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What is video management, and how do you improve yours?

What is video management, and how do you improve yours?

Video is the lifeblood of rights owners and production houses, and it’s becoming increasingly vital to marketers and communicators in every industry. But failing to manage video leads to waste, inefficiency, and all-round content chaos. Here’s how effective video management helps to drive success and multiply your ROI.

Video is everywhere

Video Management

When was the last time you visited a website that didn’t have a video element? With 86% of businesses now using it as a marketing tool, the chances are that it’s been a while. Video is incredibly effective, able to generate leads and increase dwell time. According to studies, firms using video show increased sales, and a 66% uplift in web conversions.

Video is everywhere – and for a reason.

But while marketers and brands are still discovering the potential of video, they’re also waking up to something production houses and rights owners have known for rather longer – video is messy. That polished explainer sits atop a mound of outtakes. Sports highlights come from hours of footage. Rushes, binned edits, effects and overdubs all contribute to terabytes of video assets.

The average business publishes 18 videos per month

And that’s just part of the problem. Video workflows rely on efficiency and speed, yet they often span multiple stakeholders and contributors – from videographers and editors, through to copyright owners or compliance teams. Then there’s the challenge of distribution across different regions, channels or formats.

It’s a huge job and there’s no getting away from the fact that videos are bulky assets. Moreover, their production is a skilled and expensive process. Without careful management, costs can escalate and inefficiencies can mount, hollowing out your ROI. It’s why video management is so essential.

What is video management?

Video asset management (VAM)

Video management is concerned with the management of video assets across all stages of their lifecycle, from production, through storage, retrieval and distribution, through to their eventual archival. Typically, a video management solution combines the storage capabilities of digital asset management, with additional tools to support collaborative and distributed working, distribution, license and clip sales, plus other functions.

That’s all very dry, but the bottom line is that a video management solution helps make sense of the sometimes chaos of video production and distribution. It combines a safe and secure place to keep video files with the organisational and search tools needed to find them again. It supports collaborative and iterative workflows, and helps control copyright and prevent version foul-ups. And the most powerful systems, like Imagen Pro, include the distribution, licensing and analytical tools you’ll need to monetise and share your videos to a global audience.

Some studies suggest that up to 78% of digital assets go unused

If you’re creating or distributing video content, or using it in marketing and comms, you’ll know only too well the difficulty of scrabbling around with multiple contributors, using multiple platforms with no central control. So exactly what difference does good video management make?

Advanced security for video management

Video Asset Management and Security

However you’re using your video, the security of your assets is of paramount importance. Video is expensive to shoot and edit, and some footage – e.g. any pre-1952 nitrate-based film stock – can be lost if not properly stored and preserved. Alfred Hitchcock’s second film – The Mountain Eagle – tops the BFI 75 Most Wanted list of missing/lost movies. Only still images remain of the 1926 silent drama. It’s vital that video doesn’t go missing.

At the same time, you probably want to protect films from escaping into the public domain. Protecting the value of content such as TV shows or sports means ensuring that it’s only available to distribution partners, licensees and other authorised viewers. Interviews and product videos can contain confidential information that needs to stay in-house. Even campaign videos, designed for the widest audience, need to be kept under wraps until launch.

A video management system helps ensure the security of your video assets throughout. Granular permissions let you provide the appropriate access level to individuals, teams or agencies. This ensures that the people who need to view or work with assets have the access they need, while others are safely locked out.

Video asset management platforms also help boost video security through features like digital rights management, time-limited links and watermarking – which can visibly mark preview footage. They also protect against unauthorised access with powerful encryption of assets. In Imagen’s case, this happens in transit and at rest, guarding against man-in-the-middle threats and other sophisticated attacks.

Mega metadata is the key

Metadata tools for video management

There’s only so far you can go with the manual naming of folders and files. Even the best filing systems have their limits, and unless they’re universally understood, they inevitably cause problems. Modern storage and retrieval systems augment manually devised storage schemes with metadata – descriptive labels and information based on content. This can be created by hand or automatically during the process of content ingestion.

Video asset management platforms support a huge range of metadata, from embedded data generated during filming, through manually added information – such as actors, genre, event or location. Additionally, market leaders like Imagen are enhancing metadata through leading-edge artificial intelligence, powering new features like the automatic transcription of content.

This wealth of metadata transforms the ease with which video assets can be found. For example, rather than having to trawl through file folders to track down stock footage, a previous interview, product shots and a customer testimonial, you can search using metadata based on video content.

Not only does this massively save time for creatives and other stakeholders who are used to hunting for material, it supports self-service. Internal and external customers can use familiar search tools to find exactly what they’re looking for, without anyone needing to stop work to go and track it down.

It’s a major timesaver, with big productivity benefits, but there’s another big advantage. When assets are easily found, you avoid the costs and delays of having to recreate missing footage, and accelerate your ability to deliver. And for media companies and rights-holders, making your catalogue highly searchable hugely amplifies its value to licensing and distribution partners.

According to an IDC white paper, enterprise DAM boosts revenue for organisations by an average of 24%

Managing content distribution and downloads

Video distribution

Video assets are among the biggest files out there – just one minute of 4K ProRes footage takes up about 6GB. Brands can soon find that their video library amounts to several terabytes of material. Not only is that a lot to store, it can be a challenge to distribute individual files rapidly and securely to the stakeholders, partners and viewers who need them.

Again, an enterprise video management platform can solve this problem. Imagen, for example, currently stores more than two million videos for leading brands. It’s built in the cloud, so it can scale seamlessly to accommodate the very largest archives. It’s also full of features that accelerate the download and delivery of large video files.

