The media and entertainment (M&E) sector has resisted implementing cloud-based broadcast infrastructure for many years. But as a result of disruption in the M&E sector, developments in digital technology, and shifting consumer preferences, opposition has finally reached a breaking point, and the migration to the cloud has officially started.
The cloud requirement
Prior to COVID-19, the M&E industry advanced the cloud-capable migration of key broadcast, post-production, media management, and distribution technologies, addressing many of its long-held complaints of cloud platforms. The pandemic, however, strengthened industry incentives to put aside remaining concerns about cost, control, and security and embrace cloud broadcast workflow and operations as a financial need by forcing M&E businesses to produce and distribute programming remotely.
A return to pre-cloud “business as usual” is highly unlikely as a result of broadcasters’ rapid adoption of remote production and cloud-based video distribution, which helped to decisively establish this most recent technological trend in the M&E sector.
Industry disruption in the M&E sector
The already dynamic M&E sector is being disrupted by a number of phenomena, including changing consumer viewing patterns, new content and distribution requirements, digital technology innovations, increased competition, and COVID-19-related complications.
Cloud and XaaS: A cost-effective, adaptable solution
Adopting a combination of cloud-based computing platforms and everything-as-a-service (XaaS) models is one of the expanding M&E technology trends, which provides M&E businesses with an economical answer to their technology investment quandary. Because they provide a variety of essential capabilities, increasingly reliable cloud and XaaS solutions have been able to reduce traditional industries’ reluctance to the cloud:
Control: Broadcast engineers and media professionals have more direct control over operations thanks to on-premises, outsourced, public, and hybrid cloud models, which preserve the adaptability and cost-sensitivity of any application or data set.
Security: Companies and cloud providers are now both acknowledged as sharing responsibility for cloud security. To keep one step ahead of determined cyberattackers, both businesses diligently manage and monitor cloud systems. According to Exabeam, nearly half (44%) of enterprises are now employing cloud-based security technologies to protect their data in an effort to reduce risk, up from just 12% of companies doing so in 2019.
industry expertise M&E decision-makers and influencers place a premium on choosing providers with experience in the M&E sector and tested technology. Some cloud service providers extensively attracted top media technology vendors to their cloud platform after realising this tendency.
Reduced latency Studios’ worries about moving times for their massive file-based assets are addressed by faster and more secure ingest portals; in the near future, direct camera-to-cloud acquisition offers faster speeds, even while on location. Broadcast distribution strategies utilise thorough design considerations and are purposefully created for linear and nonlinear multiplatform targets (including live broadcasts).
Convenience and assurance: Prominent cloud service providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Sony are among the biggest, most financially secure, operationally strict, technologically advanced, and highly secure business partners in existence and are fully capable of upholding strict service-level agreements (SLAs).
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Thinking about the broadcast cloud
What would the capabilities and operations of a broadcast cloud look like? The input, management, transformation, and packaging of broadcast content for linear and nonlinear delivery are handled by basic broadcast media asset management (MAM) operations.
taking use of fourth-generation broadcasting opportunities
There are several signs that the time is now to switch to a fourth-generation broadcasting infrastructure based in the cloud:
Acquisitions of firms: As part of a bigger, enterprise-wide digital transformation, recently combined businesses that are facing technical or application incompatibility may choose to move to the cloud.
Contract renewals: Businesses can evaluate how services and solutions are currently deployed and examine the potential advantages of switching to a more cost-effective cloud-based solution thanks to routine contract renewals with private data centres, hardware providers, and software suppliers.
Upgrades or the end of a product’s life cycle: It is best for a company to think about other possibilities and decommission outdated hardware or licences during vendor end-of-life events in order to cut expenses and minimise security threats. Businesses updating their applications can find that switching to the cloud is less expensive and more advantageous.
talent for broadcast engineering is rare or retiring: Another sign that it could be time to move to the cloud is an ageing workforce. Technology from the past or traditional demands highly specific knowledge. The majority of persons with those skills are close to retiring, and replacements are hard to find. The transition to agile software processes and cloud-based media systems is forcing a significant reskilling of the broadcast engineering and studio IT professions.
Now is the time to make the change
M&E firms should be able to proceed with confidence as they start their path toward a fourth-generation broadcasting infrastructure. Customers, solution providers, and media standards bodies are expected to cooperate as industry adoption quickens in order to resolve any synchronisation, timing, and interoperability issues that may develop as they pursue the shared objective of giving seasoned broadcast organisations new service and revenue opportunities.