Warner Bros. Discovery
Media and Entertainment
Why Warner Bros. Discovery isn’t left in the dark ages with our DAM
The German free-to-air television channel Warner Bros. Discovery has been a successful part of the TV market since 2002. Warner Bros. Discovery impresses its viewers with a curated and hand-picked range of feature films and series, from old classics like Star Trek to global film productions from all over the world. Warner Bros. Discovery is among the top 100 most creative companies in Germany and nowadays is a unique channel brand in the German TV landscape that attracts its target group with different TV formats. Warner Bros. Discovery is owned by the Discovery Deutschland network.
As a TV broadcasting company, Warner Bros. Discovery distributes its programming to various platforms and channels, through which the station’s programming is broadcast and marketed. The company’s own 5flix media library, print program magazines such as “Hörzu” and “TV-Spielfilm”, and digital program guides provide information on weekly program listings. Visual stimuli for potential viewers – such as when reading the program guide or the film description – play a central role here: Alongside a brief description of the content and some background information, series and films are provided with expressive highlight images and, if necessary, additional visual material on the film or series to draw in potential viewers for the program. With an average of 10 to 15 program titles per day, this adds up to an enormous amount of image material, now standing at over 500,000 assets. Without efficient management keeping track of everything would be next to impossible.
Challenge: Combining text and image
Until now, the image material for the individual program titles was organized and managed purely by folders on the file server: If a license was acquired for a particular film or series, staff from the picture editing department saved footage in appropriately named folders on the server. The raw image material supplied then had to be manually labeled, provided with file information and captions, and reformatted. The images were also played out to the program service providers and the program press manually. This was a laborious process for the photo editors which made errors arising from duplicates or incorrect pictures were simply unavoidable. Program magazines and guides are not only fed with visual material, but also with text. Metadata such as short descriptions, film lengths, actors, genres, production countries, broadcast times and much more must be prepared for each series or film and made available for different channels, such as video-on-demand platforms, media libraries and TV program overviews – including the appropriate image material, of course.
Warner Bros. Discovery works with programming software in which the respective editorial, licensing and technical metadata for all series and feature films are recorded. Weekly program information is also exported there and sent to the program press. However, this programming software is unable to store images. So far, the big challenge for Warner Bros. Discovery has been to combine existing texts on series and films with the right cover images and to be able to play them out to the program press at the push of a button. Until now, this has been a very time-consuming process involving the picture editor manually assigning image and metadata for each individual image.
Solution: Let two tools talk to each other automatically
Thanks to our 4ALLPORTAL Digital Asset Management (DAM), Warner Bros. Discovery has found an innovative and efficient solution for quickly combining text and images. Via a programming interface (REST API), the programming software transmits all text information – e.g. about a Star Trek series – to the DAM, which then feeds it into a “Program” module specially programmed by the 4ALLPORTAL. The images associated with
the series will be subsequently stored in the newly created series folder, automatically providing all metadata and linking them to the programming software ID. Photo editors can now view the images in the highly convenient DAM interface and select them for further processing.
In fact, it’s now a shoe-in for the photo editors: They have a complete overview of the above-mentioned metadata for each series or film and the corresponding images are centrally available in the DAM’s “Program” module. They can define different image categories within the module (top image, cover image, up to eight additional individual images), which they then assign to the series or film. This means that Warner Bros. Discovery now has the right footage for every film on hand and can transfer it – together with the relevant metadata – directly to the various channels digitally and automatically.
Result: Efficient workflows and more fun at work
The photo editors are absolutely delighted with this successful symbiosis: Incorrect images, duplicates or manually correcting the image metadata are now a thing of the past, along with the confusing folder system. The major advantage of the individual “Program” module is that all image data can now be managed in a central system much more efficiently. This not only saves the picture editors time when selecting the right pictures, but also creates transparency when assigning pictures to the individual program titles.
“For us, this is tantamount to a quantum leap in our workflows: Inefficiently handling assets and metadata cost us a great deal of time and caused no end of stress. That is now a thing of the past since combining 4ALLPORTAL and the programming software. When you consider how central the topic of image data management has become for TV broadcasters and that we are now able to cut our working time by around 30% in this regard, we have taken a huge step forward in digitization,” summarizes the project manager responsible, Matthias Wiediger, when explaining the added value of the new IT solution.
For us, this is a quantum leap in our workflows: the inefficient handling of assets and metadata cost us an enormous amount of time and nerves. This is now a thing of the past thanks to the connection between 4ALLPORTAL and the programme planning software. Considering how central the topic of image data management has become for television broadcasters and that we are now able to save about 30 % of our working time on this topic, we have taken a huge step forward in digitisation.Matthias Wiediger, Projektmanager