SAN DIEGO—Regulatory compliance was the original driver for content logging, and it continues to be an important use case today. However, over the years, content logging technology has become a valuable tool for a much wider array of applications to gather insights about broadcast content, provide valuable analytics, and collaborate across the media enterprise.
Allowing broadcasters to build an archive of aired content, logging solutions deliver a rich store of media and data for insights and intelligence about the aired product. Updates to current products allow broadcasters to address not only the latest compliance requirements, but also the demands of internal groups including sales, social media, and the executive team.
As broadcasters move to upgrade or replace end-of-life compliance products, they have the opportunity to take advantage of fundamental compliance logging functions, as well as next-generation capabilities that improve their efficiency in working with captured media.
To meet regulatory and compliance requirements (i.e., closed captioning, loudness, and indecency/profanity/obscenity), broadcasters need an intuitive and complete solution for collecting information about aired content.
Recorded video is and always has been the ultimate affidavit of what was actually broadcast over the air, and it serves as proof that all applicable regulations and requirements are being met. What kind of basic functionality ensures that a broadcaster can leverage recorded content successfully?
Generally speaking, the essentials have remained the same, though formats and delivery mechanisms have changed. Native capture of content from any video source in the content chain has always been a must for quality assurance. It enables critical visibility into every link in the delivery chain and into every handoff. These days, however, the deployed solution must support many more formats: SDI, IP, ASI, 8VSB, HDMI, QAM, HLS, DASH, RTMP, and DVB-T/T2/S/S2.
The system also must capture compliance-related data such as subtitling and key calculated values, particularly those used for loudness, and accurately correlate it with video and audio content. Recorded content is much more useful if captured metadata also includes asrun logs, ratings data, Dolby metadata, and SCTE 35/104 ad insertion data.
A user-friendly interface and easy access to archived content and metadata both help users to work with the solution to do their jobs effectively, whether in engineering or another area of the business.
Finally, as with any system supporting broadcast operations, the compliance logging solution must be reliable, ensuring maximum uptime, and be readily scalable to support straightforward system expansion.
Together, all of the aforementioned essentials should serve as a baseline for a new or upgraded logging and monitoring solution. Next-generation products introduce features and capabilities that open the door to even greater efficiency and utility.
Find content faster—Today’s logging and monitoring solutions give users consolidated access to content and metadata in a convenient and visually appealing interface with familiar media player controls. In addition to tools for finding, clipping, exporting, and analyzing audio and video with a minimum of clicks, newer interfaces provide immediate access to related metadata. Also leveraging metadata, powerful search capabilities across captured and user-generated data simplify and accelerate the process of finding specific content.
Better analytics for higher-quality content and ad delivery—Sophisticated analysis and reporting tools in next-generation compliance systems take quality and problem analysis to a new level. Giving broadcasters the ability to compare and dig more deeply into SCTE messages the system can facilitate more extensive analysis of ad insertion data and proof of ad delivery. In-depth transport stream analysis coupled with the ability to show an impact on QOE reduces the time spent on troubleshooting, and gives engineers a real-time understanding of errors and their impact on quality of experience.
Efficient storage options—One of the more significant additions to modern compliance logging and monitoring solutions is support for on-premise, cloud, or hybrid implementation. By extending storage into the datacenter/cloud while maintaining ready access to stored content, broadcasters can build more collaborative workflows and take better advantage of remote resources. Automated policy-based storage helps broadcasters optimize their use of local and remote storage, typically with a limited amount of near-term storage on a local SAN or NAS and a larger long-term archive in the cloud.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI)-based microservices within the broadcast industry has matured to the point that they too can be a valuable addition to a logging and monitoring system. Running in the cloud as a layer atop the compliance system, microservices can be spun up as needed to complete specific tasks at scale. Processing tasks can include speech-to-text for closed-caption or transcript generation; assess closed-caption or Teletext conformance to streaming services’ standards; and harvest new insights from the stored video through face, logo, and image recognition; and ad detection and identification.
While legacy compliance logging and monitoring systems simply don’t offer the rich capabilities of modern systems, they still do many things right. The best next-generation solutions build on those successes and introduce new capabilities that soon will become essentials in their own right. Backed by a responsive and knowledgeable vendor, a new solution can empower the broadcaster to address compliance and regulatory requirements while leveraging captured content to support new projects and services.
Russell Wise is senior vice president of Digital Nirvana and was previously a top executive for Volicon and Verizon Digital Media Services.
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