Inflight Productions Deploys Signiant’s Media Exchange, Managers+Agents

Inflight Productions (IFP) has deployed Signiant’s Media Exchange and Managers+Agents software to accelerate production and distribution of inflight entertainment programs. As a leading provider of tailored, engaging video content for airline passengers, IFP has implemented the Signiant solutions as part of a broader effort to reduce, and eventually eliminate, tape from its digital production and distribution workflows.

IFP depends on Signiant for the secure and reliable movement of entertainment content between its London and Los Angeles locations and its business partners through every stage of its digital workflow. These include acquisition from the studios, distributors, and broadcasters who supply cinematic and television content; additional processing such as transcoding, dubbing and subtitling; and final delivery to a variety of IFE (inflight entertainment) platforms. IFP has deployed Managers+Agents to facilitate acquisition of cinema titles from The Lab, a postproduction house that distributes inflight assets from a major motion picture studio.

Panasonic Avionics, a leading supplier of the end-user digital playout systems installed on aircraft, has Signiant agents in Lake Forest, CA, and will be adding nodes at its regional media centers. In London, Media Exchange is used to manage exchanges of noncinema content with the Los Angeles office and to acquire television assets from content providers worldwide, including the BBC.

“Signiant’s solutions were the only ones that ticked all the boxes in meeting our digital file movement requirements, one of the biggest being the ability to provide iron-clad security for transferring full-resolution Hollywood movie assets. By moving away from tape, we’ve been able to reduce our costs by up to 50 percent, and our business processes have been accelerated across the board,” said Andrew Beer, vice president of Technology, IFP. “At a strategic level, with Signiant’s secure and accelerated file transfer capabilities, we can take a more global view of our business and push critical tasks out to remote partners that are better equipped to handle certain tasks, such as regionalization of content. We’re also looking at Signiant as the digital delivery mechanism for packages of content that we can resell to other types of customers, such as smaller airlines and train operators, targeting new presentation platforms and creating entirely new revenue streams.”

In Los Angeles and London, secure Signiant servers manage the acquisition of movie titles (Los Angeles only) and television shorts, moving them into clustered video storage, where they can be accessed by IFP personnel for downstream processing according to the specifications of each airline client. Depending on the audience and the region of travel, the video might need to be edited to remove offensive language and images, and the title might need to be dubbed or subtitled into many different languages.

With Media Exchange, IFP is able to transfer the material rapidly and seamlessly to vendors in many different parts of the world to access services that are not only more cost-effective but might provide better cultural expertise for the target audiences; for instance, a localization agency in Hong Kong that applies Cantonese-language subtitles, or a team in Singapore identifying any material that might be objectionable to a specific audience. If the content is to be delivered to the newer digital inflight playout systems, Signiant is also used to deliver the edited video to transcoders for conversion to the required formats, and then final delivery to an integrator or directly to an airport hub.

“Among the many ideal applications of Signiant’s technology is inflight entertainment — with requirements for global and secure movement of content from many sources to be delivered in many different formats and versions,” said Matt Thomas, director of Western Region Sales, Signiant. “IFP has a tremendous strategy for leveraging Signiant solutions to eliminate the expense and delays of tape delivery processes and, in the bargain, develop more streamlined business processes and new revenue streams.”

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