Distribution methods

Distribution of a multimedia project should have been one of the very first matters considered during the initial concept stages. The matters of distribution can have some very simple as well as complicated reasons for choosing one method over another. There are many contributing factors to determine the right delivery method:

  • Target user group
  • Client’s wishes and expectations
  • Product’s limits and limitations
  • Interactivity
  • Expertise

So far, common forms of distribution are:

Optical discs

CD-ROMs, DVDs, etcetera…


a high speed internal network


a mass distribution medium

Hardware or embedded application

embedded devices that are not normally associated with computer interfaces, i.e. organisers, kiosks, mobile phones, and etcetera.

Traditional distribution models

Traditionally companies that make consumer goods that are purchased in retail stores, sell their products to a wholesaler, which in turn sells to the retailers.traditional distribution models

Alternative distribution models

Given the highly competitive nature of the consumer multimedia market and the difficulty of obtaining retail shelf space, several other models are being used. alternative distribution models

Intranet versus Internet delivery

Intranets are secure, 10 to 100 times faster than an average internet connection, only require 1 copy to serve many users, and the quality is very high (presentations and corporate events can be telecast throughout the organisation).

Some examples utilizing an intranet delivery include corporate orientations, Computer Based Learning (CBL), presentations broadcasting, video conferencing, internal video services (VOD), and interactive information systems (customer information stations and POS systems).self-service checkout

Unlike an intranet, internet connection speeds will vary based on the type of connection as well as geographic location. Using the web as your delivery platform has a lot of advantages, but also requires meeting a lot of parameters and compromises. The benefits are: a potentially global audience, purchasing is easily carried out, product support can be facilitated with patches and updates, and product evaluation is also possible with demo versions of the product to try before you buy.

Some applications use the internet as a delivery platform. For example, streaming media in real time, Flash, and Java web-related applications, all rely on a constant internet connection.

Although there are many methods for delivering web multimedia, we recommend using stable technology that works for the great majority of client machines. You risk losing your audience if they have to jump through hoops to access your content.


Content management

Content management is a system of organizing the delivery, storage and access rights of all the media components of an internet or intranet delivery system.
content management
By the system administrator or broadcast administrator, content management is used to set-up and manage scheduled content or on-demand programs, channels, recordings, and file transfers among various media servers. This can include the setting up of group profiles or individual profiles, in other words allowing only certain groups or individuals to view certain media.

Embedded devices

Typically these devices have no keyboard or limited input capabilities, and somewhat limited display capabilities and data storage. They are usually dedicated to performing certain functions or tasks only, and include mobile devices (personal organisers and mobile phones), home devices (appliances, home automation systems, home theatre systems, home security), automotive (GPS, in-car entertainment systems), and industry systems (information kiosks, ATMs, and cash registers).

iPhoneDue to advancements in computer memory and CPU miniaturization, devices now have the capabilities to provide levels of interactivity and intelligence previously unheard of. We are also seeing not only the breakdown of input and output limitations, but also a merge of delivery methods, in devices such as the iPhone.

Embedded devices traditionally perform dedicated functions, and are designed with a specific embedded software application. The end user cannot modify such closed systems. We see embedded systems everywhere – at the cash registers, in industrial controllers, at home in our digital set top box. They are usually simple to use, sturdy, fast and reliable. Unfortunately updates or upgrades contribute to the problems of a throw-away society and are costly in both time and money. Hence the reason developers attempt to future-proof systems as much as possible.

The choices of delivery methods to best deliver products are constantly increasing. Choosing the right method is not always your choice. The best safe guard is to know right from the conceptual stage, what delivery method(s) you and your team will be designing for.