I just finished reading a great article, “Evaluating Professional Online M&E Platforms” by Ken Yas, and it really got me thinking about online Media & Entertainment (M&E) platforms. In his article, Yas highlights some of the things companies should take into consideration when evaluating online M&E platforms as digital content creation and delivery methods change.

Workflows and are becoming digital at an increasing pace, and this trend will doubtlessly continue into the future. Content owners can benefit from emerging digital supply chains since they provide collaboration for creating and editing, the ability to manage and store content in the cloud and the ability to digitally deliver content to a wide variety of devices. New on-demand software-based systems, working in unison with recording hardware and cloud platforms, are appearing in the market to fill these new needs.

Do You Need to Make The Transition?

The first thing your organization should consider is the need. There’s always the possibility that the system currently in place can handle the current workload, and can continue to do so into the future. And if you are using a “light” version of a solution, you may only need to upgrade – saving migration and deployment costs. But, if your company’s current strategy is to share content via email attachments or Dropbox-type solutions, you may want to consider the benefits of upgrading to a cloud-based system.

When evaluating a cloud-based system, there are a number of things to consider: What are your average file sizes? How frequently are your files shared and distributed? What is the final destination of your media, and is it very far geographically? M&E companies, in particular, should be aware of the methods each solution uses to deliver assets to viewser or stakeholders.

How do You Manage and Define Your Content?

Within the M&E industry, well-defined systems are in place and recognized when defining or categorizing media assets. These systems and hierarchies are little known outside of the industry, but common practice within it. Outside of the M&E industry, there are management systems available that do a great job, but you may have to change your already established broadcast hierarchy to work with the new system. If your company is already using a clearly defined system, you may want to find that platform that adheres to it.

User Interface?

Once your company a has clearly defined hierarchy and found a content management system that adheres to it, the next thing to evaluate the User Interface (UI) itself. Using a platform that is M&E compatible is always a good practice, but these solutions can be complex and intimidating to new users, which is something to be aware of. Some platforms alleviate this with built-in self-learning tools. With remote workflows becoming more common, the UI should be browser-based, or at least browser-agnostic, giving team members access from any location.

Search Functionality?

The ability to search through a vast library of content is essential to the productivity and success of you M&E platform, and this should always be evaluated. Ideally, it should be able to search all of the descriptive fields in your library including metadata, timestamps, and resolution. Not only should it have a vast search range, it should also be able to filter content, allowing you to easily drill down to the content you need. Make sure that the platform in question has these features, as it will make searching much easier and a less frustrating experience.  

Create, Ingest and Store – Is it all Integrated?

The more integrated each step of your workflow is, the better! At a basic level, your platform should be able to record content, trigger a file transfer and store it in a secure private cloud. Also, all of these tasks should ideally be done in only a few steps.

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

There are many things to consider when investing in an M&E platform, but these points should get your mind working and help you develop the right questions to ask and features to look for during your evaluation phases. Let us know in the comments below what you feel is the most important feature of an M&E platform.