Overview

Why was MediaPoint created?

MediaPoint is a solution to securely and effortlessly share content across the sector. A provider can drop audio, video, documents or any file into a folder on their computer, and within minutes it will be copied to a folder on the computer of anyone who has subscribed to that content.

All this content is stored and transfered in a secure manner and is only available to other CMA members (and can even be further restricted for 'private transfers' if required). There is also an option to publish a feed publicly as a podcast.

To gain access to the best content in the sector, login now using your christianmedia.org.au username.

If you are not registered, click here (Your organisation needs to be a financial member of CMA to use MediaPoint, click here for more information).

What is the 'Grab' page for?

This is the area of MediaPoint where you can find useful content, preview it, subscribe to it, organise when you want your episodes delivered and choose whether you want email "heads up" advice when new content is available.

If you haven't already, you need to download a small utility called MediaPointer that runs in the background and quietly handles all the uploading and downloading of episodes.

What is the 'Share' page for?

This is where you manage content that you are sharing with others.

The actual content items themselves will be automatically uploaded by the MediaPointer utility that you have previously installed, however that process is driven from here.

Once you have created a feed here, files that are deposited in your appropriate upload directory will uploaded as episodes. See the rest of the FAQ for more detail.

Most importantly, this is the place where you add tags to your feed ... so others can find it. Don't be shy! Add as many words as you can think of to describe the feed. The more words you use, the more chance that someone who is interested in the sort of content that you are sharing will find it.

You can also nominate to provide your feed as a podcast. Be careful, as the podcast will be publicly available and must therefore conform to associated copyright requirements.

Why do I need to download 'MediaPointer', and what does it do?

The MediaPoint website is the interactive side of the MediaPoint system, where you can find useful content, preview it, subscribe to it, organise when you want your episodes delivered and choose whether you want email "heads up" advice when new content is available. This is also where you manage content that you are sharing with others, setting tags for others to find your content on, and deciding if you want your content to also be available as a public podcast.

However, all the real work is actually done by a small utility called MediaPointer that you need to download and run. This only needs to be done once, and from then on MediaPointer runs in the background and quietly handles all the uploading and downloading of episodes.

Episodes from feeds that you have subscribed to will be downloaded and will "appear" in a directory of your choice. In order to provide and share content with others, you simply deposit files in a nominated directory, and they will be detected and uploaded.

How do I get MediaPointer up and running?

Go to the Tools menu (above) and download the MediaPointer installation file available there.

Run the downloaded file (MediaPointerSetup.exe) to install MediaPointer. After installation, the MediaPointer application should be available to run via your Start menu.

What is your Support Policy?

MediaPoint Support Policy

About Media Point

Media Point is a free "value add" service exclusively for Christian Media Australia members.

Christian Media Australia has built, provided and maintains the infrastructure for Media Point. Improvements are often made as a result of member's feedback.

Christian Media Australia is not responsible for the creation of any content on Media Point – it is simply a great way for members to share audio, video, artwork , ideas, documents, software files, and anything else they feel may help others. It is really a digital library where you can deposit and withdraw at any time!

Media Point can also be used on a "subscription only" basis where members control who has access to their content.

What to do if you experience problems

Problems can occur anywhere along the 'path' that Media Point follows, which could include the infrastructure of;

  • The member sharing their content, or their internet service provider

  • Christian Media Australia (Media Point), or their internet service provider

  • The member receiving the content, or their internet service provider

    Christian Media Australia is always happy to rectify problems where Media Point is not functioning properly, and will do so as quickly as possible. However, this support is limited to our part in the process (including the Media Point software), but does not extend to individual members infrastructure or that of their internet service providers, etc.

    If you do experience problems, our first response will always be to refer you to a check list and/or the FAQ section of our website. We have found that most members have been able to identify and resolve most problems quickly and easily by using this process.

    If further intervention is required, Christian Media Australia has access to extensive IT experience and can assist in resolving faults that lie with a member's IT infrastructure, however this will incur a fee of $55. If the problem is not a "simple fix" then an estimated quote will be supplied before going any further.

  • Grabbing Content

    What if I'm not sure what I'm looking for, or if I just want to see everything that's available?

