We are just back from an exhausting, but educational four days at the 2011 National Association of Broadcaster’s convention and wanted to report on a few trends we saw.
The industry is experiencing exponential growth in delivery of content for nonlinear viewing on an expanding number of platforms. One person we spoke with observed that there are already over 80 different interfaces and devices supporting the personalized delivery of television. Lurking beneath all this excitement lay significant challenges in cost and scale for content owners.
Manufacturers are beginning to help with new workflow tools. Henry Ford would love these new systems, which help to orchestrate the processing of content across an organization. Workflow management, when coupled with asset management will permit repeatable processes to be automated and manual processes to be assigned to the appropriate operator.
One significant cost area that still has much room for improvement is quality control. A traditional linear channel requires one QC step for each program or commercial aired. Because of all the new format requirements, one of our clients now needs to check over 30 formats! As an industry, we are just beginning to invent and embrace tools to deal with the problems this creates.
Although there are many file-based quality control systems, one key feature we want, but did not find, is the ability to use a master reference file to assist in the examination of descendant files. In that way, hard to measure items like lip sync, or hard to ignore items like video pixelation effects, could simply be compared back to the reference. Checks could also be performed more quickly because systems will know where to find the difficult parts. We’ll keep pushing the vendors for this feature.
Look for our full NAB report which will be out next week. We cover these requirements and more in our recently released TV stations infrastructure study, which details over three hundred and fifty US stations.