thePlatform in back-end video management role for Engage Sports Media

Comcast subsidiary thePlatform has been selected to provide the back-end video management for the UK’s Engage Sports Media with its centralised, cloud-based system mpx.

Under the deal Engage will use mpx to manage and distribute online content for its various high-profile clients, including the International Rugby Board and Indian Premier League teams the Rajasthan Royals and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“At Engage Sports Media, all our clients have different requirements but all want to serve their fans with high-quality sports videos, across virtually any device, while carefully managing business policies and content rights obligations,” says Gregg Oldfield, MD of Engage Sports Media. “We are excited to work with thePlatform to simplify many back-end complexities, while scaling our capabilities, in order to serve many of the world’s leading sports federations and their fans.”

thePlatform’s mpx system is an interesting beast. It is billed as the most complete video management system available, with enterprise-class performance and easy media publishing to PCs, mobile phones and TVs, and while there is an inevitable amount of hyperbole surrounding that claim, it’s certainly fully featured. Exactly how fully featured is obvious when you realise that Engage states it will be able to use it to upload videos, manage files and metadata, set business and monetisation policies, enforce content viewing rights, and distribute videos to third-party sites, such as YouTube and client websites.

Cloud-based systems such as this have become exceedingly powerful and pleasingly adaptable to a variety of clients, and mpx is impressively flexible from its Ingest Service onwards. This features both push and pull automated ingest methods (via FTP folders and a Feed Reader respectively), adaptor scripts that convert metadata into mpx-readable files, and the ability to tailor ingest to fit most internal workflows. There are a host of different ways into content and library management, simple editing tools for clip and thumbnail generation, and thePlatform also offers a hosted transcoding process that will seamlessly work in the background and covers most relevant file formats. Equally, if companies decide to host their own transcoding service locally behind a firewall, they can use thePlatform’s Remote Media Processor to work with their transcode application, as well as to perform other heavy-lifting tasks.

This ability to allow companies to keep certain parts of their operation behind their own firewalls is considered crucial to the success of the cloud as the industry cautiously transitions over to this distributed way of working, and mpx does it well. While thePlatform runs its video management system as an application service provider (ASP), the RMP software is a good option if a client wants to run video publishing operations in a hybrid environment, mixing locally housed technology and storage with online hosted services.

The RMP is basically installed on a server in a network to manage file transfer, encoding and encryption as directed by mpx. Only when media is released do files traverse the internet to a CDN. Because the RMP gets its instructions from mpx, there’s no new user interface to learn (the company is proud of the simplicity and clarity of the mpx UI anyway) and thePlatform reckons that its ideal in a variety of scenarios from working with large media files, to minimising bandwidth, working behind corporate firewalls and, of course, increasing security.

“Engage Sports Media is renowned for providing its customers with innovative sports video content – and maximising its distribution,” says Marty Roberts, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at thePlatform. “We’re especially proud to help Engage work with its high-profile sports clients to distribute their video online, and to expand the kind of features and services that Engage will be able to offer clients.”

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