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New Movida Feature: Image management

We have always wanted Movida’s Title Catalog to be a great place to store all the editorial information about any film or television program, but it was missing a key piece of the puzzle: images!

It’s very much a cliché, but it’s true. A picture is worth a thousand words. Images are the first thing that Video On Demand consumers look at when browsing a VOD store and having great pack shots or production stills can make all the difference in the world when it comes to making buy decisions.

Itunes movies

Until now, our users could store image file names or URLs in Movida but didn’t have a way to store the actual images along with the rest of the editorial metadata, which gave them little assurance that the images being published were the correct ones, let alone the best ones. 

From now on they will be able to store as many images as they need for each film, episode, series or collection by easily dragging and dropping them onto the browser and choosing which ones are the right ones for each target platform. Movida will also automatically choose one of these as the internal packshot to easily identify content within our application.

Movida Drag And Drop

Our users will be able to easily access all information related to an image by hovering over its thumbnail:

Movida Image Tooltip Information

But this is not all. Being able to upload images is great, but we know that some of our users have to resort to expensive image editing programs to crop the images they have to comply with the requirements of each platform; they will now be able to crop any of the images they upload directly through the browser

Movida Image Cropping

Once the image has been cropped, the original is still kept in case it needs to be cropped further.

All images are available via the API and also to our Metadata product, so that our Metadata Exporters can easily include them as part of what we publish directly to each of the platforms.

And the best part is that Image Management is free for our Movida and Metadata customers!

New Sequence Feature: Improved tasks reports and invoices

This summer comes full of new features for our products: very soon, our stunning title catalog in Movida will take metadata management to the next level, and today we have released a new feature in Sequence that allows our users to seamlessly invoice and report on the job done.

Previously, Sequence had very basic reporting and invoicing functionality that allowed our users to put together simple invoices and create reports from completed tasks. However, we realized that its design was rather convoluted and didn’t provide the best experience possible to our users. As a consequence, we completely redesigned it in order to:

  • Dramatically reduce the number of steps needed to create invoices and task reports.
  • Provide advanced filtering functionality to facilitate finding the relevant tasks amongst all the jobs done.
  • Make it performant, beautiful, and pleasant to use.

As a result, users can quickly filter through the history of all completed tasks to narrow those that will be added to an invoice. Here is how:

Also, invoices can be easily filtered and locked to avoid modifications, and both invoices and processed tasks on their own can be exported to Excel and CSV; all of this with just a couple of clicks.

 

We are confident this feature will ease our users’ lives. We hope you like it too!

We love YouView

A unique over-the-top (OTT) initiative has emerged in the UK, one of the most exciting and innovative television markets in the world. The main broadcasters in the country - including the BBC - and the biggest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have joined forces, to build YouView.  It took three and a half years - and some sniggering at the back - since the inception of the original Project Canvas. But YouView is now a reality and we think it is a fantastic product.

YouView aims to make VoD very accessible, particularly to those audiences not interested in pay TV packages, or not so tech savvy. The set-top box (STB) is a hybrid DTT/IP device, available subscription-free from retailers since September 2012, for around £200. In addition, ISPs - and YouView shareholders - BT and Talk Talk now also bundle the device with some of their broadband packages. Through these channels, YouView STBs are expected to enter UK households en masse. But, in a living room crowded with connected TVs, games consoles and cable STBs, what makes YouView different?

Open or closed?

YouView aims to strike a unique balance between open and closed OTT platforms. A totally open platform like the original Google TV essentially brings a web browser to the big TV screen. It gives access to almost all video available on the public Internet, in full random glory. The drawback of this Internet smorgasbord? An inconsistent user experience, not well-tailored for the big screen, and many quality issues. On the other end of the spectrum, a closed platform like Apple TV provides a consistent and quality user experience, but a comparatively small set of content, handpicked on Apple’s commercial terms. YouView aims to find a balance that delivers the best of both worlds. 

