The importance of identifying the best Cloud architecture
Massive volumes of data consumed through multiple devices have forced the media industry to revisit how they manage content. Personalization is the expectation now and at all times. It has given birth to many operational challenges compelling media companies to transition from traditional broadcasting to a digital distribution model. Cloud solutions play a critical role here, helping the industry build a robust ecosystem to manage everything from data creation to consumption while ensuring flawless user experiences.
TVU Networks has witnessed a whopping 243 percent increase in SaaS use in 2021 compared to 2020 due to the rapid adoption of cloud-based and remote workflows. As per a joint report1, ‘The show goes on in the cloud’ by PwC and Microsoft, production delays and the under-delivery of episodic content lead to over $3.5 billion in lost ad revenue for broadcasters and underlines the severe impact it could have on the industry.
While a lot of groundwork remains to be done, Media and Entertainment (M&E) businesses that were once hesitant to embrace emerging technologies are now eager for a digital transformation. The pandemic has already thrown them a curve making them realize the importance of moving away from legacy production systems towards a more dependable cloud infrastructure to stay afloat in a socially distant environment.
Media & Entertainment companies are now transitioning with Intelligent cloud transformation
Entertainment companies are doing everything in their power to deliver content the way their consumers want. While media segments like video games and streaming enjoyed good returns during the pandemic, others have suffered.
M&E companies are now transitioning from big screens to bite-sized content, breaking free of the limitations of legacy production systems. The conversation is now around technologies that can demonstrate greater value and ROI.
Intelligent cloud transformation has emerged as the Holy Grail for M&E companies while they attempt to accelerate innovation and increase revenue. The focus is now to automate routine tasks, explore digital delivery chains to augment revenue, and harness technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create content libraries.
The cloud in media has emerged as a viable solution to reach out to consumers and monitor how consumers engage with the content. Jennifer Cooper, Global Head of Media and Communications Industry Strategy & Solutions, Microsoft2, points out, “The disruption created by COVID-19 has agitated the industry into accelerating innovation and digital transformation in areas that were previously only in planning stages of cloud migration. The stage is set for an industry-wide metamorphosis.”
Why is IT modernization a top priority today?
Online video consumption has grown considerably, with viewers resorting to smartphones and tablet PCs for their entertainment needs. Today, everything from animation and visual effects to high-definition videos and high-resolution audio creates colossal data that can be overwhelming for legacy IT architectures.
Some of the top challenges companies are currently facing include:
Evolving expectations of consumers – The discerning consumers now expect greater flexibility and choices from an industry that is already having a hard time dealing with the dips and spikes in viewership. It has become crucial for M&E companies to deliver content across a wide range of channels and formats. Cloud computing is now inevitable for companies to manage their volatile demand. Those like the Walt Disney Company quickly shifted to the cloud to digitally transform their content production, media supply chain, streaming, and data analytics process. They also built up a virtual studio to collaborate with artists across the globe.
Faster time to market – M&E companies have understood the only way to stay competitive is to produce and distribute original content in an agile but cost-effective manner. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) models like OTT streaming and subscription-based services are on the rise raising the US household average to nine paid subscriptions across music, videos, and gaming. Cloud deployments are the smart choice since they allow M&E companies to store, manage, and deliver content digitally and shift workloads seamlessly across public and private infrastructures.
Rising costs – Low-cost OTT (over the top) companies that cater to consumers directly via the Internet have struck a blow to the bottom lines of traditional M&E companies. These highly cost-sensitive times aim to unlock trapped value and cost efficiencies by moving away from legacy silos and inefficient workflows. These companies are now turning to cloud computing to minimize sunk costs associated with content storage and delivery.
High streaming performance – Even a six-second delay in streaming an ad can cost M&E companies a lot of money. Thanks to the growing number of subscription-based services that allow ad-free viewing, it has become highly challenging to grab and hold viewer attention. As these companies ensure minimal delays and downtime, the cloud enables architectures that support high performance and availability. The intense competition in the streaming space has led to several mergers, with the latest duo to seal a deal being WarnerMedia and Discovery.
