B2B Content Sales

Content sales from content license rights management via ingest and aggregation of video, metadata, picture, audio, subtitle to presentation, purchasing and delivery.


What does the B2B content sales cycle include? What are the challenges? And where does it overlap with B2C content sales?

We are often approached to help in selling content from an historic archive or ongoing productions of movies, series, magazines or event reports. So a technical problem about preparing content to be offered on a B2B sales portal was discovered. But isn't that simplyfing the all over business process a bit too much?

Todays business models in monitising content are much more versatile than they were before the internet. Todays content producers and owners have many distribution channels available to be leveraged in parallel, to earn back costs to produce and to realise profit. So from a business perspective, the business process starts with spending money to produce or aquire content and it ends with the sale of every single piece of content. Due to revenue share based business models, this means that every Video On Demand view by an end-customer is such a revenue contribution.

Content Sales Solution e2e Workflow

That said, the B2B content sales transaction is part of a business process that starts much earlier and is tightly connected to the downstream B2C content sales business. Such B2C transactions might be a 3rd parties business or can be an additional business of the content owner. Please have a look at our VOD Content Aggregation and Publishing Solution.

How is this end2end business process implemented by our Content Sales Solution?

Our B2B content sales solution is composed on the very top layer from a content rights management system. It manages all business relevant contractual data, content metadata and aggregates your end-customers usage data. This way, it provides you with a cockpit to actively drive your content B2B sales as well as B2C sales via campaign management.

Content Sales Solution Building Blocks

The actual content management takes place within our Production Asset Management system. Content essences can be received via internet uploads, local ingests or from an existing archive. Please have a look at our Ingest Master-Solution. The asset packages for B2B sales are aggregated from video, audio, subtitle, picture essences, descriptional and technical metadata as well as pricing information. This is achieved via internal processing engines (e.g. transcoding, audio/video/picture processing, quality control) and by leveraging services from external providers. Once approved, assets are presented within the B2B sales portal.
The B2B sales portal is similar to a B2C VOD library. It presets the content stock just how an end-customer would like to browse it, but it also shows additional business-relevant metadata. Assets can be added to a shopping cart and at check-out no credit card number is requested but a communication with the sales department is initiated. That said, the solution fully supports the negotiation process via integrated sales and communication tools.
Once a 'sale' is closed, the assets are processed (e.g. transcoding incl. version rendering and watermarking, picture rendering) packaged as requested (e.g. languages, subtitles, artwork, metadata), delivered fully automatically and then finally the customer is notified. What happens next fully depends on your business model or the agreement with your customer. Either all data gets prepared to issue an one-off invoice or end-customer usage gets collected for a monthly revenue share invoice. Various other business models between such extrema are supported.

Who are the core product partners for our Content Sales Solution?

Content Sales Solution Product Partners

Capella: File transcoding
FlowWorks: Content & workflow management
Signiant: Secure file transport
Woody: File ingest

An example of a typical network architecture.

Content Sales Solution Network Architecture

Ingest is a topic in itself. Our Ingest Master-Solution addresses all kinds of ingest. The complete solution or relevant elements from it can be an integral building block of this Content Sales Solution. Therefore, we focus on typical ingest needs for content sales and delivery.

Central Ingest Station
The Central Ingest Station is the main place for ingest operations. It's usually located in a room where all new content is brought to. A number of dedicated workstations are used by a team of ingest specialists to bring files from various storage devices into the sales and delivery environment. While doing so, files are previewed, selected, pre-cut and stitched. Technical metadata is automatically generated and descriptional metadata is added manually. The product used for this function is Woody in2it. It can transcode and re-wrap the files to the platform internal format.
A variant of central ingest is offered when the source devices are attached to a server or files are being moved there in advance of the ingest operations. In this case x-dream-media's Ingest Browser is the right choice. It allows you to remotely browse, preview, select and segment video files. Compared to Woody's in2it, the x-dream-media Ingest Browser sends the files for processing to x-dream-media's Workflow Manger (WFM). WFM orchestrates transcoding, re-wrapping, QC, virus scanning and other operations. It's usually used to manage larger amounts of material.

Remote Contributors
External contributors might require high resolution or low resolution video files as they are providing special effects, graphics, subtitles or translations. In return they will send the results of their work as source material to the post-production team. Some of these contributors may have a permanent engagement while others may provide essences only occasionally and in smaller volumes, however, the number of such contributors might be very high. Therefore a simplified way to up and download video files with related metadata is required. Tools have to be accessible globally and be intuitive to use. We address these needs by "upload and download rooms". Technically these rooms are a website that takes or provides the essence file and requests or provides mandatory and optional metadata. The contributor has access to their up or download room as they is a permanently registered user or they get invited by an operator to a temporary room. The essences, qualities and functions within their room can be controled via rules set by the operator. All interactions get logged.

After files and metadata have been ingested, fully automated actions can take place under control of our Production Asset Management System (PMS): Transcoding and re-wrapping to a house format or browsing proxies, audio processing (e.g. normalising), video processing (e.g. standard conversions), quality control etc.

The asset packages to be made available on the B2B sales portal are composed from video, audio (in various languages), subtitles, preview pictures in various resolutions and sizes, descriptional metadata and text in various lengths, business metadata, licensing and pricing information. But all such information might come from various sources like storage pools and databases or may need to be added manually by operators. Our PMS supports this process either by automatic retrieval from electronic sources or by requesting it from operators in a software asisted process.

Finally the fully prepared asset package is published on the B2B sales portal. It's available for previewing for registered users similar to an end-user with a subscription plan. In contrast, a business customer can order one or multiple assets to be delivered to them in their desired quality, language(s), artwork and metadata.

Content Delivery
Ultimately, approved content deals have to be delivered to the B2B customers. As customers requirements might differ for video formats, picture resolutions, metadata structure and so on, some additional file processing (e.g. transcoding, picture rendering) is required prior to files being sent. Some might request a QC report as part of the deliverables. Finally a high volume of video files and metadata needs to be sent via a safe, secure and guaranteed method. Within our content sales solution we use Signiant's Mangers + Agents to orchestrate and control all file preperation and delivery.

How does the service architecture of our Content Sales Solution do look like?

Content Sales Solution Service Architecture v2

The Production Management System (PMS) is the heart of our Content Sales Solution. It acts as Media Asset Management System, Workflow System and Traffic System. The product for the PMS we've selected is FlowWork's FlowCenter. For customers with distributed organisations the PMS can be deployed at every facility and connected to act as one global system via the flow-to-flow module.

The Ingest can happen in different ways. In case it happens as a manual task we've selected in2it from Woody Technologies. Alternatively the PMS can expose a feature rich upload portal or upload micro-page on invitation. Both tools will allow supplying essence files as well as metadata manually. For bulk asset package transfers we prefer Media Shuttle or Managers + Agents from Signiant.

The Transcoder and Processors are engines that help to fully automate the end2end busienss process. The PMS allows integration with any other already existing or future software solution. For our transcoder, we've selected Cambria FTC from Capella Systems. Sound and video processing can happen as part of the transcoding process or in certain cases via specialised software services. Picture rendering and metadata processing are implemented based on components of the PMS. Subtitle generation and audio dubbing might be outsourced to external suppliers. We can integrate with those companies via interaction user interfaces. For automatic quality control we can integrate with specialised software services and for manual quality control we offer review user interfaces.

The inbound or outbound File Transfer can happen via traditional FTP transfers. For obvious reasons we prefer secured and accelerated file transport. As file transfer tool we've selected Media Shuttle or Managers + Agents from Signiant.