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Industry-leading metadata provider EBS signs major exclusive deal with ITV
EBS, the leading full-service provider of EPG and VOD metadata for platforms and channels worldwide, has announced a major new deal with the largest commercial family of channels in the UK, ITV. The deal sees EBS providing its extensive range of EPG metadata services to ITV’s impressive portfolio of 10 channels, spanning 17 regions. 

Building upon our successful partnership for which EBS delivered ITV Choice for African and Asian platforms, as well as ITV Box Office PPV events, the new partnership will allow ITV to maximise their value as an integrated broadcaster, delivering accurate and comprehensive world-class metadata to a variety of affiliates and platforms worldwide.

Key services supplied to ITV by EBS include: EPG data, press listings, image-led weekly and seasonal highlights and extensive editorial services using its bespoke software solution Pawa2.
 “We’re extremely pleased to be extending our existing relationship with EBS to include work across our portfolio of channels, and to be making further use of their Pawa2 metadata solution in the process,” said Ian Cottrell.

“Pawa2 is incredibly easy to use, providing us with both exceptional visibility and comprehensive control of all of our programme metadata and scheduling information. We look forward to seeing this new partnership in action.”
EBS’ Pawa2 is a multi-platform, multi-territory, scalable software solution that drives content discovery. Pawa2 provides ITV with a streamlined, fully integrated data workflow capable of delivering a real-time, anytime service. It is also a practical and sophisticated solution to the issues that many broadcasters and content owners now face when sending data to multiple platforms in a number of different formats, languages and time zones.
In addition, Pawa2 will enable ITV to future-proof their metadata offering, particularly in the ever-emerging VOD and DTO market. This will allow ITV to unlock new growth opportunities both domestically and internationally.
EBS Managing Director Keith Bedford says, “This is a major deal for EBS, and we are very excited to make this announcement.”

“As viewers take more and more control of when, where and on which device they access content, the challenge for broadcasters like ITV is to make sure their content is always front and centre, and with exceptional EPG data. We’re very proud to be working with such a well-respected brand, who is leading the way in our ever-shifting media landscape.”
EBS signs deal with the global leader in media intelligence - Kantar Media
The industry-leading and globally-renowned metadata provider EBS are pleased to announce that we are the preferred TV listings supplier for Kantar Media, a global leader in media intelligence.
Kantar Media’s primary role is to deliver best in class data and services to help their clients drive communications strategies efficiently and effectively. EBS are delighted to be working with Kantar Media in order to assist them in fulfilling this service.
This deal sees the Pawa Listings arm of the business delivering accurate and comprehensive linear TV schedules and metadata directly to Kantar Media in a format that meets their needs.
The Pawa TV Listings supplied will be used to provide programme names for Kantar Media’s proprietary TV analysis software Infosys+/Instar Analytics and also to populate programme names in daily spreadsheet reports. These reports and software services are used by both internal and external clients of Kantar Media in the UK, India and Pakistan, amongst others.
Pawa is the global metadata solution that drives content discovery. A bespoke cloud-based software, Pawa provides a multi-platform, multi-territory, scalable solution that enables EPG data to be aggregated, enhanced and distributed by the dedicated EBS editorial team or in-house by our portfolio of broadcasters ensuring a seamless EPG service that is adaptable and accommodating.
The scalable and flexible capability of Pawa Listings allows for up-to-the-minute changes and late amendments to be captured, processed, published and distributed to our client base on a real-time basis, and at any time.
EBS Managing Director Keith Bedford says, “EBS are delighted to be working with a market leader in audience and media measurement.  Pawa, our comprehensive software platform and our ability to make changes to the system will enable our relationship to move and grow with the market requirements. EBS already work with TV Channels that are also clients of Kantar Media, and this will just enhance the data flow between the businesses and the ability to react to changes for all parties”.
EBS secures image distribution deal with BT Sport
International EPG services provider EBS is delighted to announce a brand new supply deal with UK broadcaster BT Sport. The deal sees BT Sport making use of EBS’ Pawa metadata solution to distribute EPG images and image metadata across its multi-platform network in the UK and Ireland.

Pawa is a highly flexible scheduling and metadata solution that allows content suppliers to easily adapt EPGs and images to the needs of any distribution platform, anywhere in the world. Its feature-rich capabilities can be tailored to the individual requirements of any client, no matter how specific they are.

“We’re thrilled to be working with BT Sport to increase their workflow efficiencies and help streamline the distribution of images.  BT Sport are maximising the capabilities of our Pawa software platform,” says EBS Managing Director Keith Bedford.

