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Multi-channel Playout at DMC

Rick Phelps is Head of Quality Assurance and Reporting at Chello DMC.

Leila Ahmed, Traffic Team Leader for Chello DMC and IBMS Workflow Chellomedia’s Digital Media Centre is one of Europe’s leading providers of channel playout services, TV distribution, and content delivery for new media. We’ve built our reputation on multi-lingual and multi-platform broadcasting – and we currently transmit 63 SD and HD channels across continental Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Through multi-channel playout, post production, on-demand services, and channel management, we’re committed to supporting any multi-language, multi-territory television broadcast requirement.

A complex operation such as Chello DMC demands a high-powered content management infrastructure. Pilat Media’s Integrated Broadcast Management System (IBMS) has been one of the components in this architecture since 2002, and has been leading in automating and coordinating all content acquisition, planning, and scheduling processes. Last year we migrated to the .NET-based version 6 of IBMS that includes some potentially powerful workflow and customization capabilities.

As we’ve grown our business and taken on increasingly complex workflows, IBMS has grown with us. When we first adopted IBMS, the Chello DMC in Amsterdam was the world’s largest multi-language playout facility – and we worked closely with Pilat Media to jointly build multi-language capabilities into the system. Over the past few years the industry has moved away from physical media and towards digital operations and we have experienced the value-added role IBMS can play in managing tapeless, digital workflows. With digital files and metadata replacing physical materials, we have been able to realize real efficiency gains.

We are faced with a large increase in the number of assets and the amount of data we process. DMC has therefore been working on building extensive workflows and processes that will not only enable a fully digital infrastructure within our internal operation, but will facilitate digital interactions with our clients. IBMS plays an important role, as its new release version 6 is able to provide a central system for initiating workflows, triggering another process as one is completed, and obtaining the status of media as they move through the organization.

To give a workflow example, one of our feeds might have up to 20 different language versions attached to a single video file – 10 subtitled versions and 10 dubbed audio files. To facilitate this degree of multi-lingual playout, we provide all of the proxy materials for our clients to create the necessary dubbed or subtitled versions of each program. When we receive the video file from a client, it includes an XML file containing the metadata describing its attributes like a log sheet would. Previously, we would have had to designate a person to input this data manually. Now the metadata in XML is used to match an inbound file to a title in IBMS and then register it, via web services, with other Chello DMC systems, such as our OmniBus Systems ingest system.

Signiant, our file transfer system, will then be triggered to move the file to the inbound section of the workflow. At the same time, a trigger is sent to the transcoding system to convert the file to the required formats based on its source and where it will be played out. IBMS will also trigger the creation of proxy files for use in the creation of language components and then deliver these to a directory, also created by IBMS workflow, on our browse/proxy archive where clients can retrieve them.

The seamless integration of all DMC’s key systems ensures that these workflows proceed smoothly. The automation of processes allows DMC to provide better service and improved quality, while at the same time we can very competitively offer services that clients used to do themselves through the gained efficiencies.