, while eliminating from the loudness measurement any audio which may be present in the “slate” portion of the file but is never intended for air. While our spec calls for the slate to be silent, we still receive files which have audio present. Any less intelligent loudness tool, which cannot differentiate between slate and spot components of a file, will produce incorrect results.
Since implementing the new cloud plug-in solution on the transcode servers which create our mezzanine files, the number of loudness-related issues our QC and Support team typically deals with has dropped to almost zero, significantly reducing the costs and time associated with this support. Now, every spot is processed with consistently accurate loudness. We couldn’t be happier.
David Unsworth is vice president of Technical Operations for Extreme Reach. He can be reached at David.Unsworth@extremereach.com.
For more information, please visit Telos Alliance’s Television Solutions Group at www.telosalliance.com/TVSG or call 216-241-7225.