Outlook 2018: Bridging the gap between content creation & distribution
Andy Manidis
Issue: December 1, 2017

Outlook 2018: Bridging the gap between content creation & distribution

Andy Manidis is VP, Technical Solutions at Deluxe. Here, he details how the studio is helping to bridge the gaps of content creation and distribution through end-to-end technologies that span a global scale.

The influx of programming from OTT players has dramatically impacted post production and distribution over the past year, and promises to continue pushing us to evolve our pipeline and processes into 2018. The growing volume of episodic content being produced by companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu generally requires a faster turnaround than traditional networks and is tapping Deluxe resources around the globe for everything from dailies to HDR finishing to day-and-date localization of dubbing and subtitles, all to ensure that creative intent is preserved and content is presented in the most authentic way across all languages and viewing devices. 

Collapsing licensing windows and near global day-and-date release of new shows is also pushing tighter collaboration across creative finishing, localization and distribution operations. New content is often launched in over 200 countries, making it increasingly important to localize in many languages simultaneously as shows are being finished. 

Global scale is required to meet the demands of this complex content environment. At Deluxe, we have been building our global footprint and connected pipeline, uniting our end-to-end services to ensure that everyone – from VFX to finishing to localization, to delivery and distribution – is working on the most updated assets and versions of a show.

We have also made a significant investment into new technology and infrastructure to support advanced formats and meet the growing demands, and increasingly higher quality expectations, from customers. While OTT programmers are leading the charge with HDR and UHD deliveries given the ease of adoption with their platforms, traditional broadcasters have been a little slower to adopt these new formats due to their reliance on physical set-top boxes that would need to be upgraded to support Dolby Vision, HDR or UHD signals. No matter the pace of adoption, our artists, engineers and developers are staying on top of these emerging technologies and constantly driving new solutions for the next generation of episodic content.

Beyond post production pipelines and emerging formats, one of the most exciting aspects of the new OTT content delivery model is that it’s opened the door to new and more diverse creative voices. The financial models of OTT partners make it possible to produce more niche content that has previously struggled to find a home in a traditional broadcasting network lineup. This higher tolerance for creative risk-taking and ability to appeal to a smaller audience has started to produce fresh and amazing new content. As long as the budget is commensurate with potential viewership, it can make sense to produce programming that is focused on a much smaller audience and still be profitable. 

As a result, we are seeing more indie content getting produced and new creative talent is being given more of a voice. This is fantastic; however, it also comes with challenges as many of these smaller productions are new to the higher quality standards and day-and-date global release demands that are being driven by OTT partners.  Many of these productions are experiencing cutting-edge services like HDR finishing for the first time, and are working with us to help guide them through the production chain so that the end result will be as stunning on the screen as it is in their minds. 

There is more content than ever before and that content is more global than ever before. Deluxe is helping vendors succeed in this environment by bridging the gaps of content creation and distribution through end-to-end technologies and an unmatched global scale. This way, clients can work seamlessly through every step of the pipeline, from camera to the screen. It’s an exciting time to be in distribution, and doubly exciting to be part of a global company that is uniquely positioned to handle the ever-evolving changes of this new television economy.