The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Archive for February 2010

Occasionally I do some work for my day job at Intelligent Assistance!, where we’re actively adding to our metadata-based workflow tools. This time taking the speech transcription metadata from the adobe suite and making it accessible to producers who want text or Excel versions, or even into FCP with the transcription placed into colored markers (one color per speaker). With Transcriptize you can also name the speakers, something not possible in the Adobe tools.

Here’s my interview with Larry Jordan where we announced it and the press release is below.

“Announcing Transcriptize on the Digital Production BuZZ”

Transcriptize expands the usefulness of Adobe Speech Transcription

Take transcriptions from Adobe Production Bundle to Media Composer, Excel and Final Cut Pro.

Burbank, CA (February 12, 2010) – Intelligent Assistance, Inc has introduced a new software tool that takes Transcription XML from Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 or Soundbooth CS4 and converts it text, Excel Spreadsheet or Final Cut Pro clip markers.

“Late last year, Larry Jordan asked if we could create something to make the Adobe Speech Transcription more available”, says Intelligent Assistance’ CEO Philip Hodgetts. “We thought that was a great idea and Transcriptize is the result, less than two months later.”

Transcriptize imports the transcription XML from the Adobe Production Bundle and allows editors and producers to name the speakers – something not possible in the Production Bundle. From there users have the option to:

Export a plain text file, suitable for the needs of a producer or to import into Media Composer’s Script Sync engine.

Export an Excel spreadsheet with a variable number of words per row – Perfect for a producer.

Open the XML from a Final Cut Pro clip and add the transcription to Markers where:

There are a variable number of words per Marker (including one Marker per speaker)

The speaker name is placed in the Marker name

Transcription appears in the clip Marker comment

Marker colors are used to identify each speaker (FCP 7 onward).

The transcription can be searched within Final Cut Pro.

Markers can be easily subclipped based on transcription content.

Transcriptize is available now from MSRP is US$149 with an introductory offer of $99 until the end of February 2010. NFR versions for review are available, contact Philip Hodgetts, details below.

In a January article “Apple pushing TV Networks to slash prices on iTunes” and more recently “Apple to offer $1 TV shows in April” Business Insider/Silicon Alley Insider suggest Apple are pushing the price of programming through iTunes down, with the goal of selling “some shows” for 99c.

This is absolutely a step in reality’s direction but it still prices individual programs at well above the traditional income-per-viewer that networks have traditionally received, and way above what it would cost for an average viewer via a cable or satellite subscription.

At 99c, the content owner would get 65c per download as Apple take 35% and pays for the bandwidth (at about 10c a GB).

65c per viewer per show is right at the top end of what the big four networks have been able to command from advertising: per show, per viewer. (Even the Superbowl only gets 85c average per viewer per 3 hours show).  At the other end, the big four get a low of 25c per viewer per show.

But not all television is “big four” nor is it always worth the network premium. Take one of my favorite shows: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The best research I can find is that Comedy Central pays Stewart’s company about $5 million a year or $32,000 each for the 160 shows a year that are produced. The Daily Show has an audience of around 1.5 million viewers according to Wikipedia and other sources. Cost of production to Comedy Central is just about 2c per viewer.

Presumably Comedy Central are turning a profit between the 60c per subscriber per month they get from cable carriage and whatever advertising revenue is generated across the 5 or so showings of each episode.

And yet, through iTunes that show is currently $1.99 or 99c per episode if you buy a season pass for 20 episodes. (One of the few cases where a season pass gives significant savings). It’s still too much.

If Jon Stewart’s company sold direct through iTunes at, say, 10c an episode (because once watched it has little future rewatching value, unlike episodic drama or comedy) then gross revenue would be $150,000 per show or $97,500 after Apple’s cut. (Apple’s bandwidth cost would be around .6 of a cent in SD, or $8550 leaving Apple $43950 gross profit on the sales.)

On the other end of the equation, the content creator (Stewart) gets $97,500 or three times the income for the same show as working for Comedy Central brings.

So, while 99c TV shows are a step in the right direction there’s still a long way to go before Internet, on demand, video reaches fair price parity with traditional revenues. This is not an opportunity for the existing entrenched players to dramatically increase their margins: it will kill the nascent future.

February 2010
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