Reimagining localization for global OTT distribution: Introducing the ZOO Localization Ecosystem
The second wave of OTT is here. Established services are reaching more and more territories, major studios are launching their own direct-to-consumer streaming services and local content owners are capitalizing on OTT channels to maximize the global potential of their existing movies and shows.
OTT distribution offers an unparalleled route into global audiences. It also brings with it a growing number of challenges for content owners; increasing volumes of original content, resurrection and exploitation of large content archives, the need to support more languages and distribution formats than ever before, all in an ever-decreasing time to market.
To ready this content for market, owners must create or repurpose numerous localized components – dubs, subtitles, artwork, metadata – and manage the production of these across a global network of service providers and in-territory dubbing studios.
Pre-release content localization must take place under the tightest of security controls, and reliably manage any changes to the in-production content. Archive content should be cost-effectively localized using existing components wherever possible to avoid duplicating costs. A large sustainable talent pool must be easily accessed to support a greater number of languages.
Growing demand for localization
Traditional localization workflows are straining under the ever-growing demand for localized content. Content owners report a significant amount of wastage and repetition through their workflows, leading to unnecessary duplication in both processes and costs.
Localized components are often ‘re-originated’ as the original files are missing or unreliable. Order management is labour-intensive as content owners are required to place orders in multiple vendor-specific systems. Progress monitoring is challenging due to lack of process transparency. Process duplication occurs as each element of the localization workflow is typically handled by a different service provider. Limited, local talent pools lead to the same voices being heard in dubbed content time and again.
MESA Europe panel featuring ZOO Digital, BTI, Deluxe, SDI and Nordisk Undertext
To address these challenges, content owners have called on localization service providers to answer their needs. They are seeking a joined-up, collaborative approach between all of their vendors; an approach that eliminates the cost-duplication that occurs in large, dispersed studios.
They want production processes that are robust and deliver consistently reliable quality, access to sustainable translation capacity developed through on-going talent pool growth initiatives, and genuine workflow and process management efficiencies achieved through technology-led innovation.
ZOO has answered this call. Renowned for industry-first innovations, we have looked to reimagine services for OTT distribution and address the needs of content owners with the launch of our Localization Ecosystem.
The all-in-one, all-encompassing ecosystem has been over 10 years in the making.
With the launch of our very first software-enabled localization service in 2006, we recognized that OTT distribution represented a fundamental change and major challenge to the industry, so, began aligning our whole approach with the current and future needs of those distributing through OTT channels.
A 360-degree approach
The ZOO Localization Ecosystem offers a 360-degree approach to localization. It brings together all of the workflows, components, service providers and translation talent into a single environment.
The ecosystem is built up of interconnected, cloud-based ordering, production and management platforms supporting and encapsulating every aspect of the localization workflow. Each platform manages an element of content localization and digital packaging, and seamlessly interconnects with the rest of the ecosystem to deliver substantial benefits to ZOO’s localization services.
Workflows share reference materials, translation glossaries and relevant data to make deliverables more consistent and localization processes more efficient – and less susceptible to duplication. Systematic, software-enabled production reduces manual processes and the scope for human error.
Workflows incorporate automated compliance checks rather than depending on fixes through the QC process. Version control tools identify and effectively manage any changes to pre-release content across all affected workflows. All localized components are centralized in the ecosystem to allow for reliable repurposing for further distribution channels.
Together, these benefits support our team in delivering a consistently reliable, cost-effective service to content owners.
Centralized localization management
A key component of the ZOO Localization Ecosystem is ZOOstudio: our overarching localization management platform. ZOOstudio offers a single, centralized system for scenario planning, ordering, tracking and managing all of the components required to create a localized content package.
All project requirements are captured at point of order to speed up production. The order management system identifies any pre-existing localized assets suitable for repurposing, to eliminate duplicate component orders.
ZOOstudio named Product of the Year at NAB 2019
Uniquely in the localization industry, ZOO has adopted a collaborative approach through our Localization Ecosystem. For the first time, content owners can place all of their orders and manage their multiple localization service providers through a single vendor-agnostic system – with the ability to select their preferred vendor on an order-by-order basis.
Full process visibility, at-a-glance dashboards and real-time reporting provide a consolidated view of a content owner’s entire localization operation. This makes progress monitoring more reliable, less time-consuming and removes the need to track projects using spreadsheets and emails.
Dubbing in the ZOO Ecosystem
The ZOO Localization Ecosystem also supports our entire end-to-end dubbing workflow. It aims to eliminate the issues often experienced in traditional dubbing: duplicated scripting processes across vendors, casting from a limited talent pool, inconsistent audio quality, missed lines in recording sessions, incomplete legal agreements and lack of progress reporting.
When a dubbing order is placed in ZOOstudio, all relevant workflows are automatically triggered throughout the ecosystem to ensure the project begins without delay. Scripting tools ingest, verify and standardize scripts to create a single, consistent reference for all subsequent adaptations. Localized scripts are created by experienced in-territory adapters, using centralized glossaries for translation and character consistency.
The potential cast is identified from the ecosystem’s large, multilingual talent pool database, with voice test kits available for auditioning. The most authentic talent available can be cast from anywhere in the world, rather than relying on a limited pool located near a particular dubbing studio.
The auditioning process is expedited by recording remotely in the cloud, with no studio time or special software needed. The ecosystem’s systematic approach ensures that no characters are missed through the casting process.
Audio is securely captured in the ecosystem from in-territory ZOO-Enabled Dubbing Studios or alternative, approved recording environments. Utilizing actor-owned studios enables voice talent to optimize their time and increase their productivity. The ecosystem systematically guides the director and actor through the recording process, verifying each take in turn and not missing any lines. Audio quality is monitored throughout the process with session tests qualifying the recording environment and mic. This systematic approach, using the best talent for the job, ensures a reliable quality dub is produced every time.
Tasks in the dubbing workflow that typically require many hours of management are centralized and simplified in the ZOO Localization Ecosystem. This includes the creation, signature and collation of legal contracts including Assignment of Rights, which are now fully managed in one single system.
See the ZOO Localization Ecosystem in action
ZOO has reimagined localization services. Our Localization Ecosystem aims to successfully address the biggest challenges faced by content owners in Hollywood and beyond, and support them in preparing the world’s most in-demand TV and movie content for global OTT platforms.
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