Decoded: Hide and SEAC
In managing thousands of digital assets necessary to Sky’s programming, internal teams and external stakeholders required a streamlined, efficient asset management system.
Brittany Golob reports - Communicate, Thursday, 06 August 2015 11:51.
Problem: Sky is a content-rich company. Content is its business. Yet, managing all the digital assets – namely audio-visual content – was becoming inefficient for the editorial asset management team. The internal department charged with processing the thousands of requests per month from internal and external users found it was wasting hours every week responding to requests and speaking to users over the phone and via email. These requests, and more often, follow-ups chasing content, were actually detracting from the time the team had to actually fulfill requests.
Glenn Bestic, acting senior manager: content services – media at Sky says, “We had identified the time being spent every week on servicing hundreds of requests for images by telephone and email was proving inefficient. In addition, we had found that there was inconsistency (and sometimes inaccuracy) with the images being used to promote its TV programmes and movies both internally and externally – in the media, for marketing and advertising campaigns, on its website and across the company’s electronic programme guides for different services. So the objectives were improve the consistency, availability, accuracy and delivery efficiency of editorial assets.”
Strategy: Sky turned to Evolved Media Solutions, a company well-versed in content management for media and publishing companies and retailers, among others, and Woodwing, a digital asset management developer to help solve their asset management problems. Russell Pierpoint, owner of Evolved Media Solutions says the main requirement was to achieve a level of consistency in terms of brand and working efficiency while simplifying the team’s ability to fulfill requests for assets. They had six weeks to do so.
In came WoodWing, whose digital asset management (DAM) system, Elvis, is set up to fit into existing IT, be used through a web browser, not an app, and to flexibly meet clients’ needs. “Elvis has a very high level of ease of use and success of user interface. We compared the other solutions available in the market and they had quite a strong IT approach,” PR manager at WoodWing Stefan Horst says. “We think that Sky is the first entertainment broadcaster using a system like Elvis.” Elvis eliminated the need for extensive staff training and streamlined its usability.
But Elvis was just the platform. They Sky Editorial Asset Centre (SEAC) came to life through its front page, or user interface, and request and scheduling systems had to be built to suit Sky’s editorial asset management team’s needs. Pierpoint says the request system was designed to show users exactly at what stage their request is at any given time. This eliminates the need for follow-ups, thereby increasing efficiency.
SEAC can also be scaled up to accommodate the ever-growing content databases of the modern broadcaster. All of the content is accessed by a flexible search system that uses metadata and keywords to quickly find the right content for the right user. Pierpoint says Sky had traditionally used a mixture of services to search for content, some internal and some external, like Getty Images, bringing all of these databases together allowed for more effective labelling, metadata and more efficient, search capabilities.
But Evolved Media also had to consider the scheduling and programming aspect of Sky’s business. The asset managers respond to individual requests, but they also feed content into areas within the business, to the media and to other stakeholders based on the programming schedule. By connecting Elvis to all of the scheduling information across Sky, it could seamlessly integrate requests with programming needs.
Bestic says, “We decided on this particular system because it was able to deliver flexibility – the product was designed with a highly configurable toolset, and extremely fast search capability due to its index design, both key elements for us.”
Rationale: Efficiency and consistency were the objectives set out by Bestic and his team and efficiency and consistency were what they got. Not only has the DAM system eliminated hours of inefficient work, but it has simplified the technical aspects of the broadcaster’s asset management. With the integration of scheduling and request management into Elvis platform, the DAM system joined up areas of the business that had traditionally been segmented. Pierpoint says, “I think a lot of these processes traditionally have been quite segmented, so from a business perspective with Sky, what this has allowed them to do is pull people together. It has resulted in structural changes in the business. Overall, it has pulled together a lot of fragmented processes.”
It also ensured that requests are fulfilled correctly and quickly. Bestic adds, “It has allowed us to store all our assets in one central repository giving our users a simple way to source and use the right image for the right purpose, and to meet all their image requirements. And ultimately we now have a system that has met our objectives of improving the consistency, availability, accuracy and delivery efficiency of editorial assets.”
The new system has been well-received by Bestic’s team, as Pierpoint and Horst may have expected. Unexpectedly, however, Bestic notes that system has become popular internally as well. Over 450 users have submitted requests through the DAM system and word is spreading. Pierpoint says this is down to a streamlining of fragmented processes and the ability of the new interface to act as a self-service system. It allows people more control over their asset requests and enhances transparency throughout the process.
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