    Mostly we've tried to catch your attention by highlighting the newest and most popular content that is available and providing a list of just the most common and popular tags to search on.

    Sometimes though, it's better just to be able to "see" everything.

    There are two ways to do this ... "Show All Feeds" will return a list of every feed in the system, you can use the navigation controls at the bottom of the result grid to quickly get to a particular area of interest ... "Show All Tags" provides an alternative, by showing you every word that every provider has used to describe their content.

    I am worried about excessive bandwidth use on my internet connection. How does MediaPoint help?

    MediaPoint helps two ways : what and when.

    Whenever a (large) WAV file is provided as content, high quality but smaller MP3 copy of it is created. When you subscribe to a feed you can choose to be sent the large WAV or the smaller MP3.

    Many ISPs provide 'off peak' bandwidth that you can utilize. When you subscribe to a feed you can choose the 'overnight' option and your content will be sent to you around 2am.

    I think I have set up MediaPointer properly, but I can't see my episodes?

    When you first run the local MediaPointer utility, you are prompted to nominate a “transfer folder” – this is the departures/arrivals gate for the episodes that you send and receive. In this folder, MediaPointer creates Uploads and Downloads folders. In the Uploads folder, folders are created corresponding to each of your feeds. In the Downloads folder, folders are created corresponding to each feed that you have subscribed to.

    When a new episode is released on a feed that you have subscribed to, the file will be placed in the appropriate feed folder under Downloads.

    Do we need to manage our subscriptions with just the one login, or can other members of our team log in using their details and subscribe?

    Subscriptions are for the organisation, not the user - so anyone in the organisation can subscribe.

    If anyone can subscribe to a feed, who gets the email alert ... them or the "main" address?

    Email advice is for the user, not the organisation - so whoever subscribes gets the email.

    Sharing Content

    Is there a cost, for the program provider or for the radio station, for Mediapoint?

    MediaPoint is heavily subsidized as a member service, and as such is free to members – both program providers and stations.

    How are the programs downloaded or made available? In what format?

    MediaPoint is actually a file transfer service, optimised for audio. Any file provided is copied to subscribers – whether it is an MP3 or a DOC, PDF or JPG. A content provider can drop audio, video, documents or any file into a folder on their computer, and within minutes it will be copied to a folder on the computer of anyone who has subscribed to that content, anywhere in the world! This occurs via the one-time installation of the MediaPointer utility once at each location.

    What security is involved? Currently we offer several programs, and stations are only able to access the programs they choose to air, so they don’t have access to all of our available programming. Would this still be the case with Mediapoint?

    Absolutely. All material is stored behind password protected FTP access. This access is managed by MediaPoint via encrypted HTTP access. All created feeds have an access list that you can manage – if left blank this gives open access, otherwise access is restricted to those you nominate.

    Is there a way of tracking our programs and who downloads them, etc?

    The area where you manage your feeds also shows you who has subscribed to each feed and is receiving that content.

    Is MediaPoint similar to an RSS feed?

    Yes and no. A RSS feed is typically viewed in a feed viewer which can either be embedded in your browser or run as a separate application which looks similar to an email client. You typically receive an article summary or teaser with a link to open the full article web page. Podcasting takes an RSS feed an embeds information allowing an application like iTunes to be notified of new content and download the resulting audio. MediaPoint is similar in function, however podcasts are low bitrate MP3 and MediaPoint allows high quality audio transmission. MediaPoint actually has a podcast option – if selected, your feed can (also) be made publicly accessible via your website – a low bitrate version of your content is published via this service.

    Stations have to sign an agreement as part of the registration process to download our programs. Would this be possible with Mediapoint?

    You could certainly maintain your existing agreement process if your wish, and only enable access via MediaPoint once they have signed. We could look at including something similar within the system if there was enough demand for it.

    How can you ensure that all Christian stations have access to it, or will have access to it?

    MediaPoint is free for all member stations. The subsidy involved to allow this is squarely aimed at making CMA irresistibly attractive to all Christian stations. Our uptake is already good, but we are aiming at 100%. A lot of promotion of MediaPoint will occur with those remaining non-members.

    Our programs air on both Christian and non-Christian stations. For the non-Christian ones, could they access Mediapoint as well?

