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Provys: Still searching for MAM at IBC?

In the last few years we have witnessed a growing popularity of Media Asset Management systems. Functionality of these systems varies from vendor to vendor. Often, there are even completely different opinions of what MAM really is. Is it an archive or a production tool? Is it an IT system or a studio engineering device? The answer is not easy because different MAM suppliers define various key MAM functions, and influence the industry’s MAM understanding.

Let’s take a look at MAM from the perspective of broadcasting or nonlinear content distribution. The ultimate goal for every broadcaster to achieve is to have clear and orderly information concerning thousands of media assets stored on different servers, and their readiness for playout. In particular, the broadcasters require a simple visual system displaying the realtime status of every single media asset.

Provys designed such ‘traffic light’ system and gave it a working name ‘Media Asset Tracking’. The red, amber and green icons indicate ‘missing’, ‘available’ and ‘TX-ready’ respectively. This concept goes even deeper as each media asset contains within it a subset of essences (video, audio tracks, subtitles, etc.) and each of these essences must also be monitored using the traffic light system.

One of the first broadcasting organisations who chose Provys’s Media Asset Tracking was Arqiva. Some of their principal reasons for choosing Provys were:
l A huge volume of new material transmitted every day and a need to forecast the volume of media processing required for each day
l Media Asset Tracking allows full display of the current status enabling timely chasing of missing assets to avoid last minute panic
l Regular reporting back to Arqiva’s clients regarding all stages of the planning and playout of the respective media
l Smooth control of all necessary content processing such as transcoding and quality control, together with all associated workflows
l Integration with all connected systems

In a superior way to other broadcast management systems, Provys practises non-stop automatic proactive scanning of all in-house servers, including ingest, archive and playout servers, in order to gather realtime data on the status of all media for use by the operations team. Provys also scans all related remote ftp servers, belonging to advertising agencies and other content providers.

The development of these interfaces was the result of joint cooperation between the Provys team and Arqiva’s engineering team who are deeply immersed in all the complexities of their IT platform. Successful integration with Diva, Media Grid and Omneon can serve as an example of this cooperation.

The Media Asset Tracking solution also brings with it additional functionalities. Principal among these is volumetrics, through which analysis of different storages is achieved. Provys monitors media volumes on servers protecting them from over-capacity and potential loss of data.

Sometimes broadcasters feel they need more sophisticated MAM, whereas Media Asset Tracking based on a solid broadcast management platform, such as Provys, can be a better and more economical solution for their facility.