The role of technology in combating fragmentation: B'cast Indaia

MUMBAI: Broadband, Telecom, Wireless, Energy. The emerging gatekeepers of content. The Distributor is all set to rule. In the face of multiple platforms and an equal number of delivery modes and formats, how does one fight fragmentation effectively? Three sessions down at Day 2 of Broadcast India and one has more questions than answers... The sessions were effective, they set one thinking.



In keeping with Indian trends, the day began an hour late, but once underway the speakers had the audience at rapt attention. Robin Alter from Descriptive USA, spoke on Metadata Architecture for broadcast. The session was an informative one, wherein Alter spoke on the benefits of creating a proper metadata architecture.



Alter said, "Metadata enables business to run in an ever changing world of different perspectives." Some key benefits he pointed out were-

Efficient and advanced searching of content within the database

New revenue and improved product development

Distribution of any format to any channel

Reduced IT complexity

He emphasised on the importance of segmenting content hierarchically into segments, sequences and shots. "Describe the complete video while including it in the database. Mention details like background, date, title, context, frame rate, format etc. You never know in which way you could reuse the same content either in part or completely for different formats."

The second session had veteran broadcasting expert S S Swani giving a talk on 'Emerging technologies in broadcasting' Swani served as Doordarshan chief engineer for 35 years before he retired in 1994. The veteran has since had stints at Times Television and is currently with Panasonic Visuals.

Speaking on how material sciences, micro electronics and space science had contributed to the evolution of broadcasting, Swani took the audience through a general comparison between various formats and spoke about the new emerging ones. An interesting thing he spoke about was the increasing use of HDTV cameras to get the rich film like feel. He also argued that, "Even as there is an ongoing debate about the PC moving forward to replace the TV with the help of broadband, the mindset when one is in front of the TV is quite more relaxed as to the mindset when one is in front of the PC."

Quentin Staes Polet speaking about capitalising content within the media and the entertainment space, gave a very enriching and strong presentation. He emphasised on the need for content creators to explore as many business model pilots as possible. He also alerted about the impending fragmentation and urged the audience to start thinking about how they would incentivise the audiences to view advertisements in the face of PVRs and NVOD.

He illustrated how the new distributors were becoming the gatekeepers of content. He also drew the audience's attention to the fact that if content creator didn't work out and package content specifically for the consumers across different platforms, then the advertisers would prefer to switch to the carrier who created specific packages keeping audiences in mind.

Polet further elucidated about how Digital Rights management and asset management would become crucial. "Digitise your assets. Find the killer application for your content type. Convergence based services are about cost versus benefit."

Even as one left the symposium, the big question kept nagging. How does one combat fragmentation effectively, using the same technology that has caused it?

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