At a time when branded content is increasingly delivered across traditional, mobile and IP distribution platforms, Qligent—a provider of cloud-based, enterprise-level content monitoring and analysis—will bring its new Match solution for programmatic error detection to North America at 2018 NAB Show. This is the latest software addition to the company’s flagship QligentTM Vision cloud-based delivery analytics platform.
As a real-time, automated solution that monitors by exception, Vision Match can mine, compare, and analyse a tremendous amount of data and relay just the most meaningful information to those responsible for the content’s brand reputation. It finds programmatic discrepancies like these by decoding the transport- or IP-based stream back to baseband video and audio, and then comparing that to ancillary reference data that was captured of that program in its native state prior to distribution. When combined with other Vision modules, additional analysis can be conducted such as whether proper closed captioning was displayed, audio loudness compliance, whether intended watermarks were present, verification of proper DPI trigger insertion, and percentage-based quality degradation from the original material.
“Without Match, as long as the video is playing out smoothly, a third-party network operator would have no way of knowing that they’re actually airing the wrong show, or other content-related problems,” said Ted Korte, Qligent COO. “Since nothing is technically wrong with the signal that would trigger alarms, the problem could go on for quite some time, often until a viewer calls to complain.”
When Match detects a programmatic error or mismatch, it automatically alerts on-duty operators and/or notifies the administrator of the issue via email or SMS message. It also generates a video recording of the reference and monitored streams for side-by-side playback so broadcasters can easily verify exactly what went wrong and where. According to Korte, this in-depth analysis can only be effectively managed by an automated, purpose-built, cloud-based solution like Match on the Vision platform.
“With shows they air on their own channels, broadcasters can refer to their as-run log to verify what programs and ads were commanded to air for auditing purposes,” he explained. “But today’s as-run software can’t tell them how their content actually fared in the downstream distribution channels, as more functions dynamically manipulate the streams and content as it progress out to viewers, well past the master control environment. It’s just gone beyond their control.”
As broadcasters increasingly outsource master control and multiplatform distribution functions to third parties while feeding more headends, Korte says that programmatic and QoE errors are on the rise due to the repeated multiplexing, compression, and encapsulation involved, as well as local ad insertions, routing, personalization and other media processing that occur along the distribution chain.
“In conjunction with other Vision modules, Match essentially serves as an as-run system for the IP era by shining a light on programmatic or QoE problems that the broadcaster would otherwise be completely unaware of in downstream channels, and which would cast a poor reflection on the content’s brand,” Korte said. “Now stakeholders can move their as-run logging out to the last mile or within each DMA. Content and ad owners, providers, distributors, broadcasters, and others can use this valuable audit trail to take whatever corrective actions are necessary to improve the downstream viewer experience and protect their brands going forward.”
In the OTT domain, Korte added, “Providers would likely never realize there was a technical problem that detracted from the viewer experience for their branded content. If a viewer tried to access the stream and then abandoned it, was it because they lost interest or was it actually due to a problem, like initial buffering was too long, too much re-buffering, or other issues common to OTT? By leveraging Match on the Vision platform, broadcasters can spot and eliminate those kinds of technical variables, and work with their distribution partners to ensure a better viewer experience.”
The Vision platform’s comprehensive analytical capabilities now encompass four major areas of concern: the detection of compliance errors (regulatory/SLA), objective errors (QoS), subjective errors (QoE), and programmatic errors (expected presentation to the end user). By leveraging Vision’s broader data analytics processing, Match gives broadcasters unprecedented visibility of their entire broadcast supply chain, including the terrestrial, cable, satellite, IPTV, mobile, OTT, and social media services that deliver their branded shows to a potentially global audience.