Random House, Universal Pictures Tap Aspera for High-Speed Data Transport

Aspera, creators of next-generation software technologies that move the world’s data at maximum speed, announced that Random House, the world’s largest English language trade publisher, has selected Aspera faspex for high-speed data transport and workflow automation and management.  Universal Pictures has also deployed the Aspera faspex solution to send, receive, and share large media files internationally between production facilities and post-production houses. Aspera’s flagship person-to-person and project-based file exchange solution has significantly reduced production cycle times while meeting stringent security requirements and ensuring high levels of flexibility in their workflows.

By replacing their existing transport technology and in-house workflow orchestration tools with Aspera software, Random House will shorten production cycles as they scale operations and expand distribution channels.

Random House is a leading audio publisher, with an audiobooks library of over 2500 titles from bestselling authors available on CD and audio download. Content creation is a worldwide, collaborative operation, with voice talent, audio editing, graphic design, and distribution activities dispersed across cities and across continents. Their sophisticated workflows require increasingly flexible and scalable high-speed file transport and workflow automation systems to meet their recent and future business growth.

After rigorous evaluation of available solutions, Random House chose a full suite of Aspera distribution, collaboration, and automation software products.

The deployment at Random House is centered on faspex, a global collaboration platform based on Aspera’s patented fasp transport technology. The software solution enables disparate groups to collaborate quickly and efficiently by exchanging files and directories of any format and size at maximum speed, regardless of transfer distance and network conditions.

“At Random House, we currently publish over 300 titles per year with content creation activities throughout the globe,” said Joshua Crone, vice president, infrastructure, technical services at Random House. “We need efficient, reliable automation tools that can meet the demands of our workflows today and will allow us to scale and adapt to new requirements in the future. With Aspera, we get a full suite of solutions that accelerates almost every aspect of our highly customized workflows, giving us a key strategic advantage over other audio publishers.”

One of the world’s largest film studios, Universal Pictures produces major motion pictures such as Battleship and Snow White and the Huntsman, massive projects that require an army of partners and facilities seamlessly working together to deliver a top-notch final product. Each day during post-production, large media files — individually between 15 and 30 GB in size — are created and must be transferred and manipulated multiple times before being combined into the finished product. This type of global collaboration demands fast and secure data transfers between team members. Additionally, post-production teams are brought in with each movie, typically every six months to a year; so new groups of artists must get up to speed quickly on the file transfer system they will be using every day.

Over the years, Universal Pictures has tried several solutions from various vendors, all of which fell short in delivering the required speed, ease-of-use and security at a reasonable price point. Some of the digital delivery methods required several weeks of set-up time as well as extensive training for each new crew, and were not able to adapt to the different facilities’ bandwidth constraints or perform on commodity hardware.

After a thorough evaluation of available collaborative file exchange solutions, Universal Pictures adopted Aspera faspex for their global postproduction process to meet their short deployment timelines, scalability, high security and ease-of-use standards. Production teams now use the email-style interface for distributing and exchanging massive files and directories, and integrated email notifications let team members know content was delivered successfully and is available.

“Aspera is now our approved standard for transferring content around the world,” said John Toal, director, post production content security at Universal Pictures. “Before Aspera, each time we started production on a new film, we had to spend a great deal of time setting up the system and training new crew members on the file transfer process. Because of Aspera’s intuitive interface and set-up, new users simply go to a web page, click, drag and drop. It couldn’t be easier. We can quickly configure the system, use it for the six-month production lifecycle, and then cycle it back into use as the next post-production teams need it.”

“With the globalization of post-production, growing file sizes, and the enduring need to deliver to tight deadlines, studios like Universal Pictures can rely on our proven, secure and flexible data movement platform to keep their productions on schedule and teams up to date on the status of projects no matter where they are in the world,” said Michelle Munson, Aspera president and co-founder. “By relying on the faspex, Universal can ramp up production teams in hours as opposed to weeks and immediately experience the benefits of Aspera’s high-speed file transfer technology.”

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