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Taking on the World Sophisticated asset management with targeted, regionalized content opens up new opportunities for global broadcasters by Matthew Rosenstein A sset management systems have come a long way in only a few years. They’ve always offered a world of promise for workflow improvements, but not so long ago asset management silos were the norm – with individual departments within a broadcasting operation - such as news, sports production, and drama - operating their own closed systems, inaccessible to staff in the other departments. Next-generation asset management architectures made a definite improvement on this model by providing transparent, enterprise-wide systems that aimed to make assets available to any authorized personnel, working in any department. Today, as competition for worldwide viewers continues to accelerate among broadcasters and media organizations, this same principle is being expanded. Rather than just managing media assets between and among departments, these systems are enabling the delivery of regionalized, targeted content to audiences anywhere on the planet. A leading-edge broadcasting operation is one that can deliver its program assets to viewers anywhere, in the right format for viewing on any platform, and with the appropriate localization and cultural adjustments. The delivery network that now encircles the globe makes it possible to move assets almost anywhere, however staying on top of increasingly complicated consumer demand is also key in this process. A highly sophisticated approach to managing all assets is needed, together with local, on-the-ground expertise for each target market. 64 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE National news organizations such as France 24, Al Jazeera, and Russia Today are taking a leading role in this movement towards globalization. These new players from non-English speaking countries are seeking to counter the dominance of American and British media by adopting a model of global-yet-regionalized broadcasting. They offer multilingual versions of their channels; e.g. French, English, and Arabic for France24, Arabic and English for Al Jazeera, and Russian, English, Arabic and Spanish for Russia Today. Furthermore, each broadcaster did extensive work to identify target markets and to regionalize content and presentation to appeal to local audiences. The increased mobility of the global workforce and record levels of immigration provide another powerful incentive for broadcasters to globalize. One example is Bollywood broadcaster B4U, which has recently made a strong push to launch versions of its channels specifically for audiences in the UK, USA, India, Malaysia and the Middle East. They were faced with a common problem, however: managing the impressive amount of content required for new channels and organizing it to suit new feeds. In fact, B4U was struggling with more than 22,000 hours of content from eight channels sitting on tapes in various rooms in its Indian headquarters. For the solution, B4U contracted with GlobeCast for tapeless playout and media management services for eight of its worldwide channels. Now, B4U is migrating all of its tape- based content to a digital workflow, with India-created content ingested into a media asset management (MAM) system and then delivered to a library in GlobeCast’s central London facility. Editors at B4U can access, edit, and finish content prior to playout in a tapeless environment that minimizes both cost and timing issues. When content has been edited and is ready for playout, it is transcoded and automatically delivered to GlobeCast’s playout automation system, with subtitling in English, Malay, and Arabic inserted live at the point of playout, along with automatic audio level control, logo insertions and graphics. With this end-to-end workflow, B4U has been able to speed time to air across a variety of markets while at the same time providing a foundation for flexible multiplatform distribution. Today’s ambitious broadcast and media organizations are either considering or already actively developing systems and workflows that enable global reach in conjunction with regionalized content. Putting together a globalization/regionalization operation can be a daunting challenge, but the business benefits are significant. These companies have discovered that careful and expert regionalization is an important key to successfully attracting a global audience, and, when combined with a cost-effective and robust delivery infrastructure, can provide a crucial value-added service that eases a broadcaster’s route to the world, expanding to new audiences and finding new sources of revenue Matthew Rosenstein is Director of Corporate Communications for GlobeCast.