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MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM Aspera Moves Mediacorp’s Miles of Files By Phil Sandberg 2017 HAS BEEN A BIG YEAR for Singapore’s national broadcaster, Mediacorp, with the launch of its new HQ in the city’s Mediapolis precinct. As well as a new building and studios, there is a new “engine” under the hood in the form of a comprehensive file-based workflow. Powering this engine are IBM Hybrid Cloud solutions, including IBM Aspera Orchestrator, part of the Aspera platform, which manages video and audio for more than 35 Mediacorp brands, including seven television and 11 radio stations as well as newer over-the-top (OTT) distribution systems. Orchestrator now provides a common, streamlined solution for Mediacorp to collect, manage and distribute video across all systems, including on-premises systems and public clouds. Orchestrator helps manage more than 200 workflows and automatically handles parts of the process, such as encoding video for different formats, to help reduce manual tasks and speed time to market. In addition, IBM Aspera Faspex and Aspera Shares transfer files between internal sources, global sites and external vendors.


Distribution (Webportal)


Distribution (Toggle)

Distribution (GV)

MAM (Dalet)

“In terms of the overall goal, Mediacorp really wanted to improve their processes and modernise the operation and then position themselves for the evolving trends - not only being able to handle linear, but Over-the-Top more effectively. They wanted to lower their operational costs and reduce errors and effectively provide deterministic kind of errors and that’s where, when they just put out their tender, that’s what they were looking for in terms of workflow management and coordination. So naturally, we have quite a lot of experience with that with broadcasters around the world doing quite a number of large projects of similar scale, and we proposed Aspera Orchestrator.” So, what is the scope of the Orchestrator implementation?

Compliance (Actus)

Distribution (Radio-Netia) Distribution (Radio-Zetta)

Non-linear distribution (Web, Toggle)

According to Steve Pollini, Vice-President of Technology Solutions with IBM Aspera, building new headquarters gave Mediacorp the opportunity to expand its use of Aspera solutions from that of high-speed file transfer to collaboration.


Production (AVID)

Content, Metadata & Control Flows

The new IBM Aspera platform being used by Mediacorp now handles the end-to-end production process for video -- ingest, asset management, transcoding, quality control and distribution for various platforms, including linear programming on TV and radio stations and OTT systems. It helps manage the workflow sequencing, queuing and load balancing, while providing a comprehensive view and control point for different processes, users and subsystems.


News PAM (EVS)

Ingest Folders

Scheduling (IBS)



Linear Distribution




all of their assets or the technical assets, but also effectively operate like an enterprise service bus which was quite central to the request that they had within their tender. “The idea of the enterprise service bus is that you can tie it together, everything from program acquisition and scheduling, metadata processing, together with distribution, rights, ad sales, VOD planning and then, at some point, as they evolve, they can tie it into their finance and broadcast resource management systems. “In addition to that, instead of kicking off the process and then waiting for something to pop out at the other end, they wanted a comprehensive endto-end view of everything that was going on in the system. So, instead of a request going from the scheduling system into the MAM and then it cascading through the system, everything started with a request from scheduling system which would invoke Aspera Orchestrator. “In order to accomplish their end goals, we created approximately 250 workflows within Orchestrator and, of those, 50 of them are mainline workflows and the other 200 are what we call “sub-workflows”. Let’s say you were going to do transcoding for linear and you’re also going to do transcoding for Over-the-Top, the transcoding and QC portion of that could constitute a sub-workflow that could be called by each of the multiple mainline workflows. So, once you design and build that, you test it, it’s like an object, a sub-routine, and you’ve got it and you can reuse it with other workflows.

“They have about 20 major subsystems and various vendor systems that they use for transcoding, QC, subtitling, their MAM, they have their own scheduling and planning system, media analysis, virus scanning, etc. The way a lot of folks in the past have tied these things together is via a scheduling system which would invoke the MAM and kick off a process that was sort of cascaded through till something popped out the other end and it was ready for feeding to the live system.

“By using Orchestrator as a hub, it knows the status of every step of every flow within the system. Therefore, we could create dashboards that management could use to know the status of the entire system. You would also know the status of any assets that were flowing through the system, whether it was successful, whether it was meeting their SLAs, or if there was a problem within the system. So, you have both management level dashboards and you have the normal, technical displays and dashboards that allow your technical staff to do investigation and to research it.

“One of the reasons I think that they appreciated what Orchestrator could bring is that not only would it be able to coordinate the workflows, manage

“I think the other positive aspect of Orchestrator is that it’s scaled along with their system and, even more importantly, it lets them reuse their resources continues p31>>

Content+Technology Asia October-November 2017  

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