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Scheduling VOD from within the heart of the station

Triggered by the growing demand from its customer base, MediaGeniX has released a VOD module as part of its WHATS’On channel management and scheduling software. The module allows an operator to efficiently manage the workflow of on-demand content and to accurately manage the rights, material and scheduling. The combination of the VOD workflow with the linear workflow — in a single system — will bring the long awaited business gains to companies that provide multimedia and multi-platform services.

An efficient back office for VOD content is based on a number of components, such as detailed rights management, workflow support, material management, portal metadata and communication with the different VOD platforms, playout suites and media asset management systems.

Combining VOD services with linear channels promises significant business and workflow advantages. When combining linear and VOD platforms, it is possible to offer appealing services such as catch-up TV, rewind functionality and even previews of popular series, as well as a catalogue of content on a pay-per-view or subscription basis. This content can be consumed on any device, location or time. In other words, it truly offers what the viewer wants, when and where he wants it.

Efficient reuse of information

The workflow, the required data, and the broadcast material, for both VOD and linear operation largely overlap. This overlap implies easy reuse of information, material and infrastructure and also efficiency improvements in the workflow. Through the introduction of VOD support in WHATS’On, this promise now becomes achievable. Documents and processes like contracts, payments, material workflow and scheduling are no longer treated separately, but flow seamlessly between VOD and linear services.

Of course, linear and VOD content do not always have the same rights or use the same material, but there are evident benefits in being able to reuse information. Subtitles and captions can be reused. The same goes for metadata and press information. Contract and license information are a little more complex. On the one hand, rights will be different for VOD and linear, allowing the user to describe runs and amortization, as well as platform rights and revenue share models. But things get more complicated when combined rights are described. This is the case for preview, rewind and catch-up TV, as the different services offered on a VOD platform are related to the broadcast on linear TV. In WHATS’On, these services can be scheduled by rules so that no additional manipulation is required for these services. The scheduler needs to be aware that not all of the linear content may be offered on additional VOD services.

The complexity of offering more services to the viewer and offering content on more platforms — in both linear and on-demand models — require an effective back office. The small profit margins on VOD and the increased complexity of contracts with distributors and rights holders (who seem keen to maximize their profit as well) require a high degree of automation and efficiency to be successful in this competitive market.

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