Outlook: Cloud-based Archive-on-Demand as a distribution strategy

Outlook is a series of case studies and presentations during Berlinale 2018, presented by The FilmTech Office and the German Film Producers Association (VDFP).

Interlake is a digital change agent and provides the tools and guidance for cloud-based information transfer within an enterprise. Working with modern media from E-learning to media production workflows, they have served customers in over 30 countries for more than 20 years.

For the first talk in our Outlook Series we welcomed Sven Slazenger, Founder and CEO of Interlake. In his presentation he shared the concept of Archive-on-Demand, which can be described as a cloud-based digital archive of audiovisual content linking directly to own or third party distribution channels. This allows for a more streamlined production, post-production and delivery process on one hand, and opens unprecedented avenues for monetization on the other hand.

In other words, an Archive-on-Demand enables a company, which traditionally has operated a B2B business by creating content to be distributed by others, now to expand its operation into the B2C space, by distributing content directly to a paying audience.

Sven outlined how Interlake worked with UFA to build the very first Archive-on-Demand platform. Situated in the German MediaTech Hub of Potsdam, UFA is part of the worlds largest media company, Bertelsmann and one of the biggest production companies in the world. With such a long history of content creation comes a huge archive, from their earliest film productions to their current serial content like their popular soap operas and TV series. Recently UFA was looking for a solution to share their archived content through as many dedicated channels as possible at the lowest cost.

Interlake helped UFA to design the concept, develop the workflow, migrate their gigantic century-old archive to the cloud and build their own palette of VOD channels which address a whole range of specific target audiences.

The solution? A connected media workflow in the cloud with integrated cognitive services, artificial intelligence and data analysis.

Sven went on to describe cognitive services as artificial intelligence for audiovisual content that can recognize objects and emotions, summarize videos and convert speech to text to create automated subtitles, among many other features. These services and the metadata it produces are what Interlake integrated into the Archive-on-Demand/Video-on-Demand solution that they custom made for UFA, with the help of Microsoft cloud services. With this solution, UFA is now able to create custom portals for content like their classic films and serial soap operas quickly and at a low cost.

The next step of this process will be to locate the entire production and post-production process of current productions into the cloud, thus creating a seamless pipeline, data and metadata storage, which spans from the first outlines of a script to the very delivery of the content to end consumers.

In the Q&A portion, Sven outlined how he sees the application of tech affecting the traditional production of films, in particular the use of artificial intelligence and cognitive services.

He mentioned that while the process works well with UFA, when it comes to applying AI to a more traditional studio like Babelsberg or independant producers, the use case is not so clear at this point. It works with UFA because of serial formats that need to make smaller budgets stretch, and adding cognitive services produces efficiencies that are an advantage against the competition. But this whole technology is still in an early stage and will develop very quickly, which will also create new use cases.

When describing the common denominator among industries that are evolving for the future, he said:

“We all live in our tunnels, all the traditional industries. They existed very well side by side, but then IT enters all of them, makes a common base and connects them by switching the light on.”

See here for the full Outlook Series program.