If you work in the Media Entertainment and Technology (MET) industry and you are involved in any of the distribution requirements, playout is a key element of your channel. Playout can be on your premises and operated by you or it can be outsourced to a third party, in the ubiquitous cloud, for example. But do you need to run it yourself? That’s the burning question. Here are 10 benefits you can expect from outsourcing your playout.
There’s a good chance you’re not selling your audience your expertise in playout. Your strengths are your abilities to craft great shows or source superb and unique content. But if you do choose to build and operate your own facility, you have to dispatch people to the latest tradeshow on “how to implement playout”, and download various whitepapers like “how to improve playout more than the last improvement”… But this isn’t at the heart of what you do. If you outsource, you still need to know your requirements, however that’s significantly different from actually operating playout yourself. Consider the difference between a property developer and a property owner. If you want to design and build your own house, laying the bricks, plumbing the pipes, wiring the electrics, then keeping things in-house may be for you, otherwise…
This is maybe one of the most important factors, though not always the most obvious or immediate: you move the operational burden to someone else. In other words, someone else is taking care of playout and will handle it all, including nights, weekends and holidays.
Outsourcing allows programmers to invest in their core business. Who wants to spend money on delivery when you can take advantage of an existing, tried and tested system and expertise? If in doubt, ask your CFO. The service provider shoulders the investment for your benefit. And in a business that’s starting to rely on license-based solutions, let a supplier invest in the infrastructure behind it.
Outsourcing should save money if you use the right service supplier. Instead of being locked into complex hardware and support contracts that will likely change in five years, you buy a service. Just like renting and buying. You could argue, yeah but if I live in the house for 20 years, then I’m better buying it, and we would respond by pointing out that if your playout today is anything like it was 20 years ago, there’s something wrong.
Technology moves quickly in our industry. By outsourcing your playout, you can benefit from the latest technology at a reasonable cost. 4K/UHD? You can be 4K/UHD from day one with your provider working with you to implement it properly, or you might want to wait to in order to see how viable it is or even jump directly to 8K. Then there are options like speech-to-text, sophisticated picture-in-picture graphics or many other great playout features. It’s all possible and you can implement new features as and when appropriate with your service supplier.
And if your first move is to get HDR on your existing 1080p format, it works too.
And you get it from a supplier who knows more than just playout; a service supplier who understands the entire workflow from soup to nuts and who can point out weaknesses or development possibilities further down the chain. Nobody wants a Formula One car with a lawnmower engine, right? Playout providers with a broader outlook know what works based upon requirements and experience with other program services…
Outsourcing does not mean you will lose control. On the contrary, by choosing the right service provider, one that’s eager to provide you with best-in-class service, with new features, new tools, or even a whole new solution can be discussed at any time. You name it, the supplier works to either implement it or discusses with you all the available options and opportunities to achieve what you want, using their expertise. It’s a win for you either way.
This may not sound like the greatest advertisement for outsourcing playout, but when you find that perfect supplier, at the right cost with the right applications, you have more money and more time to spend on your Disaster Recovery solution. Most cloud based playout solutions employ redundancy and diversity inherent in the overall design so it avoids incremental costs for Disaster Recovery. .
With the right playout partner, using the latest, adaptable technologies across multiple clients, you can try more features, quickly and more cost-effectively. More regions? Sure! Let’s launch a new channel here, and if the result isn’t as successful as expected, it can be withdrawn with little investment, and if it’s a success, well, the more the merrier. More channels? You can launch a pop-up channel for special events or share a six-hour slot with another broadcaster, for example. You could do that with in-house playout but at what cost? And do you have the resources to rollout this new project? Do you have the contacts a multi-client base brings?
Yes, you can! Workflow management will require constant review as your business grows – compliance, catchup, VOD, SVOD, AVOD, rights management, ads, etc. Your supplier can share the challenges that change brings, enabling you to adapt more quickly while your time-to-market is reduced. The right playout partner helps you make the best of the ever-evolving video world we inhabit.
So, what do you think? Did we forget an obvious reason to outsource your playout? What are your reasons to keep it in-house? Let us know what you think!