Indeed, an online video platform can be critical to the smooth running of content workflows and delivery. Fast links between regional hubs such as Imagen’s Global Distribution Network allow you to distribute videos around the world with ease. Features like push delivery mean that the latest episode, clip or game can be automatically distributed to subscribed users or customers – meaning it’s already downloading before they go looking for it.

Leading enterprise video platforms also support additional features to accelerate downloads, such as the ability to preview lower resolution files online, before downloading the broadcast-ready file on demand. This integrates directly with common distribution scenarios, for example, supporting predefined transcode and delivery workflows for a given recipient, or allowing you to directly publish to social media.

With video production often involving freelancers and agencies, and with many people still working from home, a video asset management platform cuts down wait times and helps improve productivity among distributed workers. Features such as clipping – which lets you select a shorter cut from longer footage – can further reduce download times, letting you share only what’s necessary.

Understanding platform performance with analytics

Video analytics

It’s great being able to get your video content where it’s needed, but what happens once it arrives? Are your shows being shared? Is your screener hitting the right notes? Are mobile views down, or downloads soaring? Video management software provides the analytics you need to understand things like who’s viewing your content, what they’re watching it on, and when they’re doing it.

For format sales teams, this can provide vital insight into which networks are actually viewing your previews or screeners. Use it to tailor your offering at a pitch meeting and it could help you close the deal. Production companies can also use analytics data to mine video insights to understand how their content is performing. Or what to create next. Netflix has built an entire business around this sort of data-driven intelligence.

For marketers these insights are an invaluable way to understand which video content is landing, and which formats work for which messages. A video management solution can provide the insight to compare views, likes and other engagement across channels, to help you further refine your messaging and focus your budget. And as views drop off over time, analytics can help you identify the content that might benefit from a makeover.

For example, Aon uses its Imagen portal to track a variety of metrics including content usage, growth and different video trends. With built-in analytics, Mike Melcher, Technical Director and Producer at Aon can see what videos are being watched, how many times they are watched, and their drop-off rates. “I’ve used [analytics] extensively to show that seven-minute talking head videos just don’t work,” he says.

Streamlining collaboration and iterative workflows

workflows and collaboration

Video production is a challenge even when staff are all in the same location. Given they’re usually not, collaborative tools are as essential as easy searching and fast downloads. Video management software integrates communication and discussion directly into the video workflow, ensuring that stakeholders can share ideas and derive greater insights into content performance.

Key to collaboration is support for in-line commenting, where the discussion around footage and edits is associated with the video in question. And just as copy editors often need to highlight a particular passage of text, time-coded commenting allows collaborators to attach comments to an exact moment in the footage. If you’ve ever tried following cryptic instructions to find a particular edit point or problem, you’ll know how much time and confusion this can save.

A video asset management platform can go further, offering inbuilt tools for managing the workflow. For example, version control can ensure that changes happen in a controlled, linear way, without projects branching off into two competing edits. Support for approvals and other editorial checks help ensure that the right changes have been made, that licenses have been bought, and that any release forms have been signed before a video makes it out into the wider world.

The importance of the archive in video management

importance of video archive

Every asset has a lifespan, and as campaigns wind down, times change or new seasons begin, it’s good to clear out old content and clean up your file structure. The archive shouldn’t be where great content goes to die, though: a video asset management platform helps you focus on what’s new, without losing touch with the past.

Without video management, the archive can be in danger of becoming a sinkhole for valuable IP. Particularly where the video archive is hard to search or offline, it can become too much trouble to seek out older resources – if anyone even remembers they’re there. The end result is that valuable video content can be lost, and existing footage ends up being duplicated because it’s quicker than trying to retrieve the original.

A strong video management solution integrates archive management to balance the best of both worlds: a simplified workspace for current projects, and easy access to older material for reuse and rediscovery. There are benefits for everyday workflows, for example it’s easier to reuse existing footage to make new videos, reducing production costs and accelerating delivery.

The benefits are even more profound for media brands with extensive back catalogues. By digitising, indexing and tagging historic content, it’s easier to restore and relaunch old shows for new audiences. And with quick access to all archived content, there’s the opportunity to track down alternative shots, outtakes and other unseen footage that could now have become priceless.

Building a video management system for the future

Future of video asset management

Video will keep growing in popularity, and its use will become even more important to brands than it is today. TV and internet audiences are insatiable, and digital transformation will continue to drive new opportunities for fresh content and old favourites. Against this, the brands, publishers and rights holders who thrive will be the ones with the best grip on the production, distribution and archival of their video assets.

Video asset management is already an essential, and its importance will only increase. As businesses seek to do more, AI will continue to drive new features that create ever greater opportunities.

● Features such as facial recognition will power richer and more powerful metadata, as platforms identify and tag actors, sports stars or key executives in footage.
● AI has the potential to identify branding and objects in video footage too, saving time and bringing order to previously unstructured data.
● Audio and text analysis, meanwhile, can provide extra layers of metadata, such as speech-to-text and shot detection.

Other AI-driven improvements will further improve the searchability of video libraries and archives, for example using machine learning to understand weather, or a particular model of car, or even activities such as dancing. Future videographers will benefit from richer, automatically generated metadata, allowing greater reuse and more imaginative filmmaking. It’s a tantalising future, but the benefits available today are concrete, and too important to overlook.

Take control of your video assets

Deliver efficiency savings and drives new business opportunities. Why not get in touch today to see what Imagen can do for you?

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