A remote workforce – When businesses went into survival mode during the pandemic, they had the additional stress of managing a remote workforce. In an attempt to rise above the unprecedented volatility, ViacomCBS5 came up with a unique hybrid work model for its employees to enable them to spend some of their workweek time at home. The rationale was to cater to customers and take care of the employees. ViacomCBS created a cloud-based hub to automate workflows, lower costs, and optimize delivery over any distribution channel. M&E companies have been deploying cloud solutions to keep the business running via cloud-based telephony, messaging, and conferencing.
Enhancing capabilities with cloud
Despite the initial apprehensions of getting on to the cloud, forward-thinking companies like Netflix are now comfortably using the cloud to enhance their capabilities. The cloud infrastructure helps broadcasters adjust their sails as they work towards post-COVID norms. Apart from providing a single platform for all applications to broadcasters and M&E companies, it also enables greater operational efficiency and integration.
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If you are still unsure about having cloud architecture, we give you a quick lowdown on its numerous benefits.
Scalability to manage complex needs
To deliver content to any device at varying connection speeds, M&E companies need to format multiple video files with streamlined workflows that encode, transcode, and securely store content. The complicated workflows call for excellent scalability. Legacy applications are incapable of handling them since they are resource and labor-intensive which leads to high maintenance costs. On-premises streaming does not offer the required computing capacity and bandwidth to deliver content seamlessly.
On the other hand, cloud infrastructures empower companies to host rendered files for delivery. Since cloud servers are present worldwide, content is delivered via the closest hub, minimizing streaming latency. Cloud infrastructure also proves to be cost-effective since companies can simply add more cloud resources to scale up services rather than purchasing anything upfront.
Sony Pictures Imageworks is a classic case that turned to Google Cloud Platform to enhance its capabilities and augment its infrastructure. Steve Kowalski, VP of Systems Engineering for Sony Pictures Imageworks6, explains, “In the past, we had to expand our on-premises infrastructure to support those peak periods. We’d try to rent 10,000 or 20,000 extra computer graphics rendering machines to get us through 10 to 15 weeks a year of peak production activity. We’d need extra graphics workstations for the 150 or more artists we added during peak periods. But the companies that rent the equipment typically want much longer time commitments.”
Greater control through data management
Every M&E company needs to understand the complex behaviors of its audiences. The smart ones resort to cloud computing to ingest and manage big data and get insights to drive audience engagement and loyalty. This large volume of data, both structured and unstructured, helps companies optimize supply chains, monetize content, and improve user experiences.
The cloud offers scalability to on-demand data analytic tools to extract and transform data required to make data-driven decisions. With millions of active users in several countries, Spotify has managed to grow its number of subscribers by 29% in a year by embracing the cloud. It can now iterate quickly based on data insights by moving its 1200 online services, data processing DAGs (direct acyclic graphs), and 20,000 daily job executions to the cloud.
Ensure security and compliance at all times
In addition to customer data, M&E companies need to safeguard digital content from piracy. We read about cloud security breaches frequently, but these breaches often occur due to companies’ flawed policies and technologies.
Instead of doubting the potential of the cloud in providing a safe infrastructure, M&E companies must invest time and effort in finding the right service provider to minimize the attack footprint. Security breaches are often the result of errors in configuration and unpatched vulnerabilities and can be easily avoided by choosing the right service provider.
CineSend, a provider of secure video storage, encoding, and delivery solutions, has scaled to deliver cutting-edge video experiences and support its customers with cloud adoption. Its scalable cloud-native solution has empowered it to attain 1,000% video streaming business growth in 2020. Most importantly, it has built a secure video streaming platform that allows it to encrypt customer data at rest while letting customers host their events remotely.
Embrace cloud technology with Trigent
As a trusted partner for several industries, including the M&E, we can transform your business by enabling faster content delivery and greater engagement. Our services will empower you with insights to ensure quick decision-making and enhanced operational efficiency.