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Why the ‘superabundance’ of content is proving tricky

Simon Trudelle, senior director product marketing at NAGRA, looks at why effective media asset management is crucial for pay-TV operators and content owners

Today’s pay-TV landscape is a dream for content consumers; we’ve never been so spoilt for choice when it comes to the entertainment on our screens.

But this superabundance is proving a tricky task for pay-TV operators and content owners. The sheer complexity of the current content distribution chain is driving up costs and creating challenges.

Consider just some of the issues the media value chain currently faces; there’s the numerous content vendors and sources, the vast amount of VoD and SVoD assets, the huge file sizes and different transfer protocols. There are also other factors like storage capacity and version control, the different transcoding and file delivery formats, as well as security leaks and tracing of content.

And as we know, these aren’t the only complications facing operators and content owners. They also have to think about the increasingly fragmented content distribution market – meanwhile, the lines between production, aggregation, distribution and indeed consumption, continue to blur.

Throw in the numerous technological hurdles to boot and what do we have? Low-quality content that leaves owners and producers frustrated with an apparent mishandling of their valuable property, and operators faced with a hard sell of content that doesn’t exactly stand up to the promise of a modern viewing experience.

Why does this happen? There are, as ever, a variety of factors – the poor quality of a video asset (even up to seventh-generation copies), not using video optimised transcoders, incomplete or faulty metadata, a lack of quality control on the part of vendors, and increasingly tight production lead-times which are bound to lead to mistakes and late launches. And last but not least, there is the issue of not achieving the full potential of cloud-based services.

So, how can pay-TV providers and content owners address these challenges?

First, by implementing effective media asset management which offers simplified and automated workflow for VoD content, great video quality, advanced audio and subtitling features, secure storage and distribution, as well as quick-start VoD services

Second, side by side with effective media asset management is ensuring proper security for high-value content. With the rapidly evolving threat of modern content piracy, watermarking has become an invaluable component to protect content delivery across the entire premium content lifecycle, covering pre-release distribution, early release content, 4K premium VoD and even operator-specific watermarking.

Secure storage in particular, combined with effective content encryption, forensic watermarking and anti-piracy services, offers a robust approach as content leaks can be identified at the source along the content value chain – a must-have given today’s rapidly evolving piracy ecosystem.

Ultimately, as VoD and SVoD catalogues expand all over the world, and viewer expectations continue to rise, operators and content owners will continue to face relentless cost, complexity, video quality and security challenges.

It’s crucial, therefore, that operators seek expert help – after all, this isn’t a job that they can do alone.

NAGRA’s DVnor Media Asset Management solution, for example, is designed to give operators a simplified and automated workflow for VoD content, as well as delivering immaculate video quality, advanced audio and subtitling features, secure storage and distribution, and quick-start VoD services. Integrated with NexGuard watermarking, it allows both operators and content owners to store and distribute film and TV assets for worldwide distribution with the peace of mind that valuable content remains secure at every step.

But as the distribution market continues to fragment, and tech hiccups continue to frustrate, effective media asset management will surely prove a vital component to the delivery of high-quality content to subscribers and the future success of pay-TV operators and content owners.