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Lianhe Zaobao (LHZB) Experiences “Substantial Time Savings” and “Increased Flexibility” with Iconik

Published on
February 7, 2024
iconik Blog

Lianhe Zaobao (LHZB) Experiences “Substantial Time Savings” and “Increased Flexibility” with Iconik

Chris McMahon
Published on
February 7, 2024
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In today's era of rapid digitalization, media content continues to grow exponentially. That’s no less true for the media landscape in Southeast Asia than anywhere else, where, in 2022, the digital economy contributed an estimated 17% to Singapore’s GDP – a significant increase from 13% in 2017.

Amidst this digital boom, publisher Lianhe Zaobao (LHZB) – the flagship Chinese-language daily of SPH Media and the most widely read Chinese-language news media in Singapore – faces the exciting challenge of managing an ever-growing volume of digital content. LHZB is committed to engaging both local and global Chinese-speaking communities by providing timely, accurate, and quality news reports, as well as in-depth analyses of Singapore's regional and global developments. Besides the daily newspaper, local readers and audiences from around the world access LHZB’s content via its website and apps, meaning the team must balance a traditional and digital presence to meet the diverse content needs of a digitally savvy audience.

Eric Lau, Chief Video Editor at LHZB, is at the forefront of addressing these challenges. “As the lead of LHZB’s video editing team, I oversee the post-production of at least one–three videos daily for the publication's digital platforms, comprising a wide range of video genres which usually consist of large footage volumes,” he explains.

To keep pace with LHZB’s media needs, Eric and his team require an Media Asset Management (MAM) system that can efficiently handle their growing media repository and adapt to the rapid news cycle. However, Eric recently recognized the need for a more sophisticated MAM solution to keep up with the rapidly changing media environment. As such, he turned his attention to Iconik.

Eric Lau, Chief Video Editor at LHZB

The Situation

Seeking a new approach to MAM

Like many large media organizations and publishers, LHZB previously used a traditional, on-premises MAM to store video files and related content. However, as LHZB continued to expand its output while working with editors and producers in multiple geographies, this legacy system started to feel the strain.

“Our previous MAM was not easily accessible or user-friendly, resulting in low adoption among producers at LHZB,” says Eric. “This wasn’t ideal, as collaboration is key to the creative process.”

The video editing team at LHZB needed to find a solution that would allow them to connect to all their content, collaborate securely, and make it easier to find and manage video. 

The solution

A cloud-native platform to organize media from any storage

Iconik emerged as the MAM solution of choice for LHZB's video editing team. Its hybrid-cloud media management capabilities, which combine cloud and on-premise storage and present all assets via a single interface met the requirements of Eric and his team in building a seamless post-production workflow.

  • “Bring your own storage”
    Iconik's "bring your own storage" feature was a game-changer for Eric, allowing he and his team to harmonize their diverse storage systems into a single, cloud-based hub. “The ‘bring your own storage’ approach offered by Iconik has significantly enhanced our operational flexibility,” says Eric. “We can search media across various storage locations in one go, which is substantially time-saving.”
  • A super smooth set-up Iconik's ease of setup marked a departure from the complexities of the MAM systems Eric had used before. “With previous on-premise systems, the setup involved complex and costly tasks like laying down cables, securing rack space in the data center, testing network throughput, and so on. Iconik's streamlined setup and cloud-based approach eliminates all of this. We just needed a stable internet connection. And it’s easy for people to get going too – iconik presents a remarkably smooth onboarding experience for our producers.”
  • Integrating with LucidLink
    Iconik’s integration with LucidLink is also proving crucial for Eric and his team. “When our videographers upload footage into LucidLink, the drives are automatically scanned via the Iconik Storage Gateway (ISG) that we have connected to LucidLink. (ISG is the tool that connects on-premises storage to iconik for indexing in the cloud – learn more.) Consequently, all the footage becomes readily accessible in Iconik, empowering our producers to review and curate their video narratives – all without having to ask where they have to go to find the footage.”
  • Iconik’s API-first architecture for customization and automation
    Iconik's versatility extends beyond conventional media management; it's a robust development platform with a fully configurable API. Iconik’s open API architecture empowers us to enhance our media workflows and integration with other services,” says Eric. “For example, with MASV, we have a fully automated process where footage incoming into MASV is scanned and appears in Iconik without human intervention. This operates during weekends or late-night hours, ensuring such footage is always available in Iconik for producers.”

The result

A tool that connects people with their media

For Eric, Iconik’s revamping of LHZB's video management is about more than just being efficient; it's about being smart and slick in how the team interacts with their media. Iconik goes beyond just organizing content; it’s a dynamic, collaborative tool that fosters a more connected environment for team members to access and engage with the media they need.

Communication, collaboration, and connection

“Iconik's ability to present storage from various geographical locations enables us to establish a unified ‘viewing portal’ for all our footage,” says Eric. “Our local and overseas producers can now access different cloud buckets and ISGs as if they were in the same place, which hugely enhances collaboration across our team.” 

For example, Iconik’s notifications, sharing capabilities, and tagging features have fostered a more efficient environment for team interaction. “In our fast-paced news environment, precision in conveying information internally is crucial,” says Eric. “Iconik's capability to select specific video clips, compile them into collections, and share these collections, and notify colleagues ensures that they see precisely the content we intend, minimizing the risk of errors and miscommunications.” 

“The tagging feature is another great tool,” he continues. “We can easily alert team members to view video clips without relying on external messaging platforms like Slack or WhatsApp. This streamlines communication by keeping relevant discussions and content all within a dedicated platform.”

Working smarter with AI

Iconik’s AI-powered transcriptions and other automation features have also notably increased productivity at LHZB's video editing team, saving valuable time.

“Iconik's AI-powered transcriptions have been integrated extensively into our post-production processes,” Eric explains. “The transcription engine smoothly fits into our workflows, allowing producers to review footage and generate transcriptions within the same MAM environment. The user-friendly interface, multilingual transcription capability, and the option to download transcriptions further contribute to the efficiency of our workflows.”

A pricing model that saves on cost

Finally, Iconik's pricing model proved to be cost-effective. The absence of substantial initial investments and the availability of a scalable, pay-as-you-go pricing structure, where charges apply only to active users, made the platform a wise option for Eric's team in ensuring long-term cost savings.

“Iconik's pricing model does give relief on our budget and financial planning for media management,” he explains. “With the ability to scale up or down on our usage of Iconik as and when needed, we have the increased flexibility that will be crucial when it comes to ad hoc assignments with a short lead time. There is no permanent commitment to a fixed number of users, so we can adapt and flex.”

At a publisher where media cycles are rapidly evolving, workflows that keep teams connected with their media are vital. For Eric and his team, Iconik has not only streamlined their onboarding process and enhanced collaboration but also significantly boosted asset accessibility – which means the ability to create more engaging content, faster.

In Eric’s words, adopting Iconik “represents significant progress” at LHZB's videography and editing team, marking a pivotal step in their journey to efficiently managing media assets effectively in an ever-changing landscape.

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