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10 easy ways to control rights management

If you’re a sports organisation or federation, you’ll be only too aware of the importance of effective rights management. But how do you balance the need to protect your IP with the requirements of broadcasters, media and other partner organisations?

By: Spyros Poulis

If you’re a sports club, organisation or federation, you’re likely sitting on a huge library of intellectual property. From archive footage to the latest matches and live broadcasts, content is likely to be your most valuable asset.

This is undoubtedly true financially, with broadcast licences often worth many millions of pounds. Sky is thought to have paid £1 billion for its six-year Formula 1 deal in the UK, while the Premier League’s global broadcasting income is expected to total £10 billion over the next three years. However, content is also likely to be your most powerful tool for attracting and engaging your wider fanbase, and continuing to grow the value of your brand.

To realise the full potential of your video and photo content, you need to license and distribute it to broadcasters and other partners. Yet at the same time, you need to retain control over it, ensuring only licence holders get to access your archive – and then only to the parts they’re licensed for.

Rights management becomes a critical function for any business, with the ability to secure and control your archive essential to maximising your brand or franchise value. You simply can’t afford to take chances on sub-standard systems, or tie up rights managers in tedious and error-prone manual processes. 

What is rights management?

In the context of digital content, rights management is often confused with digital rights management (DRM). While the latter usually describes embedded digital technologies that prevent unauthorised use of an asset, rights management refers to the wider process of ensuring content is used in accordance with the relevant rights and agreements that are in place.

In practice, rights management means ensuring that, for example, a photographer or publisher gets credited when their pictures are used. It also means ensuring that assets aren’t used outside of any licensing agreement in place – for example in the wrong territory, or when the agreement has expired.

How do leading sports organisations handle rights management?

Well-known sports organisations like The Premier League, WTA, and the International Tennis Federation have turned to media asset management technology for rights management. They’ve said goodbye to error-prone, semi-manual processes in favour of automation.

So let’s look at 10 ways that a media asset management system will simplify rights management:

1. Preventing unauthorised access

A good media asset management system will include powerful and granular access management, meaning you have complete control over who can see what content. Access can be assigned to individuals or groups, and automatically expired when no longer needed.

2. Controlling unauthorised file sharing

Advanced controls can be put in place to prevent and restrict access to specific files. Features such as expiring media links are dynamically updated, rendering the previous URL redundant and curtailing and detering unauthorised file sharing.

3. Adding rights information

Automated metadata handling ensures that the existing rights information for assets is preserved and uploaded when the asset is ingested into the system. New data can be added automatically or manually in batch operations, or to individual assets.

4. Reading rights informationrised file sharing

Rights metadata is clearly visible alongside, and exported with, files. Users, partners and customers have the information they need in-line, rather than in a separate platform, making it easier for them to understand and comply with licence conditions.

5. Watermarking

Preview content can be protected by your logo or other watermarks. For example, burning on-screen graphics or messages onto proxies before making them available for preview.

6. IP-based geo blocking

You can prevent access to your library from territories not covered by the same rights restrictions,using geolocation restrictions. This may be suitable where content has a staggered global release, or for blocking access to content from territories in which you don’t own the rights.

You can ensure compliance within the period of a licensing agreement by configuring content links that are only valid during that period.

8. Hiding or notifying on expired content

Rights-expired content can be hidden, or restricted to preview only. As the expiry approaches, your media asset management system can auto-notify the rights manager to advise them that the rights need to be renewed.

9. Streamlining distribution workflows

The integrations and automation available in a media asset management system allow rights management to sit within distribution workflows, streamlining content delivery and reducing time to market. When rights management is integrated with distribution, errors are less likely than when they’re managed separately.

10. Generating new revenue streams

Advanced rights management and features like licensing baskets support the delivery of video on demand, and allow partner organisations to self-serve content.

You’ll see a huge acceleration and simplification of rights management and content delivery by deploying media asset management technology. Self-service, automation and streamlining all contribute to faster turnaround for customers, and reduced rights management overheads in the organisation.

This is particularly useful for sporting organisations, who often licence content globally across multiple broadcast or distribution partners. And when a season can involve 23 race weekends, 38 fixtures – or literally thousands of matches – hours of time-sensitive, highly valuable footage can be added to the library every day.

Simplifying sports rights management has a major knock-on benefit for the organisation. Chief content officers, rights managers, media managers and broadcast service managers are freed from cumbersome systems, recovering more time to focus on maximising the return on their rights management programmes. New customers can be onboarded faster, and there’s more time to secure new partners and evaluate other revenue streams for the content archive.

The long-term advantages of media asset management platforms

We’ve focused on the benefits of a media asset management platform as a rights management solution, but it has multiple advantages throughout any organisation that distributes or works with video and other media. Among these, you can also store, secure and provide controlled access to large media archives. With extensive metadata support and powerful search, it’s far easier to organise your library, and to find content within it.

There’s a tangible benefit internally too, through time savings and efficiencies. But it’s also a great help when dealing with affiliates, as Imagen customers including WTA Media, IMG Replay and Chelsea FC can attest. A media asset management system like Imagen Pro allows organisations to create branded, self-service portals, where media partners can go to search, find and even license the content they need. Imagen’s automated distribution and accelerated file download technologies can push relevant content to subscribers, and ensure that file transfers are secure and blisteringly quick, wherever your partners are in the world.

The important point is that your content remains secure, searchable, and ready to serve up. With advanced rights management features you also ensure you protect your IP and brand through careful and effective rights management, while still getting your most valuable content out quickly to the widest audience possible.

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Powerful rights management tools

Our powerful rights management tools help some of the world’s top sporting organisations secure their IP. Discover how Imagen can help you manage and distribute your sports content.

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