Don’t tell me you’re still manually managing your online live broadcasts

This article lays out how you, as a broadcaster or live content provider, can optimize and automate your digital operational workflows to achieve the permanent corporate goal of reducing manual work.

Matias Høibraaten

September 10, 2020

In this article

Broadcasting channels and live events on digital platforms can be a challenge form any content owners. And no, I’m not talking about stability and the robustness of the streams – that’s a discussion for another day. What I’m going to talk about is this: How you, as a broadcaster or live content provider, can optimize and automate to drastically improve your digital operational workflows to achieve the permanent corporate goal of reducing manual work.

I have seen the challenges myself. During my time as part of the editorial team for Online Sports at TV 2 Norway, I experienced the challenges faced in the live broadcast world on a daily basis. I was part of a team responsible for digitally broadcasting premium sports rights to the Norwegian audience through TV 2’s streaming service. 

The English Premier League, both the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Tour de France – the list goes on.. TV 2 has a long history of broadcasting sports online, and they were averaging, and still are, an impressive amount of sports events per week throughout the year.

Manual work included when managing live channels

However, we still did plenty of manual work.

  • Creating assets in our digital OTT system 
  • Populating them with metadata and images 
  • Manage times for broadcast schedules 
  • Linking the assets with the correct feeds and scheduled encoders 
  • Managing spreadsheets and publication rights 
  • And a lot more

All to send events online. And all this, done manually! How could this be? How could a leading Nordic broadcaster depend so heavily on this amount of manual work? 

Luckily this has all changed, and every manual task that I just mentioned has now been completely automated. For those of you who manage large scale installations with many channels, live events, sports events and so forth – and for those who recognize these challenges:

I recommend you to continue reading. 

Removing manual work for broadcast

If you are still with me, let me try and repay the favour by explaining how you can get rid of a lot of this manual work yourself. So, what is the secret? Let’s break down these common challenges a bit more to look at what could be done in the individual areas. 

If we start with the first, and probably the biggest task that many people have: Creating new digital assets for the online distribution of live events. Many broadcasters experience that for every channel or live event they are to broadcast on their streaming service, they have to create a new asset in their OTT system. 

Why is that you might ask? The answer? The age old problem in the broadcasting industry: Because traditional linear systems and the live streaming systems don't speak to each other in a sufficient way for people to trust the output. 

This leaves you with an independent set of digital assets, that means you now have to populate them with metadata, match them with broadcast schedules and match them with correct feeds and live encoders. 

As many broadcasters will easily average 50-100 live events and shows throughout a normal weekend, this creates high volumes  of manual work. Then, when an event is finished, many need to manually manage the publication rights and license windows for the live events to ensure the correct live-to-VOD and catch-up criteria are met according to your contracts. 

What are you left with? A lot of people – managing a ton of work  – all done manually. 

So what did we do at TV 2? How did we salvage ourselves from this dreaded circle of manual work creating more manual work? I’ve already mentioned the core issue: The set of assets were separated from everything else, meaning we had to re-do a lot of tasks that were already being managed by other departments. 

The solution, therefore, was to connect our set of assets with the other systems in the value chain and to utilize these systems to extract the metadata we needed to automatically populate our digital assets. 

We also needed a tool that would allow us to make instant changes to any metadata in the set of digital assets, without interfering with anyone else’s workflows. This way we kept control of the assets, by not making us dependent on other systems and departments. 

So the question now is – what is the tool that changed the game for me at the time, and that has solved this problem for many others with the same needs?

Vimond Live Channel Planner. Using this product, we are able to utilize the broadcast EPG schedules to automatically populate the CMS and OTT systems with digital assets that reflect the broadcast schedules. It will populate all these assets with the correct metadata and broadcast times, meaning they are instantly ready for online broadcast. The product will also ensure that the correct publication rights (live-to-VOD/catch-up) are met and followed, taking away the manual post-event work. 

Since the product links in with the broadcast tools, it means a broadcaster can maintain the same assetID throughout the complete workflow, allowing us to stay in complete control of what and where the assets are. 

Efficient live channel planing

A completely automated process, where the content coming from linear broadcasts is created, packaged and prepared for online broadcasts – allowing online teams to focus their precious efforts on something else than repetitive manual labour that should be completely unnecessary. 

I for one was truly impressed by the new workflow and funnily enough, now work for Vimond. But these are just my words and maybe not what you think? 

Feel free to reach out to inquire and comment about Vimond’s Live Channel Planner – we’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Talk to Vimond!

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