Efficient Cloud Video Workflows at THEMA
Steve Ferris
September 30, 2020

THEMA is a Canal+ Group company that has more than 180 television channels in its portfolio. It helps with the development of these channels and has built strong partnerships with major pay-TV platforms worldwide.

Celebrating Culture with Content

THEMA started with a focus on ethnic, localized entertainment. What was once a niche has grown into a large, expansive service. Today, It has a presence in nearly every region of the world where viewers can enjoy programming that celebrates their heritage and offers a taste of home wherever they are.

THEMA media assets in iconik

Cédric Pierre-Louis is the Director Of Programming for the African Fiction Channels at THEMA. Gareth Howells is the Director of Out Point Media, which was created to assist THEMA QC and content operations mainly for its African channels. Cédric and Gareth share their iconik journey here.

A Familiar Challenge

THEMA shares a common story that many other iconik customers have experienced. As entertainment demand has risen, the amount of video handled by an organization has sky-rocketed. Early on, most media asset management solutions that were considered for the African Fiction Channels at THEMA had a high barrier to entry with requirements for large upfront investments. To stay cost-efficient, more manual solutions were used, but it would prove to be unsustainable.

As THEMA moved into creating and managing channels, the increase in video production and added complexity of their on-premise and cloud workflows brought the need for media management front and center.

Charting a Course for Better Workflows

When Cédric began to lead his department, he and Gareth both shared a strong desire to move their cloud workflows forward to become more agile and efficient.

Cédric and Gareth began evaluating solutions by these key points:

Cloud-Based

Cloud-Based


To start, THEMA needed a solution that could improve how they work across all their global teams. The operation needed to work from anywhere. Cédric worked internally at the Paris office while Gareth worked from London, and together they managed content creation from production teams in Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.

Minimal Cloud Resources

Minimal Cloud Resources


There was also a unique challenge to overcome with connectivity and bandwidth restrictions facing the teams in Africa. They needed a light solution—requiring minimal cloud resources. Teams with limited internet access would also need immediate access to the content from the cloud.

Proxy Workflows

Proxy Workflows


They also could not afford to continue working with large files. Previously, teams had to upload hi-res full master versions of video, which then had to be downloaded by every editor who worked on the project. Proxy workflows would allow creation to happen faster with much smaller files.

Adobe Integration

Adobe Integration


The team needed to be able to find video fast and have the ability to simply drag it into their timelines from a panel within their Adobe programs. This ability to self serve from the cloud and find media without any bottlenecks would have a great impact on production speed.

Affordable Startup Costs

Affordable Startup Costs


They also needed to stay within a budget. There could not be any costly installation of new infrastructure.

Landing at iconik

While Cédric was searching for the right media management solution, he took a trip to Stockholm, where he met with iconik’s CEO, Parham Azimi. After a short talk and demo, it was clear that iconik was perfectly suited to THEMA’s needs for agility. All four of the evaluation points were satisfied in this one solution. Soon after that meeting, Cédric and Gareth began to implement iconik with the help of IVORY, who represents iconik in France.

Today, THEMA uses iconik as a full content management system that offers nearly end-to-end control for their media workflows.

This is how iconik is utilized for their broadcast work:


  1. Film and audio is created at the studios in Nigeria and Ghana
  2. The media is uploaded to Backblaze B2 cloud storage
  3. B2 assets are then represented in iconik as proxies
  4. QC and Compliance teams use the iconik Adobe panel with video proxies for quality control, checking compliance, and video editing
  5. Master files are downloaded to create the master copy
  6. The master video copy is distributed for playout

While all this is happening, the creative teams at THEMA can also access content in iconik to edit promotional media.

 Cédric Pierre-Louis
"I would recommend iconik to any company that wants a powerful, easy to manage, easy to scale media management solution for a reasonable cost."- Cédric Pierre-Louis, Director Of Programming, African Fiction Channels, THEMA

Visions to Expand iconik’s Use

With the iconik experience THEMA has had so far, the team is excited to implement iconik for even more of their workflows. In the future it plans to integrate iconik with its broadcast management system to share metadata and files with its playout system. This would save a lot of time and work as much of the data in iconik is also relevant for the media playout system.

Further into the future, THEMA also hopes to achieve a total end to end workflow with iconik. The vision is to use iconik as soon as a movie comes in so their team can put it through all the steps in a workflow such as QC, compliance, transcoding, and sending media to 3rd parties for playout or VOD platforms.

For this global team that needed their media managed in a way that would be light and resource-efficient, iconik has arrived in a big way.

Here, you’ve read about how versatile iconik is. If you have a challenging media management situation, request a demo and let us help you find a solution just for you.