The production of multimedia content ? be it news, sports, entertainment or advertising ? right from the stage of conceptualization to delivery, is a long supply chain.
Back in 2008, in Jayanagar, Bangalore, four technology professionals were struck by the rich profusion of digital content on multiple channels like television and the internet. That was also the time when the word 'cloud' was making its way into conversations. But, at that time, there was also suspicion that the cloud meant the loss of the rights to one's content.
But the techies looked at the discontinuity of digitization of multimedia content and the potential cloud offered to manage multiple platforms, as an opportunity to strike it big. They founded Prime Focus Technologies and developed an application called Clear.
"It's a hybrid cloud, multi-platform-content operations infrastructure for media and entertainment space, which enables content producers to manage the entire workflow in an efficient, sustainable and cost-efficient manner," says Ramki Sankaranarayanan, president and CEO.
The production of multimedia content - be it news, sports, entertainment or advertising - right from the stage of conceptualization to delivery, is a long supply chain. In this process, many people of diverse professional expertise - like creative artists, writers, editors, sales and account executives, advertisers, legal experts, technicians etc - are involved. Add to this the multiple content-dissemination channels, like television, internet and mobile devices.
The Clear app brings each of these components of the supply chain into a single ecosystem, and manages them by linking them all together. It facilitates rendering of content on multiple platforms like television, internet and mobile by assigning appropriate tags. The app also simplifies content discovery for the stakeholders in the supply chain.
When an advertisement spot is being created, the media agency logs into Clear, which watermarks the content with a unique number that also becomes the common link for all departments that are associated with the production. When the ad is beamed by a channel, the monitoring agency uses the watermark to report that it has been aired, and the agency pays the channel. "The entire supply chain is held together by Clear," says Sankaranarayanan.
One of the reasons for the founders to embark on Clear was cloud scepticism . Five years ago, many people, though aware of the advantages of cloud, were sceptical of its security features. Clear addressed this concern of clients - the unique hybrid cloud does not store any content but only manages the content. "Ours is not an Amazon or
type of cloud which stores contents that are uploaded to it. We manage the content that sits in the clients' server. This is a unique feature of Clear technology," says Sankaranarayanan.
The app has seen widespread adoption by a variety of content production houses, like Star TV, Eros International, Viacom 18, Board of Control for Cricket in India, IPL, Hindustan Unilever, Associated Press,
etc. Three-fourth of clients are in India and the rest abroad, like in the US, the UK and South Africa.
"Today's market is driven by giving customers breadth of content, ease of access, and value for money," says Alwyn Lindsey, Director of International Archives, AP. "While we have already digitized around 10% of our archive, it has been a top priority to get all of our most saleable archive footage online and make it available to our customers, wherever in the world they may be," he says.
Five years on, Sankaranarayanan is a proud man. "Generally it's believed that the world follows inventions in the Bay Area of the US. But Clear is a purely Indian
technology developed in Bangalore, which the world is rapidly adopting."