At its heart, YouView is a platform that any content provider can publish to, on the basis of Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRND) listing. This principle is core to the ambition of YouView, and possibly a regulatory requirement, given the structure of the venture. This ensures that - in time - YouView will provide access to a wealth of on-demand content: from big broadcasters to niche publishers, from ITV1 to Trainspotter On-Demand.

And while every content provider should build their own portal, YouView remains in control, not only of the SDK, but also of the core user interface (UI) and of a central metadata aggregation service. YouView defines standards for video encoding and user interaction. And YouView checks that content providers comply with those standards. This ensures quality of the YouView product.

TV is not quite dead yet

YouView also aims to bridge the gap between VoD and linear broadcasting, an area woefully ignored by most pure Internet players. Searching for content in the YouView UI returns both linear and on-demand content. The Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) seamlessly shows both the next 7 days of broadcast programmes, and the last 7 days of catch-up programmes. Predictions of an imminent death of linear broadcasting have been largely overstated; British audiences have never watched as much linear TV as they do now. YouView recognises this and embraces both the old way and the new way of watching video (thus reflecting its shareholder structure!). 

Everybody loves a standard

The YouView technical specification might not be everyone’s favourite bedtime reading, but we strongly recommend it. It is an ambitious initiative, in a world of fragmented and proprietary VoD technologies. YouView proposes largely open, standard-based solutions to widespread industry problems. It talks about scalability through adaptive streaming over HTTP, quality of service (a perennial headache for OTT providers), content protection, multicasting of linear channels over IP, etc… It is a comprehensive, impressive and very welcome contribution but it might not take the world by storm: elsewhere in Europe - in particular in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain - HbbTV has emerged as a technical standard with similar aims. 

At BeBanjo, we believe there isn’t just one way of watching VoD content. VoD belongs on multiple platforms and multiple devices. But YouView holds a special place in our hearts. Two of the YouView shareholders are our customers. Our Movida and Metadata products are directly integrated with YouView, and used to publish some of the VoD services available on the platform today. In fact, we have been working with YouView and Channel 5 for more than a year before the consumer service launched and we’ve enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. Ok, the YouView STB is quite expensive today, and lacks some key features like WiFi. But this will no doubt be addressed soon, and we think YouView will rightly become a British favourite.

Please welcome Gavin McLauchlan, our new commercial director

I’m very pleased to introduce you all to Gavin McLauchlan, our new commercial director.

Gavin

Gavin has spent the last thirteen years or so working in TV Technology, mostly over IP.

During this time he’s worked on the launch of Freeview whilst at the BBC, sold to and helped launch NetTV in Delhi, and he’s also been very involved with the launch of BT Vision - both driving the strategy while he worked for BT and then selling in and launching Vision whilst at Microsoft.

Before entering the media space he was a retail loyalty specialist (Sainsbury’s / Boots / Asda), a market researcher (Nielsen’s), and he also has a degree in genetics.

He’s got an excellent network of contacts across the European media industry and he’s very much looking forward to start working with us, building a team, and drive our commercial efforts in Europe. Gavin will also spend part of his time looking after the best interests of our TDF Media Services sister companies in the UK.

Gavin is a bit of a gadget freak, with 132,000 MP3 files, 1000’s of films and about 250,000 photographs for him and his family (wife, Zoe, and three daughters). He assures me that it’s all legal!

In addition to this he used to be a very fanatical rugby player which recently led him to have some serious spine surgery, so treat him gently to start off with, and think twice before you start a career in rugby!

Over the next weeks he’ll spend time with us in London, Madrid and Paris and you’ll all get to know him. Please wish him a warm BeBanjo welcome.

-Bastian

http://about.me/gmclauchlan

https://twitter.com/gavinmc1

http://www.gavinmcphoto.com/

Job Posting: HTML/CSS Designer

We are looking for a HTML/CSS designer with an eye for details to join our team. You should be able to turn design mockups and prototypes into future-proof code following web standards.

You will be working closely with other designers and developers, so do not worry, we got you covered. We are really proud of our team and you will learn a lot about how digital products are made.

