Case: France Télevision Preview runs on Flow Works

The Challenge

France Télévision possesses and continuously produces and broadcasts large volumes of content. Understanding the need to build a system that could handle large amounts of assets, simplify the handling by automating the processing and provide instant publishing to a growing global audience, France Télévisions went for the Flow Works system to build the overall media eco-system.
Specifically needing to cater for the sensitivity of content-rights, the fragmented internal responsibilities and the need to easily handle very diverse sets of journalistic viewers, Flow Works built an editorial backend system that allows the necessary editorial freedom while "guiding" the editors through an otherwise strongly automated (hence error-free) publication process.
To cater to the very diverse interests of the journalistic target-group, Flow Works built playout-frontends that allows users to highly specify their particular interests in content and even receive completely personalized offerings ("Flow Rooms").

The Solution

Flow Works delivered a complete system spanning from ingest to technical processing to editorial management all the way to custom playout-frontends including all server, storage and CDN components.
The solution Flow Works implemented has three tears: technical, editorial and playout front-end. All three elements are fully integrated, they are one single system with different views and different users. The technical area is handled and operated directly by Flow Works, the editorial environment is handled by the staff of France Téleévision while the playout front-end is for the global viewership.

Technical tier

The technical tear is based on a Flow Center Core, a highly integrated, complete workflow and asset management solution. It incorporates and combines all key modules: database, user-management, user-interfaces, automated workflow-management, transcoding, file-transfers, playout and third-party-system management; in this case CDN.
In this system, Flow Works manages all video assets technically. First, all available video assets were ingested from various sources and quality-checked. Accepted contents were unified, to assure quality and then auto-transcoded into the desired playout derivatives (including a complex branding-policy) in different qualities. Publication is auto-cross checked  to ensure that metadata, languages, rights, dates and channel-requirements are fully met. Files are then auto-distributed onto CDNs and playout-frontends are updated on the availability and structure of playout-sites (categories, order, dates, time, etc)

Editorial tier

The editorial environment is based on a "Flow Archive" software and used by the various internal editing-groups (channels, genres). Flow Archive is a dedicated GUI for editorial users. It is simple, intuitive, all drag & drop. It is all about managing media content and media processes - without having to worry about technical aspects.
In this tier, FTV has access to their archive where they can upload, search and see the available content, make decisions on what to publish where and when. Editorial users have the full range of editorial tools on any browser to manage individual items, projects, approvals and publication/distribution. Editors can manage metadata (titles, descriptions, etc), edit media (cut, brand, subtitle, add languages, add thumbs, etc), create projects and collaborate (internal and externally for reviews and approvals) and take publishing / distribution decisions to any target / playout.
Importantly, this GUI does not ask the editorial staff to master any technical questions or decisions. All processing is automated based on workflows and rules set by admins. Easy to use.

Playout frontend

The third tier is the playout frontend. "France TV Preview" is a fully customized website that is "hooked" onto FTVs editorial backend via API. There is no need for a CMS, as this role is already fulfilled by the editorial GUI. No data is ever duplicated, all content, the entire page structure (categories), all metadata and all functions come directly from the backend. Editors have instant control of everything and all their actions are instantly reflected. The architecture is simpler and leaner, as are the costs — and the frontend can do what it does best without compromise: look and feel great to the viewer.
For France Télévision, Flow Works also mastered an additional challenge: FTV wants to talk to individual journalists personally and individually. Get the attention, get the results. To do this, Flow Works has also integrated the "Flow Rooms". Rooms are automatically-generated micro-sites (i.e. have separate, own URLs) that can be furnished with selected content(s) and targeted at and made available to each individual journalist / recipient. Easy, controlled, trackable - and with maximum impact.

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