How did you end up working with Nomalab to launch SALTO?
I knew about Nomalab when I worked at TF1. At that time, they were part of the TF1 group’s start-up incubator and worked on finding innovative technological solutions to respond to new issues for channels, in particular the need to process content in mass for new, non-linear usage.
When I arrived at SALTO, we had the same issue as TF1, M6 and France.tv, but with staggering volumes that needed to be processed in record time. When we launched in October 2020, we offered 6,000 hours of SVOD programming and 10,000 hours of free VOD replays to our subscribers, while we had started from nothing a few months earlier.
Following an RFP, Nomalab stood out as an unmissable solution, with a file processing platform that is wholly web-based, while other proposals were much more hybrid.
What is Nomalab’s exact role in SALTO’s provisioning workflow?
With regard to programmes, we have put in place double sourcing.
On the one hand, we collect part of our programmes from our shareholders, when a file already exists. Their programmes intended for replay on their channels are already in pivot format and are sent directly to Bedrock, our publishing and streaming provider.
On the other hand, we entrust Nomalab with everything complicated, namely the reception and conforming of all files from our purchases from rights holders.
This represents over 5,000 hours of programming from the outset. This concerns our film and documentary offers, with many different providers.
I'm also thinking about the mass acquisition of international series, with a large number of episodes arriving in very disparate file formats and where there is a major challenge of conforming them to our technical standards.
This work is done with all the robustness and flexibility of the Nomalab platform and the expertise of SALTO's internal teams.
How would you assess your collaboration with Nomalab over the last two years?
Since 2020, SALTO has pushed the Nomalab platform to the limit and it has held up from start to finish. Nomalab’s hourly volume capacity is mind-boggling, due to its ability to process files in parallel. Fundamentally, there is no limit because everything is in the cloud.
In two years, there have been no problems with outages or unavailability of service with either Nomalab or Bedrock.
Due to the pandemic, the SALTO teams have been able to work remotely, accessing Nomalab from a web browser. I can’t say that everything has always gone smoothly, especially during the launch phase, but the teams have been able to adapt.
How has your work with Nomalab evolved over the last few months?
The platform works so well that we are increasingly using it as a back-up solution to solve bottlenecks that may occur on incoming programmes from our shareholders, especially at weekends or at night.
This is even more true with event previews, which are very popular with our subscribers. Paying subscribers are very demanding when it comes to respecting the time our programmes are put on-line, especially regarding special event previews which are published on SALTO simultaneously with the US, such as Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts and Friends: The Reunion.
What future projects do you have planned with Nomalab?
Nomalab is more than just a provider for SALTO, it has become a real partner.
Today, we are thinking about setting up a loop for programmes that are delivered directly to Bedrock by our shareholders so that they can be transferred back to and stored on Nomalab.
Another line of thought would be to make Nomalab the delivery hub for all our programmes.
Discussions about these areas are underway. We are at the preliminary stage of reflection on this.
Interview made in March 2022.