“Pawa was already an industry-leading product, but the latest updates mean that our customers are going to have access to a versatile database offering workflow efficiency and unparalleled brand control.”

The recent upgrade also means that Pawa imports, maintains, and distributes EXIF data attached to images. This allows end-users to easily reference key image metadata such as all-important rights information when using the images that Pawa outputs.

It is also possible to upload a single source image to Pawa and crop it to multiple requirements, producing several variations of the same source image for any given platform needs. The addition of overlays and watermarks can also be automated when these images are output. The days of resizing the same image to countless pixel dimensions within a desktop graphics package are also a thing of the past; Pawa can automate that time-consuming and laborious step of the workflow too.

“The sports broadcasting market is hugely competitive, and ensuring that your brand is represented with the correct imagery is key,” explains Keith. “We think it speaks to the incredible versatility and usability of Pawa that a top-tier company like BT Sport is committing such a vital part of its service to this outstanding solution.”
The Full-Service Revolution
Over the past few years the broadcast industry has been so concerned with audience migration to VOD and DTO services that you’d be forgiven for thinking the death of linear TV was imminent. Viewing figures across these newer platforms are at least partly responsible, given that even a cursory glance at them is enough to make it clear the migration is big, and it’s not stopping any time soon. 

Netflix released some particularly incredible statistics last year, tracking over 93 million worldwide users on a monthly basis, and viewing figures of up to 14 million for its high-end, in-house productions like Stranger Things and Making a Murderer. The BBC recorded 9.9 million daily viewing requests for iPlayer this February, an all-time record for the UK catch-up service. All in all, content streaming rose 23% in the UK across 2016, generating combined revenue of £1.3bn.

These are just a handful of examples; huge numbers that are indicative of a marketplace in a state of dramatic fluctuation.

But predicting the viewing habits of next week, let alone next year, is tricky. The proliferation of new platforms and services has made accessing content easier than ever before, but it has also made it far more complicated for consumers to feel confident that they are making the right decisions for their needs. It’s become crucial that end users trust their chosen platforms to not only to deliver the entertainment they love, but to deliver it in a form that best suits their individual requirements. 

Content is king, as the saying goes. These days, however, accessibility and consistency are next in line to the throne.

In the face of such incredibly versatile competition, linear TV has not just survived, but in many cases thrived. In the UK, the four major terrestrial TV stations all boast monthly viewing figures well above the 100 million mark, with BBC One pulling in 178,000,000 views in February of this year alone.

Linear outlets also remain the go-to places for “watercooler TV”; live sporting events, weekend dramas and family entertainment, soap operas, and one-off documentaries consistently record substantial numbers. Recently, BBC One’s documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad generated overnights of 5.2 million. ITV’s Coronation Street has been riding comfortably at about 6 million viewers per episode for most of 2017 to date.

So what, if anything, does this all mean? 

In the short to mid-term, it means that linear isn’t going anywhere. At EBS we provide metadata and EPG services to clients around the globe, and in the past few years we’ve seen the format go from strength to strength. So much so, in fact, that our total services portfolio has expanded to include 500 individual linear channels broken up under numerous top-tier clients like BBC Worldwide, Discovery, and MultiChoice. We’ve also started working with several exciting new channel providers like Kwesé in Africa, and Viceland across Europe.

What this experience has taught us is that “linear vs. VOD” is not – for the time being at least – a zero sum game. The idea that linear holds little to no relevance in the modern marketplace is at odds with the way the viewing public continue to make use of it. In fact for many people both domestically and internationally, it’s still the most reliable and consistent platform that’s widely available.

A more accurate reading of the situation would place all of the ways in which audiences now find content on a relatively equal plane of importance. Again, accessibility is what counts. The novelty of a platform holds little value next to its ease of use and the relevance of its content. A fan of soap operas is unlikely to go looking for their favourite shows on a TVOD service. Neither will a serious movie buff be likely to wait for the latest blockbuster to appear on a terrestrial network.

For industry services companies like ours, this is hugely important to the way business is done. It’s incredibly rare that a major new client will come to us with requirements that are based in either linear or VOD alone. What we are asked for and what we provide in these situations, time and again, are “full-service” solutions that offer consistent metadata and EPGs across multiple delivery formats. The increasing demand for these broad-base services means we’re looking into new distribution capabilities all the time. 

Ultimately, the lessons to be learned from this marketplace aren’t new ones, but they’re ones that bear repeating. Change is happening and change is healthy, but it must continue to be dictated by the needs of end users. The change we are experiencing now almost certainly won’t take us exactly where we expect to go. The company that’s ready to adapt to and provide for this reality will be the company that thrives.

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