We are based in Madrid, where we meet regulary, but our team also works remotely. You have the oportunity of reconciling work and life once and for all.

Without further ado here is what we are looking for.

Requirements

  • Strong knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • Work with CSS preprocessors and the Web Inspector
  • Being comfortable developing production ready code
  • Design taste and an eye for details
  • Being up to date with web standards
  • Strong communication skills

It would be awesome if you…

  • Worked with CSS3 transitions, gradients, etc.
  • Know about OOCSS and/or Compass
  • Do not get lost inside Adobe Photoshop
  • Know a little about JavaScript, Git and Ruby

Please include the following

  • A description of your skills
  • Blog, personal site or similar
  • Portfolio of past projects
  • Your Github account

Send everything to contact@bebanjo.com

New in Sequence: email notifications for task assignments

At BeBanjo we are always thinking about how to make our users more productive letting them focus on what’s important. Our latest improvement to Sequence aims to do just that by alerting users via email notifications when someone assigns new tasks to them.

A sample email sent when multiple tasks have been assigned

From those emails, users will know instantly which tasks have just been assigned to them and for which titles. They will also get quick access to all the tasks they are responsible for; if all of this is too much noise or for those users that are permanently on the Sequence dashboard and do not need to be reminded of what they need to do, it is easy to unsubscribe and stop receiving them.

Email settings in the sequence app

Hope you enjoy it. Yee-haw!

Please vote and help us win: BeBanjo at the Streaming Media Awards

Hi Everyone!

We’d like to ask your help again to vote for us. We’ve nominated our new Metadata product for a Streaming Media award this year. This product helps our customers manage a single set of metadata across multiple platforms in a very efficient way without needing to worry about the technical aspects and specifications of each platform

Both our other products, Movida and Sequence, have won awards in the past, and since this is a popular award where each vote counts, you can make a real difference in helping us win. Therefore we’d like to ask all of you, and anyone else you can beg, borrow or steal a vote from to vote for BeBanjo’s Metadata product.

Helping us win should only take 2 minutes of your time. There are three steps:

  1. Go to: http://www.streamingmediaglobal.com/ReadersChoice/2012/Vote.aspx
  2. Fill in your name and email address
  3. Vote for us!

We are nominated in the following category: Cloud Video Service: BeBanjo’s Metadata

You don’t have to vote for any of the other categories unless you want to, but we’d really appreciate it you can also vote for our sister companies QBrick in the Online Video Platform and Streaming Services Provider categories, and SmartJog (or QBrick again) in the Delivery Network category. We realise that some of you may have other ideas about this because of where you work…

Your vote really helps us to get the message out that BeBanjo rocks at helping teams managing video-on-demand services do a better job. Voting closes next week, so please do it as soon as you can.

Thanks for your time!

Kind regards, Bastian

Details on: http://bebanjo.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bebanjo
Blog: http://blog.bebanjo.com

BT Vision and BeBanjo sign a global deal for BeBanjo’s video-on- demand management solution.

You can download the BeBanjo - BT Vision press release as a pdf

  • BeBanjo designs and builds web based solutions to enable teams managing video-on- demand services to have more control and efficiency across their entire workflow. BeBanjo’s products are used by some of Europe’s most important TV operators and broadcasters.
  • BeBanjo’s products will enable BT to manage and track rights, scheduling, metadata and operational workflow of it’s BT Vision IPTV service.
  • BeBanjo was founded in 2008 and was acquired in 2011 by the TDF Group, and became part of its Media Services business unit, providing innovative multi-device end- to-end video solutions and management services.

On September the 3rd we announced that BeBanjo has been chosen by BT Vision, the UK’s largest IPTV service with over 700,000 subscribers, to help manage its VOD offering across multiple platforms.

BeBanjo’s products help BT Vision to deliver its VOD services with more control and efficiency than ever before. 

It removes bureaucracy and helps BT Vision to be more efficient and to control what’s happening with every aspect of their rights, scheduling, operational workflow and metadata.

