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Asset Management Leads Industry into Multimodal World

If ever there was a magic technology, it would probably resemble something like this: an intuitive system that allows you to tap out a few queries, and then automatically search for and find miniscule amounts of information — be it a phrase, an image or just a small piece of metadata — from anywhere within a database.

Just with a click of a button.

While it's hardly magic, the technology does exist, and has played a growing role in the broadcast chain over the last few years in the form of asset management technology.

As this industry has expanded, the NAB Show has responded with a wider array of options for attendees looking to explore the benefits of asset management technology. A number of sessions and conferences will touch on media management technologies in the form of sessions, papers and conferences including the Post|Production World Conference track "Focus of Technology: The Digital Facility."

Here, sessions such as "Sharing Media: Building a SAN for Your Facility" will look at the basics of local and network attached storage. The track will also focus on the best ways of repurposing material for a so-called multimodal distribution environment.

The session "HD Review and Approval" will look at the more popular ways of distributing HD material for review and approval.

Other conferences, like the wide-ranging Broadcast Management Conference, will encourage broadcasters to rethink their content, revenue and audience development strategies as part of sessions like "Building and Implementing an Effective Strategic Plan."

Attendees can also find content management vendors out on the show floor, both in the North Hall and upper floor of the South Hall of the convention center.

KEYS TO SUCCESS(click thumbnail)
AmberFin iCR4.5 Screenshot

"For broadcasters, the keys are to find, reuse and monetize," said Dave Polyard, senior vice president of sales for Front Porch Digital, a firm that manufacturers the DIVArchive content management system, which works to manage and leverage content.

Other well-known solutions on the market include large-scale systems like the iTX from Omnibus, which is designed to manage the entire ingest, management and playout process; and newer firms like AmberFin, whose iCR content mastering and transcoding software gives users the ability to search for a prep content for both broadcast and the Web.

After all, it's no longer a single-distribution world. For broadcasters looking to make the most of their media, content created for one venue must find its way on the Web, on to mobile devices and beyond.

"If you want to do different versions of a broadcast — HD in Europe, standard definition in the U.S., a stream for the Web — you can really tailor content to get the best possible chance of sales [on different platforms]," said Bruce Devlin, CTO for AmberFin.

Today broadcasters must prep material for an HD broadcast, while knowing that the same clip — and all its precious metadata — must migrate to the Web and again to handheld mobile devices before the day is through. This so-called multimodal distribution scenario is a key priority for many broadcasters as they not only attempt to keep tabs on prized content, but consider how best to monetize that material in an downsizing, uncertain economy.

And since putting together journalistically sound and format-appropriate content for the Web and mobile devices is now a full-time job for many broadcast station editors, by giving them an application for digital asset management, Webmasters are able to create that material easily.

It's clear it's no longer just a fringe opportunity. It's become imperative that stations consider how content can be repurposed onto alternative platforms, and asset management technologies can help drive that process. The industry is simply beginning to think about broadcasting differently.

Added Front Porch's Polyard: "A lot of broadcasters have a dead archive, as they don't have the technical methodology to make use of it. It's important to have content available."

Susan Ashworth is the former editor of TV Technology. In addition to her work covering the broadcast television industry, she has served as editor of two housing finance magazines and written about topics as varied as education, radio, chess, music and sports. Outside of her life as a writer, she recently served as president of a local nonprofit organization supporting girls in baseball.