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How Rethinking Playout Can Redefine Your Media Supply Chain

By Graham Sharp, BCNEXXT

In an industry that thrives on innovation yet often clings to traditional workflows, BCNEXXT’s presence at a media supply chain event like the recent DPP Media Supply Chain Festival is likely to raise some eyebrows — and for good reason. While BCNEXXT may be recognized as a leading playout provider, we’re not just maintaining the status quo; we’re redefining it. Our forecast reveals a seismic shift in how media professionals, broadcasters, and content producers should approach their playout systems. Here’s why our disruptive approach has the industry talking: because the right playout system can dramatically simplify your media supply chain.

Out with the Old, In with the Efficient

Traditionally, playout systems require asset ingestion for every content version, creating a cumbersome and storage-intensive process. Each version is stored and managed separately, often using Media Asset Management (MAM) systems to organize, retrieve, and distribute content. This creates complex and costly media supply chains. BCNEXXT turns this model on its head by adopting a dramatically more efficient approach. Picture yourself minimizing the use of resources then infinitely scaling to meet your needs. This would enable your company to take a giant cloud-based leap forward. This way, you reduce both complexity and cost while increasing reliability.

It’s not exactly a news flash that subscription and advertising revenues are in decline and distribution costs are high. Since FAST, streaming and other video on demand (VOD) distribution methods are not yet yielding the hoped-for revenue, broadcasters and content owners need to repurpose content, reduce spending and increase revenues. The best way to keep expenditures in check is through high levels of automation and low startup costs.  

Enter Vipe, BCNEXXT’s groundbreaking cloud-native, software-only offering that simplifies and speeds the deployment of fully automated linear playout (including live), over-the-top (OTT), streaming and VOD offerings. It removes multiple silos to simplify media supply chains and enhances reliability. And the best part?  With a single point of technical and financial management, Vipe could slash your costs by up to 60%.

One Asset to Rule Them All

At the heart of BCNEXXT’s philosophy is our reliance on a single source asset. By eliminating multiple ingested versions, Vipe ensures that content remains consistent, accurate, and manageable. This singular focus eliminates the confusion and inefficiency that can plague traditional playout systems, where varying asset versions are scattered across multiple storage solutions. For instance, Vipe can play out three asset variations: one with English audio and Spanish subtitles, another dubbed in Spanish, and a third with English audio accompanied by closed captioning. All services are sourced from a single content pool derived from your original asset.

Vipe pre-assembles then converts files to create a continuous output stream, all in a compressed delivery format for traditional playout. This provides 99.9999% reliable playout from a flat, pre-checked and pre-converted file. By pre-assembling your playout schedules, you can dramatically reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO).

Rather than ingesting every asset, the required versions are generated on the fly based on the schedule or playlist for linear offerings or the manifest for OTT, streaming, and VOD. Vipe stores the resulting files on intermediate storage in the compressed transport stream (TS) format. This innovative method not only streamlines operations but also significantly reduces the need for multiple versions and endpoints coming out of the media supply chain. Your original assets remain unchanged in your content repository; Vipe simply generates the appropriate transmission stream formats. 

All your content can be delivered in a single workflow from the same UI. The parallel processing engine can produce multiple streams of varying bitrate, resolution, audio/subtitle mapping or PID configuration concurrently. Vipe even supports growing files. As soon as a few frames are cached, playout can start while caching and will gain on the schedule. All content is secured since media is not copied from its original location and rendered content is encrypted. Plus, you can make last-minute schedule changes, even up to a few minutes before events play out.

Rethinking Playout’s Role

BCNEXXT isn’t just attending media supply chain events to showcase our capabilities. We’re here to provoke thought and inspire a reevaluation of playout’s role in media supply chain efficiency. The traditional, siloed approach to managing and distributing content is no longer sustainable in the fast-evolving digital landscape. By demonstrating the cost, time, and energy savings of our method, Vipe is paving the way for a new era of media distribution.

One of the most compelling aspects of Vipe is its ability to handle complex tasks such as language selection and soft parting directly in the schedule, without requiring separate assets for each variation. With soft parting, a single source file is used for the entire program with metadata pointers to each of the separate parts. This feature is a game-changer for broadcasters who deal with multilingual content or need to tailor their offerings to specific markets without multiplying their workload. All deliverables go through an automated quality control process to check for availability, compatibility, and corruption. An embedded player lets you perform manual checks, including audio and subtitles.

Dynamic cloud resource management keeps costs to an absolute minimum. The platform enables content owners to spin up new services in minutes on a pay-as-you-use basis, delivering increased agility and financial flexibility. Intuitive user interfaces reduce the operator to channel ratio to quickly deploy free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels without the upfront costs. Pre-preparation and automated QC streamline operations. Our future-minded approach helps reduce operator count and facilitate lights-out operations overnight and during non-peak hours. 

Vipe also dynamically load-balances between simple file-based playout and complex breaks with multi-layer graphics. When the schedule and content are available ahead of time, Vipe levels the resource load across content with  different complexity, using the lowest cost resources. For late-breaking material, Vipe can scale onto quickly available resources so you no longer have to plan for the worst case scenario. Resources are then released once that content is prepared for playout.

The Proof is in the Playout

Vipe’s impact isn’t just theoretical. Vipe was recently recognized with the 2024 NAB Show Product of the Year Award in the Asset Management, Automation, and Playout category. This prestigious award serves as a testament to BCNEXXT’s innovative approach and Vipe’s potential to transform how content is shared. Even more telling, our customer Sky along with Comcast Technology Solutions, was also recognized with an IABM BaM award at the 2024 NAB Show for their advanced playout workflow, which relies on Vipe.

In the dynamic and demanding world of media distribution, efficiency, scalability, and innovation are not just desirable — they’re essential. Vipe’s disruptive approach to playout is more than just a technological advancement; it’s a necessary evolution in how we think about and manage content in an increasingly digital age. The question isn’t why BCNEXXT, a playout solutions provider, is attending a media supply chain event. The question is why anyone committed to the future of media isn’t paying attention.

We’re here to turn heads, foster dialogue, and show you a whole new world of possibilities for your media supply chain. Ready to be part of the revolution? Our easy-to-use benchmark tool lets you gauge the current state of your operations to identify areas for improvement. Download our Playbook to start learning why playout is now an essential part of your media supply chain. 



 

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