Your future is audiovisual too: Public institutions

As we saw in other articles, as many companies from different business sectors are integrating video in their daily activity, they are looking for specialized software to manage those assets. In this article, we have decided to focus on public institutions and how a media asset management system can help them to put order and boost the performance of their audiovisual assets.

We are surrounded by video and, let’s admit it, we love it. In previous articles we commented on the predominance of this format and how there is more content than ever nowadays. We found ourselves in front of a format that has found its perfect ally in digital media . According to Cisco estimations, in 2022, 82% of internet traffic will be occupied by video downloads and streaming transmissions. We no longer consume video in front of the TV. Instead of that, we do it from anywhere and at any time in a hyperconnected world.

This transition from our living room’s screens to every corner is no longer limited to the arrival of digital platforms or the classic Broadcast & Media industry. As we saw in other chapters of this series, video is the main character in fields like the education system, where it has never been so important. The public is willing for this format, and this willingness has generated a need for video adoption in  companies that, until not so long ago, were not even aware of what a photogram was

Think about endless meetings and official written reports, presentations without illustrative videos or mandatory physical attendance to official acts where there is no possibility of video appearance. Currently, those situations seem unreal to us and everything is recorded or broadcasted in an audiovisual format… which brings us to the next issues.

This video abundance generates a flow of information that needs to be managed, archived and controlled to get the most of it. We are not talking about a classic paper archive to file reports. We refer to digital libraries in which all videos can be found in an intuitive and simple way. A good media asset management rookie example for that are the public institutions. courts, senates, parliaments, city halls or assemblies have joined the audiovisual future.

From the stenograph to the camera

Despite always being a world surrounded by media, until a few years ago the only valid official proof of anything that happened in a public institution was the report filled by a stenographer. A professional fast-typed everything that politicians, judges or speakers said in order to make that record official. Whether by legal mandate or due to the need of providing transparency to these organisms, everything had to be recorded in the minutes.

Nowadays, these figures still sit down in all these public institutions even if their relevance has been reduced by video. These organizations have adapted their buildings for video production and everything that is said or done is recorded.

We are talking about an enormous quantity of audiovisual material, which in many cases needs to be accessible by the public as the institution’s decisions can affect thousands of people. Many of them have decided to manage these assets and make them public. Using different platforms, such as VoD, live broadcasting and even producing their own content.

Transparency in video

A good example of this transparency is the Canal Parlamento platform of the Spanish Congress. Since the year 2.000, this institution has used a traditional linear channel in which the live signal of the parliament sessions and commissions are broadcasted, along with their own informative programs. This window to the legislative power is distributed by a traditional TV signal, satellite and online.

But these institutions are not only on the traditional video platforms. Aware about their public interest, they focused their activity where the new audience is; the digital platforms. Some of them have their own YouTube channel with many active subscribers. Once again, we turn our attention to Spain, where the Congress has 56.000 followers on this platform. Another good example it’s the UK Parliament, with 269.000 subscribers to a channel that distributed the signal of the Brexit debate to all the world. 

However, the public interest is not the only reason that forced institutions to take this path. For example, the Justice system’s need to organize its files to improve speed, efficiency and transparency accelerated the introduction of video in the courts of Law. Many of them live broadcast their sessions and the pandemic forced them to advance in the audiovisual integration to allow remote statements.

How can we adapt asset management to the institutions?

Anyone following politics or attending a trial knows that public institutions sessions are not a matter of a few minutes. The audiovisual material in need of management, cataloging and archiving is enormous. If we do not do it properly, it can lead to a chaos of inefficiency inside the public sector. For all that, it is smart to count with a MAM system that can solve all the needs that video generates.

For example, it is useless to have all the speeches or sessions recorded in video if we can’t find them in our library. Picture a lawyer surfing around thousands of video files fighting to get the right one. Correct cataloging through metadata extracted from our assets is essential for accurate searches later on. A must for a system that manages extensive libraries like public institutions generate.

Also, it seems smart to integrate in our content management system the assistance of Artificial Intelligence search engines to automate  metadata extraction. A manual review process for a speech is not efficient and it will be easier if we just check the results provided by these tools. At the same time, this technology allows for automated subtitled or transcription services.

Furthermore, a quick ingest of these files into our MAM system is crucial for these organisms, as we often refer to videos with informative relevance. Therefore, institutions must make these materials available to the public and professionals quickly. In parallel, they should distribute the live feed and content on their own platforms and to the media. Having a parliamentary session on video a week later is useless.

We must also think about the traditions that surround these institutions and must be respected. This usually generates long spaces in which no one talks or nothing happens while they are preparing. It seems efficient to have an integrated video editor into our MAM system to edit those parts.

Metadata is also helping broadcasters to make their content libraries more accessible and appealing to audiences; localizing content through the provision of languages and subtitles, or associating themes and synopsis. These latter elements don’t merely allow for a user – be they industry or consumer – to assess whether a given asset is right for them, but also allow for better predictive algorithms to be used; making for more efficient workflows and/or keeping audiences happy, loyal and tuned in. 

Metadata isn’t only useful for the input part of the broadcast process though. It’s also key to understanding how your content library as a whole has been used and compiling reports based on the overarching themes and nature of that use. What parts of your library have generated the most value? Be it financial, administrative or project management-based, the ability to gain an overview of your media performance based on its metadata properties gives you a much more sophisticated and usable business-level understanding – allowing you to make strategic decisions for the future.  

Many needs, one answer: VSNExplorer MAM

Having a state-of-the-art media and content management system like VSNExplorer MAM can help these institutions to solve these needs and work with their audiovisual archives. VSN has already helped many of these organizations in different projects through this scalable, open, flexible and web-based system.

VSNExplorer MAM allows fast video ingest of all video formats and its publication thanks to its cross-platform integration and distribution. From a single web interface, we can quickly archive a session of several hours and publish it to a platform such as YouTube. It also has its own Artificial Intelligence system and allows integration with the main engines on the market for automated metadata extraction. In addition, VSNExplorer MAM includes the Wedit editor, which allows simple editing tasks to be performed from the same interface. 

In the darkest hours of WWII, the UK found courage in the speeches of Winston Churchill. While TV was still taking its first steps, the radio broadcasted the weekly call for action and report of the situation from the Prime Minister in Westminster… but it was not a live broadcast. Back then, the Parliament was not prepared for microphones and the people never heard what was going on inside. Aware of the importance of Churchill’s voice amongst the population, the Cabinet forced Sir Winston to record his interventions for the BBC after the original sessions in the House of Commons. And according to his biography, the Prime Minister hated it.

Nowadays, and thanks to the integration of video in these public organisms, any person in the world would have watched Churchill speaking in front of the Commons. Not a recording, but the real thing. “As conquer we shall, as conquer we must”. And video did conquer public institutions.

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