And the winner is …
Vision Media supercharges uploads for film and TV awards voting using IBM Aspera

The presenter, glamorous in an evening gown or tux, unseals the envelope and withdraws a card that bears a single name. One film or show title, one actor or director. The audience sits in suspense. For the nominees themselves, and the production teams that supported them, this moment might define their careers.

But what led to the selection of that one name?

Long before the final nominees and winners are decided, studios large and small must get their best work from the past year in front of the eyes of more than 200,000 awards-season viewers, including voters across 22 industry guild groups, publicity audiences, various VIPs, and more.

Many of those studios, including the largest and most famous content owners in the industry, rely on Vision Media to make sure their content reaches their entire voting audience on time with the highest quality streams. Vision Media provides custom, branded screening rooms for awards programs such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Spirit Awards, Producers Guild of America Awards and Directors Guild of America Awards. It also supports studios’ voting outreach for the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, and more.

Vision Media recently worked with IBM Business Partner PacGenesis to begin using IBM® Aspera® software to expedite transfers of feature films and TV programs, allowing studios to reach awards voters faster than ever.

Faster delivery

 

To meet critical deadlines, studios can deliver content for awards voting >100x faster than before

Faster upload

 

Now, uploading a 100 GB, ultra hi-def feature film takes 10 mins compared to previos time of 28+ hours

In today's digital-first environment, file sizes are larger than ever. We require a robust, scalable high-speed transfer solution. Our platform streams UHD video, audio descriptions, and multiple-track surround sound movies and TV content to awards voters and VIPs. Jason Deadrich CTO Vision Media
The need for speed

“We work with the top studios and production companies,” says Joanna Syiek, Vision Media’s Senior Director of Marketing. During awards season each year, these studios must upload multiple terabytes of content and deliver secure, streamed screenings of their film and television titles to a wide distribution of voters just for consideration for awards nominations.

It’s a very high-stakes race. Nominations and wins can make a huge difference in how much return a studio sees on the large investments they make in their productions. But for a given awards show, the studios must deliver their content under strict deadlines.

And in recent years, awards “season” has expanded to the point that it never really ends. “It used to be a roughly five-month period from fall to early spring. Now, awards season has expanded to at least 11 months of the year, so production companies must be mindful of their different awards efforts all the time,” says Syiek. Multiple awards programs might be opening and/or closing for submissions in a given month. Thus, Vision Media’s content delivery and screening platform is a critical resource year-round.

It’s also handling higher volumes of content than ever. The Covid pandemic forced studios to shift away from in-theatre awards outreach and events and go fully digital. During this time, many of the major studios turned to Vision Media seeking innovative solutions for their awards efforts. Vision Media was able to offer adaptive solutions including screening rooms, For Your Consideration sites, eblasts and robust awards support. “We saw a 94% year-on-year growth in awards titles shared on our platform from 2020 to 2021,” says Syiek.

Though the Vision Media platform was already an industry leader due to its flexibility, security and ability to offer a high-end viewing experience across all leading viewing applications, the explosion in volume created a greater pressure for speed. Traditionally, Vision Media used file-transfer protocol (FTP) technology to receive content. A 100 GB, high-definition feature film file could take more than 28 hours to transfer and be available for viewing.

Vision Media saw an opportunity to make the process dramatically faster.

Efficiency and security are top priorities. As a long-time user of IBM Aspera software, I am proud to add the Aspera solution to Vision Media’s secure streaming platform. Jason Deadrich CTO Vision Media
Same security and control, much faster

Working with PacGenesis, Vision Media built Aspera high-speed file transfer software into its secure streaming platform for content ingestion and transfer.

PacGenesis is a team of Aspera experts who helped integrate the solution into Vision Media’s secure screening workflow and ensure that the software was up to date with the latest patches and security. As part of the project, Vision Media and PacGenesis engaged IBM to evaluate the Aspera software and make sure it supports Vision Media’s stringent security requirements for protecting studios’ property and copyrights. PacGenesis and Vision Media completed the Aspera implementation in 30 days.

Now, those feature-film uploads that took several hours are done in 10 minutes. When a studio team needs to submit a new movie or several episodes of a TV series no later than 5:00 PM on a Friday, they no longer have to make sure they start the upload early in the week and monitor it across days to be sure it’ll finish on time. If final edits on a title happen on the day of the deadline, content owners now can rest easy knowing their file transfers will take minutes instead of hours or days.

The flexible controls on the Vision Media platform empower users. Studios can choose how long their content is viewable with protected viewing windows, employ visible or forensic watermarking, and customize security settings as needed.

“We are proud to have been able to work with Vision Media to help supercharge their file transfer speeds and help to deliver time and cost savings for their secure screening platform,” says Mark Eaton of PacGenesis. “Vision Media shares our commitment to top-notch security and speed, and we are glad the combined solution allows studios and content creators to securely transfer their awards titles at scale.”

Vision Media’s Syiek adds: “Our customers, the content owners, can have full peace of mind throughout the year. They can spend less time waiting on file transfers and more time enjoying their hard work bringing creative and inspiring film and television titles to life.”

Vision Media logo
About Vision Media

The media and entertainment industry’s global leader of digital and physical marketing and fulfillment services, Vision Media (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a trusted partner of over 280 clients in the film, TV, streaming, consumer products and awards industries. With 35+ years of experience in the entertainment industry, Vision Media serves major motion picture film studios, entertainment guilds, distributors and content owners with best-in-class secure screening, promotional support and managed services.

Pac Genesis logo
About PacGenesis

IBM Business Partner PacGenesis (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a leading data-security solutions provider serving organizations of all sizes for over 10 years. Its customer-first mentality has helped it stand out as a leading, trusted advisor in digital file movement security. As businesses continue to transform how they operate, PacGenesis helps them seamlessly and efficiently transfer data through the support of modernized services and solutions.

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Produced in the United States of America, September 2022.

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