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Digitalisation vs Digitisation in broadcast production

A lgegacy production studio
Broadcast production: time for a paradigm shift

For years, we've been talking about how companies need to start operating more efficiently and reinventing their workflows. Yet we've never before witnessed such a drastic and sudden turnaround throughout the whole industry. Media brands are being forced to think about digitalisation. A move caused by the ever-changing media industry and the increasing speed of technological innovation.

Changing behaviour

New players and new media, such as Netflix, Spotify or Twitch have been reinventing the rules of the market for a good few years now. Bringing with them new formats and forever changing consumer behaviour and their expectations. There have been other recent influences too. With COVID-19 acting as the catalyst to move operators to software, on-prem, on the edge and in the cloud. Remote production is also, it seems, here to stay. And it's that separation between control and processing that allows it. Web applications, when properly thought through, provide a better user experience and make remote work easier.

For decades, it feels like we've watched a slow stepwise movement towards digital solutions. Although one driven from a desire to solve immediate problems rather than pro-actively looking for more efficient workflows. That said, some companies did tap the potential that digitalisation offers. Over a decade ago, the Discovery Channel received physical tapes from the wide number of production companies it worked with. So it brought in a digital system to transfer files. The success of which resulted in it overhauling all its ingest and distribution policies. This is a great example of using modern digital technologies to completely rethink workflows. Providing solutions for present day problems and adapting to the way media is being consumed. Some companies are really betting on a virtual future when it comes to live production. With some traditionnal hardware manufacturers recently launching cloud-based production platforms that lets them ambition to be market leaders.

Broadcasters need to become more efficient. Competition is increasing while their technical teams shrink, and revenue from traditional advertising or public funding continues to fall. To survive, they need to focus on progress and adopt this digitalisation mindset, which means facing different challenges. Viewers are now consuming media in a very fragmented way. This means media brands have to create great content that's fit for distribution across multiple channels. They're also fighting against the content produced by millions of creators on new platforms.

'Today it’s so easy to get into broadcasting with only an iPhone, just start to film and submit it on a platform like YouTube. If you’re 15 years old, it takes you max 2 mins.' Confirmed Adde Granberg, CTO of Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Craig Wilson's podcast Making the Media.

And while we don't think we will see a drastic turnaround, we do see the advantages of focusing on digitalisation instead of digitisation for many media companies.

Digitisation vs digitalisation

Digitisation  is taking an analogue process and making it digital, making as few changes as possible to the original process. However, for the best outcomes the whole process and user experience should be reconsidered; this is digitalisation.

Taking a digitalisation approach has many advantages. Creating a virtual - that is a full software - solution leads to a more scalable solution. Going digital helps solve peak usage problems while maximising resources utilisation throughout the year. Imagine no longer needing to cancel a job or having to rent extra hardware to deal with a surge in demand.

Digitalisation is also more user-centric. Hardware comes in a pre-defined box. One that the user has to learn and understand how to use correctly. Even if they just want to use one bit of its functionality. With software, you can tailor the user interface for different user profiles. Giving full control or providing automation where needed. Hardware can also mean getting trapped with a legacy system. New pieces of hardware can be difficult to connect and integrate into an existing system. This often discourages trying out new brands or technology. In contrast, software solutions offer the potential of updates over time and digital  interoperability through APIs.

So why aren't we actively and fully changing the way we produce media? The world for broadcasters has changed a lot. Yet it seems that the workflow of media brands have not caught up and adapted. This is because many media brands are still digitising their workflows instead of digitalising them. Even though digitalisation is by far the most efficient solution for media brands to adapt to meet these changes.

Take up the challenge: solutions exist

We know that making the switch from years of hardware usage is challenging. People are used to working with the same logic, and it's natural to want to stick with that. Digitalisation brings the opportunity to enhance existing workflows while preserving physical controllers. Naturally, there are concerns around security issues. But all these issues can be addressed by getting the operators talking to the IT Teams. This is a challenge in itself and one that has to be addressed in order to progress. Once upon a time, the only key you needed was the one on the front door of the studio. Similarly, the IT Department were the guardians of the desktop PCs, the phone system and the firewall. Today, the relationship between broadcast operations and IT is more intricate and complex and they have to work together.

Now more than ever, live and timing are vital for Broadcasters. They need to move so much faster than the legacy IT world allows. In order to succeed, broadcasters need to reconcile these two worlds and find the right talent that will support them in their digitalisation paradigm shift. With that mindset, we have been developing our own digital solutions based on a few key principle: entirely software-based, API-driven and putting our user’s experience at the centre, be them technical heros or not. We are ready for the upcoming broadcasting era and we invite you to get ready with us, it’s easier than you think!

Follow us on social networks, we have a few upcoming use cases that highlight these opportunities nicely.

About On-Hertz

On-Hertz brings media brands closer to their audience. We allow creators to go from idea to high-quality content faster, live or pre-recorded, from niche shows to those with millions of fans.

On-Hertz audio-first software suite empowers you to break free from the limitations of legacy hardware environments. We build solutions and apps that are easy to adopt, a breeze to use, and offer full control over your production.

On-Hertz is where the digital transformation of your media brand starts.

  • Grow your audience by tapping the potential of live content

  • Produce more content at superior quality

  • Simplify and speed up your production process

Faster, better, wider: the evolution your media brand needs.

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