Case Study M6

Name of referent: M6 Group
Project execution location: Paris, France
Scope of the project: Ingest, MAM, Playout and Archive


M6 also known as Metropole television, is the most profitable private national French TV channel and the third most watched television network in the French-speaking world.

M6 is the head channel of the M6 group media empire that owns several TV channels, including W9, 6ter, Paris première, and Teva. The group is also present in the areas of mobile telephony, Internet Sales, football, film and the press...
M6 Group is a 48.65% -owned subsidiary of RTL Group, itself audio-visual subsidiary of the German media group Bertelsmann. 7.24% are held by the Luxembourg company CNP (Albert Frère).

The M6 Group manages 12 channels, all automated by MBT systems from ingest to playout. M6 launched on 1 March 1987 at 11:15 am CET taking the place of TV6.




The goal of the project was to modernise and to mutualise the technical means for ingest, archiving (MAM) and playout of the media for all the channels of the groupe M6 (12 channels).
Before modernising the master control rooms in 2008, the group used 3 different MCR’s. Now M6 only uses a single MCR to broadcast its 12 channels.

In 2008 the modernisation started with the ingest part in the so called “laboratory”. The ingest was realised by the automatic digitising of all the programs supplied on tape. Particular attention was given to the management of the video and audio formats in order to have a coherent (SD and HD) playout and easier use of new audio and video formats for a fully automated and highly secure playout.

To this tape ingest system, file ingest was added. Initially with short files, today with all of its programs. Therefore several import workflows were implemented progressively in the laboratory following the evolution of the M6 needs inspired by the new technology on the market.

All the media being digitised, the next step was to manage the archive by putting in place an interface with DIVA from the company Front Porch (Oracle). MBT takes care of the management and the monitoring of all the file movements between the different servers (Ingest server, Storage Near Online, Video server, Archive servers).

The automation of the ingest and of the file movements combined with a new mutualised master control room based on MBT’s Phoenix playout automation system allowed a better organisation of the programs, an easier use of new audio and video formats for a completely automatic and highly secured playout of the 12 channels of M6.

In the master control room, besides the automation of the playout, MBT has also made available the Phoenix Alert supervise application. On the client interface you have a time line view of each channel that you wish to monitor including configurable visual and sound alerts. For the management of the graphics, MBT installed the Liberty suite which among other controls the HDVG from Orad (Avid) for On Air rendering.

The master control room was designed and built as a true multimedia platform with all the necessary tools that address both the linear broadcast channels as VOD and second screens.

Using the workflow management system, Sphere Service Manager (Labcast for M6), an extension of MBT’s DMAM system Sphere, all the media for VOD, Catch-Up TV and Second Screen are produced. Every month 20.000 files are compressed for all the channels of the group and sent to the replay platforms, smartphones and pads. Each of these assets are accessible through the low resolution video and their metadata. The Sphere Service Manager allows to use transcoding resources intelligently and so to produce a maximum of content in record time. Automated processes help to improve management of transfers and purges of the different storages. MBT is now integrating the management of automated graphics for second screens.
It is M6web who manages the publication to the different platforms. M6web orders the Sphere Service Manager to transcode, automatically edit, add graphics, and watermark the videos for a particular purpose. In the back, the interface controls several devices, like transcoders (ProXchange, Rhozet, StreamZ and Inlet), watermarking devices etc... The videos are then automatically delivered with their metadata to 15 different destinations.

The MBT workflow management system manages for M6 over 600.000 video files.

In 2013, the M6 group chooses the MAM "SPHERE" of MBT for the management of all its media. Sphere allows the group to administer all its media with more flexibility and to improve the productivity of the services in charge of indexing and verification of the media.

With Sphere, M6 carries out all media management tasks. The flexibility of the data model and the rich search functions are a major advantage of the solution. Today MBT is even improving its solution by integrating features from Elasticsearch. Precise indexing of media offers better control over the multimedia assets for the M6 Group.

Moreover, the Sphere client allows a technical and editorial verification of the media so they can be serenely published and distributed. This module integrates the control of video servers for the visualization of the programs. The powerful ergonomic user interface of Sphere offers a lot of working comfort appreciated by the operators.

Sphere fits perfectly into the existing workflow and enriches the automation of processes thanks to the Workflow Manager.  This MBT workflow engine orchestrates the entire media management for the playout of all channels of the M6 Group.

Since 2008, the expertise of MBT has been proven on all aspects of industrialization of the workflows of the M6 Group and is therefore involved in improving its audio-visual strategy.

Master Control Room of M6: 12 channels fully automated by MBT