Case Studies

How Signiant Media Shuttle enables Janson Media to compete with companies many times their size

Janson Media was founded in 1989 by producer Stephen Janson as a boutique international television distributor with a curated collection of documentary films and classic Hollywood movie star biographies. Today, the family-owned New York-based company has grown to specialize in worldwide digital, television, and non-theatrical distribution, working directly with all major digital platforms including Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Twitch, and YouTube.

 

Jesse Janson, EVP Acquisitions & Development at Janson Media

“Day in, day out, we’re bringing content in from all over the world — Korea, Australia, Russia, France, Italy, Brazil, the US and Canada — processing it in-house, and monetizing it on the best platforms for that content,” says Jesse Janson, Executive Vice President for Acquisitions and Development, and the founder’s son.

With the help of its major-market high-bandwidth Internet connection and Signiant Media Shuttle, Janson’s inbound and outbound file transfer system now runs smoothly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But, like any small business with big ideas in the fast-changing media landscape, it wasn’t always so smooth.

About three years ago, the company was at a crossroads, on the cusp of a major growth curve yet still reliant on FTP to transfer media files. With global delivery of large file transfers becoming increasingly central to their business model, FTP’s poor speed, reliability and security began to threaten Janson’s ability to capitalize on new ventures and potentially lucrative business opportunities.

After evaluating both Aspera and Signiant accelerated file transfer solutions, Janson chose Media Shuttle to handle all of their file transfers inbound from their partners around the world and outbound to their Amazon S3 archive. This case study provides a brief overview of why Media Shuttle fit Janson’s needs so well, and how they have successfully used it to drive their phenomenal business growth.

 

The technical challenge of large-file, long-distance transfers

“At one point, content arriving from our partners around the world started rapidly increasing, and our FTP transfers were either running too slowly or failing outright. We were also becoming more concerned with security issues,“ says Janson.

With partners as far away as Russia and Korea attempting to deliver multiple drama series, often with upwards of 30 hours of content per season, FTP was failing. The latency of longer-distance transfers using FTP makes large file transfers untenable, taking many hours or even days.

Additionally, FTP’s extended transmission process for large files increases the chances of Internet disconnections or other kinds of interruption. Once interrupted, FTP file transfers often must restart from the beginning.

“Transfer failures became a huge problem with FTP,” says Janson. “We regularly had 100GB files fail 80% of the way through to completion. It became a major issue with our partners from places like Seoul and Moscow.”

 

Aspera vs. Signiant

Like many small businesses working with larger partners, the Janson Media team had experienced advanced alternatives to FTP, including products by Aspera and Signiant. With core acceleration technology necessary for reducing latency and capitalizing on available bandwidth — while providing enterprise-grade security and the capacity to automatically restart interrupted transfers from the point of failure — both companies’ have solutions capable of addressing Janson Media’s need to quickly and reliably receive even the largest content packages from partners far away.

“We knew we wanted either Signiant or Aspera. At the time, it really came down to pricing. [Signiant] Media Shuttle’s entry-level package was significantly better than Aspera’s, which enabled us to start small, test the waters, and see if the solution would be the right fit for us, without spending too much right off the bat,” says Janson. “Plus, Signiant was really easy to work with and took the time to understand our business.”

Media Shuttle is delivered through Signiant’s pioneering cloud-native SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform, allowing the solution to scale to the needs and budgets of the largest and smallest businesses, and also accommodate the fluctuating data demands and complex global workflows common across Media & Entertainment.

“Media Shuttle immediately helped. It kept our workflow and delivery process smooth and reliable, and enabled us to re-focus on growing our business,” says Janson.

 

How Janson uses Media Shuttle

Janson Media started with a standard Media Shuttle package, which accommodates 15 active users and an unlimited number of portals. “We started small and, as we’ve grown, we’ve just increased our Media Shuttle users and our Amazon storage. Now we are able to compete effectively with companies many times larger than we are.”

With three portal modes to choose from — Send, Share and Submit — and the ability to back up each portal with either on-premises or cloud (Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure) storage, Media Shuttle can easily be set up to accommodate different workflows, clients, projects or teams.

Janson has one portal where partners can deliver directly to their local servers, and they also use Media Shuttle Send for one off large file transfers, but the majority of their Media Shuttle workflows are backed by Amazon S3 storage, such as:

  1. Receiving regular content from partners: For partners that send new films or TV series on a regular basis, Janson provides continuous Media Shuttle access and allocates a dedicated S3 bucket, allowing them to securely upload content whenever it is ready.
  2. Sending content to a client: When sending to licensees, there is often a mixed bag of content. For example, if Janson is servicing a TV license deal in Australia for a package of ten films, they put all ten of those in a customized folder and give that client access to download the flies within a time window.
  3. Cloud ingest/S3 back up: Janson regularly uses Media Shuttle’s intuitive web interface as a cloud ingest portal to Amazon S3, which provides the company with a secure, secondary back up and archive for their content.

“For us, rather than trying to use the AWS interface for uploading to our Amazon S3 storage,” says Janson, “it’s easier, faster and more stable to upload a bundle of large files using Media Shuttle.”

 

Summary

Over the past three years, Janson Media has come to rely on Media Shuttle to enable the most central function of their business as a global content aggregator and distributor — fast and secure large file transfers no matter the distance. Media Shuttle had a starting price point that allowed Janson to try the solution, experience its benefits and grow along with their Media Shuttle investment.

Today, all the stress and worry over slow and failed file transfers is a distant memory. Instead, they have other challenges, the better kind, the kind that come along with a growing business putting their expertise and energy into acquiring new partners and distribution opportunities.