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Discovery system aids repurposing

Aug 19, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Discovery International has found a way to streamline its international repurposing process with an end-to-end content and asset management environment designed for its four international regions-Europe, Asia, Latin America and India.
As a global company with assets that are repurposed for both television and new media, Discovery International needed a system that would allow it to recycle its content efficiently, said Tanya Field, VP of new media for Discovery Networks International. “It’s the same content exploited in different ways for each market. [We have] a virtual circle of entertainment, so we needed an end-to-end environment so we didn’t have to repurpose it for every country and language,” she said.
To that end, Discovery spent more than a year developing a system comprising proprietary tools and vendor technology from Artesia. The system allows the producer to create a master copy of sorts that can be retrieved and modified for different regions, languages and distribution platforms.
The Discovery system-which is expected to be fully deployed by Sept. 1-relies on a proprietary forms-based input so that content is entered in such a way that it can be stored in a digital asset-management system and drawn out by other users. The forms-based environment slices up the content to make it suitable for playout to multiple platforms.
“[Users] pull out the original asset and implement a translation and that becomes a second version of the asset,” said Ms. Field. “Each region may retrieve it for something completely different. It has attached to it the ability to play out across interactive TV, narrowband, broadband and wireless, because of the proprietary forms based input.”
The assets are stored in the digital-asset-management system from Artesia. The backend of the system is the playout environment that allows users to distribute the content to a number of different platforms. For example, for this month’s Shark Week feature, Discovery International will want to design a new media output for TV, narrowband, broadband, ITV and a wireless game, she said. The producer will tell the system what he or she intends to do, then input the content into paragraph format in forms that are suitable for multiple playout.
“They break down the document into elements and choose templates to publish content to. Then they say, `These are templates’ and publish the relevant section, determined by the way it was inputted, to those playout devices,” she explained. Not all content will be used in all environments. In broadband, for instance, a 3-D graphic would be used that wouldn’t in narrowband, she said. In this fashion, assets are developed in a way that they can be retrieved for localization.
Keeping the assets in a central repository allows for easier customization, said David Lipsey, VP of media and entertainment for Artesia in Rockville, Md. The company’s TEAMS software is the storehouse for the Discovery system. “It increases efficiency and reduces looking-around time, such as `Who has it. Where is it. Can I use it?” he said. The repository also keeps track of how often clips and pictures are used. That information can be valuable in marketing and royalty decisions so that an asset isn’t used too much, he said.