“Working with BT Vision is a privilege.” said Bastian Manintveld, Founder of BeBanjo. “We are on a mission to create the world’s best back-office for companies looking to optimize their non-linear media workflow. Our deal with BT Vision is a major milestone in BeBanjo’s journey and their scale and expertise show that BeBanjo now has reached the level of maturity where it can be at the very heart of a large operators’ on-demand world.”

“Over the past three years the amount of content we manage has grown by well over 300% . As a result our workflow has become increasingly complicated.” said Steve Norris, head of sport at BT Vision. “BeBanjo’s products will help us to manage this in a better informed and more elegant way, helping us to be more productive and communicate better, both internally and externally.”

About BeBanjo

BeBanjo is a software company focused on building the world best back-office for teams managing video-on-demand and catch-up services. BeBanjo was founded in 2008 by Bastian Manintveld and Jorge Gómez Sancha and is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. BeBanjo was acquired in 2011 by the TDF Group.

BeBanjo clients include Channel 5, BT Vision, AMC Networks, Grey Juice Lab, BSkyB, Telefonica, the TDF Group and Tv Numeric.

For more information: http://bebanjo.com

About the TDF Group

Working at the very heart of the digital revolution, TDF is developing a multi-format and multi- support terrestrial platform for managing and distributing audio, video and data content to all types of receivers. As a dedicated broadcaster and designer of telecom networks, TDF is positioned at the nexus of the new digital, mobile and multimedia technologies by using all means of transmission: terrestrial, IP, satellite, etc.

The TDF Media Services companies: BeBanjo, Cognacq-Jay Image, Qbrick and Smartjog provide best-of-breed solutions for the management and delivery of audiovisual content. TDF Media Services provides state of the art technology for cloud-based online video platform, content delivery network, digital content delivery and channel playout.

For more information: http://www.tdf-group.com/

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group’s revenue was £18,897m with profit before taxation of £2,445m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com 

BeBanjo Loves InvestInSpain

After a year of hard work we’ve finalized the project for which InvestInSpain has granted us the subsidy over a year ago. Specifically, the project has been co-financed by the Sociedad Estatal para la Promoción y Atracción de las Inversiones Exteriores, S.A. and by the European Fund for Regional Development (FEDER).

The project “Multiplatform Metadata Management and Delivery” for which BeBanjo applied with INVEST IN SPAIN for a subsidy, deals with the challenges of distributing a single set of (video-related) metadata to multiple platforms. In a world where some content providers and broadcasters need to publish their content to many destinations, this is a real problem.

The product that we’ve been able to develop with the help of the subsidy, is on its way to become one of the stars of the company, and positions BeBanjo in Europe (and soon the US) as a one-stop-shop for the management and publication of Metadata for video-on-demand.

More information about the product will be made available in the near future on BeBanjo’s product page.

Originally published by Bastian Manintveld.

New in Sequence: Filtering Jobs by Task Status

As part of our efforts to make managing Video On Demand operations easier and faster, we have just released a new and highly requested Sequence feature: it is now possible to filter jobs by their tasks’ status (pending/completed). We hope this feature will help our customers to work faster!

The new filter is in the filters area and contains all the tasks that are part of any of the company’s task templates:

Task Filters

The filter is quite easy to use: a tri-state checkbox is shown beside each task for users to choose which jobs to display based on their tasks’ statuses.

The example below shows how a user would display only the jobs which tasks Encoding and Quality Controlled have been completed and which task Metadata is still pending, independently of the status of task “Distribute”:

Tasks and Statuses

This is how the results page looks like after applying a filter by tasks status:

Sequence Filter

Of course, this new filter can be combined with any of the existing ones (by tag, licensor or assigned user) for an even more powerful filtering experience.

We hope you like it!

Originally published by Pablo Alonso.

About BeBanjo

BeBanjo designs and builds software to help you manage your VoD operation. The blog is where we write about what we are up to and more.