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Changes Still Happening for Subtitle Technologist

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I looked back on the piece from Screen just prior to IBC last year and it very much focusses on the vast and rapid changes that broadcast manufacturers had to make to stay relevant to customers; and to be quite brutal, to simply stay in business, writes Dean Wales, Screen Subtitling.

We spoke of being surprised by some of the transformations and even shocked by the rate of how other predicted changes developed.

Well a year on and Screen's product and business strategies continue to undergo subtle adjustments to continually align with an industry that is undeniably still in a state of flux.

The extreme pressure freelance subtitlers are under both in terms of time and in level of rates they are able to charge is increasing with other burdens being applied, for one, the cost of subtitle creation and preparation software.

As the developer and supplier of the Wincaps subtitling software suite, we have looked long and hard at making what is universally accepted amongst professional subtitlers as industry standard software and how we make it simpler to obtain, and more accessible in respect of cost.

Following a period of redevelopment, centred mostly on simplifying its complex licensing configuration, Screen proudly announced in June 2016 that Wincaps Standard Edition was available for download directly from its website.

The pricing structure was also adjusted to work better with what can be irregular contracts for the freelancer. With a seven day free trial available, Wincaps Standard Edition is now available on a 1 Year subscription basis for £390, for 6 months at £195 or a monthly subscription costs £39 per month (costs are plus VAT at the applicable rate).

The online purchasing platform has proven to be hugely popular and it also allows Screen to easily manage and offer the likes of academic institutions preferential rates and specified trial periods for, as an example subtitling training courses.

Screen's Polistream subtitle transmission systems have long been at the centre of many of the world's broadcaster's access services and translated/captioned foreign content. Throughout their lives they too have undergone IT advancements improving their capability and efficiency (to provide for decreasing space budgets and higher sustainability standards) but recently Polistream's transformations have been more radical.

The diminishing requirements for hardware instigated the introduction Polistream in Virtual Machine form and made available as a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) option, allowing for the first time for customers to run our technology on their own hardware.

A major rebalancing of OPEX over CAPEX spend within the industry and indeed the emergence of pop-up channels were the key drivers to the introduction of Screen's Polistream rental option.

However, as eluded to at the start, the broadcast industry continues to contradict certain trends and is still capable of throwing in fast spinning curve-balls.

Just as we were comfortable with what felt like an all-encompassing transmission product portfolio which was shifting ever more into a virtual environment, emerging markets such as Russia have expressed a need for hardware.

And our misconception of being able to continue selling our Polistream hardware rapidly evaporated by requests for a technical specification beyond the capability of what was our only available subtitle transmission solution.

Never before seen at IBC, Screen's new Polistream U8000 has taken what we had considered to be an already exemplary product to a completely new level.

Housed in a full-length 1U unit, the U8000 is now based on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Operating System.

The introduction of dual power supplies enables customers to swap out UPS batteries with zero downtime for subtitle transmission.

That's product development over the past year, so what about the evolved business strategy we spoke of earlier?

Partnership working has always been a priority for Screen and the resultant product integration has led to better and more robust and efficient products for the end-user.

Over the past few months Screen has strengthened its partnerships team with the intention to open up our knowledge and incredibly strong channel connections for the benefit of third-party products. You may have seen our 'Open Our Minds to a New Way of Thinking' advertising campaign inviting companies to contacting about us developing a market for their innovations.

MediaStor (powered by Suitcase TV) is one such new relationship germinated from this fresh thinking.

MediaStor is our new cost competitive solution that is specifically designed for media storage with seamless expandability of capacity and access speed.

This new solution uses COTS technology in a software defined storage architecture to deliver outstanding low costs per byte of stored media. MediaStor's included Hierarchical Storage Management application can map your stored content directly into a Windows™ environment and can integrate existing storage into a single managed hierarchy with full audit trails and access control.

As an example 1 Petabyte of MAID Archive storage is available in a MediaStor solution from just £99k (Based on a system with a total capacity 1 Petabyte RAW archive storage).

Screen is exhibiting at IBC 2016 on stand 1.C49.


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