As the publisher of about ten television channels and VOD services, Groupe M6 has been using the Nomalab cloud platform since 2017 to deliver a growing number of programmes and to process them to M6 broadcasting specifications.
Eric Itier, Head of Media Management at the M6 Group, explains the reasons for choosing Nomalab.
Why did you decide to work with Nomalab?
The very rapid evolution of the programme market, with the advent of non-linear platforms in particular, has resulted in a huge increase in the volume of media files to be delivered to the M6 Group and in particular to our 6play video service. This represents an increase of almost 20% every year for the past five years. To address this, we have been looking for innovative solutions in the market. Alexis Bureau, from the group's technical department, directed me to the Nomalab platform to facilitate the process of delivering programmes from distributors and catalogue holders. Nomalab's teams quickly showed us their ability to deliver large volumes of files, to M6 broadcast standards, in a very short time frame.
What makes 6play special in terms of programme delivery?
During some months, we may have a significant share of deliveries of M6 Group programmes intended for 6play. In the past, with linear channels, things were simple. We would purchase the programmes and they had to be delivered to us in M6’s format on time. The rights holders, who were used to working with us, could deliver the episodes of a series to us throughout the year. They were dubbed, received and broadcast. Now, with VoD services, everything has changed. 6play is offering more and more programmes and they have to be able to put the whole series on line as soon as the first episode is published. This is a huge change. Today, once an acquisition has been signed by M6, Nomalab is able to deliver 200 episodes of a series the next day if I need them. The platform is designed precisely for this: to process large volumes in a very short time.
What are your file specification requirements?
The programmes must be capable of being broadcast on any of the group's channels and VoD services. This is why we have introduced a single file specification. Only Gulli, Canal J, MCM (formerly Lagardère Active) have different specifications for historical reasons. They also use Nomalab for their internal productions.
The issue of bringing files up to M6 broadcasting standards is a particularly important one for 6play, which is much more than just a catch-up TV service. The 6play teams are constantly on the lookout for programmes unseen in France. It is a very competitive market where you have to react quickly. This means buying series internationally from rights holders who aren’t used to working with us and aren’t able to deliver their programmes to the M6 broadcast specifications. The Nomalab platform is capable of handling any file format from the distributor's storage, processing it to the M6 broadcast specifications, allowing us to validate the content, and delivering it to us quickly. This avoids a lot of rigmarole with the catalogue holders, which is very time consuming for my teams. Nomalab was one of the first in the market to understand these issues and put in place the tools and the teams to address them.
How does the work with the Nomalab platform work in practice?
It’s really very simple. From our information system, we generate a delivery request in the form of an XML file, which is automatically transmitted to Nomalab. Nomalab then contacts the rights holder who delivers the source files. The platform checks that it’s technically compliant, sets the media files to M6 standards and automatically notifies us by e-mail when they are ready for delivery. From that point on, we have two options: either our teams will check the editorial compliance of the programme directly on the Nomalab platform, without handling any files. This really makes things much easier. If the file is correct, we can prepare the file and activate the delivery ourselves. Or, if we don't have the time, we can ask Nomalab to deliver and we do the verification in-house on our Media Asset Management (MAM) tool. Nomalab sends us an email notification for each action taken on the files.
It is a very flexible tool and the user interface is intuitive. We also use Nomalab with producers and large catalogue holders who deliver feature films and streaming programs to us with tight deadlines. This is for example the case of "Recherche Appartement ou Maison" (Réservoir Prod), one of our leading shows which we receive via the platform. This works very well. The responsiveness of Nomalab's support teams should also be noted. We have very well-identified contacts who are very familiar with our needs.
« Nomalab is a technically advanced, super-reliable and very competitive solution. »
As Head of Broadcast Media Flow in the M6 Group's Technical Department, Alexis Bureau is in charge of media engineering and processes for broadcasting, acquisition, archiving and post-production.
Alexis tells us about the Nomalab cloud solution that the group has been using for over five years to receive thousands of hours of programming and to process them to M6 broadcast specifications.
How did you get interested in the Nomalab platform?
Within the M6 Group, we started de-materialising the reception of our programmes in 2015. Before that, tapes were received and digitised. I knew Jean Gaillard, co-founder of Nomalab, from the time he worked on tapeless ad delivery. During 2016, we had a lot of discussions about file standards, media processes, upload issues, etc. He understood our needs as a broadcaster and provided solutions to them with the Nomalab platform. As our projects came to fruition around the same time, we soon ended up working together. At the time, Nomalab was the only 100% file-based solution on the market. Today, we have been using the platform on a daily basis for over five years. It is a technically advanced, super-reliable and very competitive solution. This means that each year we give them more and more work.
How does the Nomalab platform meet your program delivery needs?
Nomalab has implemented all of the features necessary for automated file delivery. We have a high level of technical integration with them: everything is very fluid. The platform allows the media to be uploaded directly into our media infrastructure, with all the metadata we need. The delivery is accompanied by the M6 broadcast identifier (ID) associated with the programme and generated on our Media Asset Management (MAM) at the time of the order. They have set up their own system to check that the files comply with the M6 broadcast specifications, even before they deliver to us. Nomalab also allows the group's teams to monitor each stage of the processing of the programme on the platform. And they are very good at providing day-to-day business support. They work closely with their customers and always try to find solutions to our teams’ problems.
Nomalab is a 100% cloud-based, 100% scalable solution. How does it meet your needs?
The fact that they are entirely in the cloud is an operational advantage. They are not limited by a material infrastructure in their operations. This means that they can absorb their customers’ high peak loads. They simply trigger as many instances as are needed in the cloud. If we have just purchased a big catalogue of 5,000 hours which needs to be ingested and processed to M6 broadcast specifications, they can deliver it to us in just two days without any problem. All this while keeping costs very competitive.
How do you see the future of these cloud solutions in the M6 Group?
The arrival of the cloud is a technological revolution in the world of television. It is a real paradigm shift and a challenge for the technical management teams. Of course we have in-house resources, but they are not unlimited. Relying on experts like Nomalab allows us to test solutions and, ultimately, to move forward more quickly. They have been visionaries in this media delivery market and their solution is set to be enriched. Nomalab's expertise will certainly help them offer us added services in the future, for example those based on AI. As they are cloud-native, they are able to integrate new features as soon as these features are mature. It's of great interest to us to have expert partners on whom we can rely on to move forward.