    Down the track we are looking at providing MediaPoint as a paid service for non-Christian, non-member stations (commercial stations etc). Furthermore, we have received some funding which will allow us to make MediaPoint available to community (CBAA) stations carrying Christian content for their first year for free. After that they will need to join CMA as members.

    Do we have any control over what’s put on the site, how long it stays available for, who can download it, etc?

    Absolutely. You manage your own feeds. Each feed can have it’s own restricted access list. Only episodes that you (or your agent) provide are made available via the feed. Each episode can be date restricted with an expiry date or an available date range (allowing content to be pre-released – whereby it is not transferred to subscribers until the nominated start date).

    How do I restrict the dates that an episode is available for?

    Restricting availability to certain dates is straightforward and is done with a file naming convention.

    Dates must be in yyyy-mm-dd format, and you can specify enddate.rest-of-filename or startdate.enddate.rest-of-filename

    The file 2008-07-01.onedate.txt will be available until 2008-07-01, and the downloaded filename will be onedate.txt

    The file 2008-07-01.2008-08-01.twodates.txt will be available from 2008-07-01 to 2008-08-01, and the downloaded filename will be twodates.txt

    What if I want episodes to become available on a future date, and then to remain available?

    If you want a startdate but no enddate, then something like 2008-07-01.2999-01-01.noenddate.txt should work. This episode would become available on the 1st of July.

    I've downloaded MediaPointer and set up feeds, but cannot see how to upload the files to the site?

    When you first run the local MediaPointer utility, you are prompted to nominate a “transfer folder” – this is the departures/arrivals gate for the episodes that you send and receive. In this folder, MediaPointer creates Uploads and Downloads folders. In the Uploads folder, folders are created corresponding to each of your feeds. In the Downloads folder, folders are created corresponding to each feed that you have subscribed to.

    To add episodes to one of your feeds, simply drop files into the feed folder under Uploads.

    Do we need to leave MediaPointer running?

    Absolutely! MediaPointer needs to be running, but can sit quietly in the background.

    There is an option on the Config menu to "Run at startup" that you should tick and save, then you can minimise the application and leave it going in the background.

    Supplying Music

    I've just uploaded some songs - is there a way to give the artist bio/contact details to mediapoint users?

    The easiest is to supply a bio file on the same feed as the music. So if you have "Delta Goodrem - Danny Boy.mp3", you would also upload "Delta Goodrem - Danny Boy - bio.pdf" or similar. It can be pdf, doc, txt or whatever suits.

    There is no particular syntax to the naming of any extra material, but if it starts the same as the audio filename it will appear next to it in folder listings.

    Podcasting

    I don't really understand podcasting, is it easy?

    Absolutely! You don't NEED to understand it - MediaPoint does all the heavy lifting for you. It is a simple 4 step process:

    1. Install MediaPointer on any PC on your network.

    2. Create a feed on MediaPoint, mark it as a podcast.

    3. Copy the supplied podcast link to your website.

    4. Drop a file into the feed folder on your local PC.

    Isn't podcast audio normally a compressed ‘speech’ quality, and do I need to worry about this?

    Yes and no! Once again, MediaPoint sorts it all out for you, and the audio that is podcast will be at a suitable compressed ‘speech’ quality, no matter what you upload. That said, there are two factors to think about. Podcasting is an additional option, so if the same audio is also being used by stations at broadcast quality, then upload at broadcast quality. If the only destination is the podcast, then it will save on your bandwidth to upload smaller files.

    MediaPoint does podcasting, can it also supply audio on demand for my website?

    Absolutely! All you need to do is (for security) select the podcast option for your feed, then get your website guy to "include" a call to
    http://mediapoint.org.au/audioondemand/{organisation_name}/{feed_name}
    when the page where the episodes should be displayed is constructed. This can be done in PHP, CF, ASP or whatever server script language your website uses.

    So for example, in PHP, the following line of code would work:

        $ch = curl_init("http://mediapoint.org.au/audioondemand/vision_radio_network/missions_news"); curl_exec($ch);

    This just inserts a table on your web page that inherits the formatting of the rest of the page. The table has its own class, so you can use normal CSS to further customize the look if you wish.