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DISTRIBUTION & DELIVERY Seamless and automated online publishing by Rino Petricola, COO and Managing Director, Front Porch Digital I n today’s anywhere/ anytime/any screen media environment, companies and advertisers have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with audiences. Consumers’ appetite for Internet-enabled gadgets and devices is showing no signs of abating, driven by improvements in encoding technology and bandwidth infrastructure. These advances are enabling content owners to deliver video over IP networks (also known as over-the-top or OTT) often at higher quality than by traditional linear terrestrial and satellite methods. OTT delivery is not without its challenges, however. In order to take strategic advantage of the growing online publishing opportunity, media organizations must revamp their operations to make them more effi cient and technically sound. Content owners need technologies and tools to minimize up-front capital investment and headcount, maximize fl exibility to test new target devices and platforms, and automate the complex technical workfl ows required to distribute content to every consumer device. Online publishing comes of age These requirements are now being effectively addressed by fully automated, highly effi cient, rules- based online publishing solutions that support all popular consumer technologies. In some cases, media organizations can even leverage cloud services, with their scalable resources, to minimize capital costs 52 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 91 JULY 2014 and streamline workfl ows. Such online solutions offer great promise for media companies that have previously relied on homegrown and unnecessarily complex content management and distribution solutions to push content directly or indirectly to the end viewer. The most effective cloud-based OTT publishing solutions are based on content storage management (CSM), which drives a fundamental fi le-based infrastructure for production, editing, playback, content archiving, and content exchange. CSM interconnects any number of independent, fi le- based workfl ow “silos” with complete transparency to a central, unifi ed storage repository comprised of cost-effective, commodity, IT-based storage devices. The most advanced CSM solutions can tap into the CSM storage repository automatically, regardless of content format, and publish assets directly to any type and any number of online media platforms, including websites, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and aggregation/ syndication sites. CSM as a cloud service Recent advancements in the area of CSM “as a service” leverage hybrid cloud technologies to help make CSM more scalable, cost-effective, and accessible, even to smaller organizations – with cloud services performing all necessary and complex transcoding, metadata, packaging, scheduling, and delivery tasks. Furthermore, cloud-based direct online publishing makes it possible to backload costs based on end-user uptake rather than investing up front in staffi ng or equipment. With this strategy, an organization can test new revenue streams with minimal risk or disruption to workfl ow. Another advantage of cloud-based implementations is that they provide the detailed viewer analytics required to help ensure optimal return on investment. An advanced online publishing platform automatically