How cloud computing accelerates a competitive edge
M&E brands must embrace advanced technologies to supercharge their business growth opportunities and to stay afloat in today’s changing and competitive landscape.
How cloud computing accelerates a competitive edge
How cloud computing accelerates a competitive edge.
Ollion had the opportunity to gather with industry experts to discuss how M&E has evolved and how they are digitally evolving to adapt to new challenges. We identified how the COVID-19 crisis revealed gaps in digital systems and accelerated the need to modernize. Content and creativity will always be at the heart of M&E.
However, M&E brands must embrace advanced technologies to supercharge their business growth opportunities and to stay afloat in today’s changing and competitive landscape.
We are amidst a revolution in the media and entertainment industry. Patterns in digital content and media consumption have changed radically. With these new times, media and entertainment (M&E) companies are facing a reckoning to adapt and address these new challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic irrevocably altered a variety of areas in our lives. In the M&E industry, the pandemic upended what organizations thought they knew about consumer demand and behavior. All trends and tooling had to be expedited by five to ten years to keep up with the sudden changes forced by the COVID-19 crisis. To readjust to the uncertain circumstances, M&E organizations had to digitally transform their business processes in key areas such as production, distribution, and monetization. Digital transformation for M&E companies should not be seen as a short-term solution or response to an acute event. M&E brands must embrace digital transformation as a vital component of their long-term strategy to stay alive in competitive content wars and fight for the viewer’s attention.
Migration to the cloud is fundamental to a digital transformation. During the pandemic, cloud solutions enabled M&E companies to deftly pivot alongside changing workplace regulations and soaring demands in consumer content consumption. Beyond the landscape of COVID, a cloud-based framework will continue to facilitate agility and scalability in an M&E business model. As a result, M&E organizations must prioritize a cloud-based strategy as a core pillar of their business goals to address industry-wide shifts and to stay relevant in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.
2020 was shaping up to be a pivotal year for the M&E industry, even before the pandemic altered our ways of living. Audience behavior was transforming in ways that had never been seen, new competitors were challenging M&E stalwarts, and mammoth acquisition deals were being signed in the name of content. Little fires were everywhere, and the pandemic was the accelerant that forced M&E companies to quickly address the wildfire of change.
The M&E industry faced an imminent reckoning in light of the pandemic. The last five years ushered in a new age of media: a plethora of content, different ways of production and distribution, and skyhigh consumer demand. The COVID-19 crisis was a turning point for an industry that was notoriously set in its ways. Because of the pandemic, challenges that had been brewing were immediately highlighted and expedited.
The Modern age of media
Introduced unique viewer behavior and expectations. Most notably, we saw audiences seeking new ways to consume content. Traditional linear broadcasting was on a precipitous decline, and modern digital streaming services saw exponential growth. Today’s viewers can stream media on various devices like smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, and gaming consoles. Unlike before, legacy M&E brands are battling for their audience’s attention against music, gaming, & eSport platforms, as well as other new and nimbler media players in the space.
M&E Industry Business Strategies
Warner Brothers and Disney, made radical changes to their business strategies during the pandemic to acclimate to the new environment. In response to shelter-in-place orders, Warner Brothers simultaneously released new movies in theaters and on streaming platforms. Disney invested heavily in its streaming service, Disney Plus, which stunningly Warner Brothers and Disney are examples of how the pandemic created huge opportunities for greater progress so long as companies are willing to pivot. acquired 100 million subscribers a year after its debut.
Digital Innovation & Transformation
We are witnessing how strategies developed during the COVID-19 crisis are still the winning strategies, even without the context of the pandemic. Digital innovation was imperative for the M&E industry to adapt to the new circumstances. Today, we see that these new circumstances continue to exist beyond the landscape of COVID, and digital transformation is necessary for M&E brands to stay alive. The foundations of the M&E industry have been loosened, allowing opportunistic growth and innovation. Organizations that are slow to modernize their technology, production, and monetization strategies will be left behind by more agile competitors in the space.
How the cloud addresses challenges
The cloud is the heart of digital transformation.
Harnessing the power of the cloud, a business can restructure its processes, tools, and experiences in a global virtual environment. The cloud is practically synonymous with digital transformation. Regardless of the industry, a cloud-based framework enables the agility and scalability needed to keep up with the market demands. The M&E industry faces a series of challenges in the modern media era. Without undergoing digital transformation, M&E brands face an uphill battle addressing these issues and will not set themselves up for success in the future. We’ve identified frequently seen challenges in the M&E industry below and explained why we believe the cloud is the solution to these problems.
The Challenge: Meeting Consumer Demands and Expectations
Viewing behavior is very different from what it was five years ago. Media consumption is at an all-time high, and audiences constantly find new and more ways to watch media. Linear television is antiquated, and audiences favor platforms that provide options and freedom. There is no need to tune in to a cable television network at an exact time to watch your favorite show riddled with commercials. Why do that when you can watch that same show at your leisure and stream it on any device without commercials, all for a monthly subscription fee that is significantly less than the cost of cable? Media consumption has been democratized. Broadcasting companies no longer fully control how and when their audiences watch their content. The audience has taken their viewing experience into their own hands and has the power to choose. To adapt, M&E brands must discover ways to retain customer attention and loyalty in an era of endless content and platforms.
The key to understanding choosy audiences is data. However, archaic and lagging metrics, such as overnight ratings and box office returns, will struggle to produce actionable insights in today’s digital era. To make data-driven decisions, M&E organizations need the tools to collect, process, and analyze massive amounts of data. Cloud services help intake and process big data by employing technologies like machine learning, enabling companies to gain a deeper and more insightful understanding of their audience. The cloud manages real-time data, which is crucial for quickly meeting customer expectations and handling audience demand. Data powered by the cloud enables companies to craft the greatest customer experience increasing loyalty and retention. M&E businesses can redefine their data strategy by utilizing cloud services, translating to monetization opportunities, and impacting the business's bottom line.
How the cloud addresses challenges
The Challenge: Streamlining the Media Supply Chain
Content management has become crucial in the media supply chain. Content libraries are growing exponentially, and more efficient team workflows produce assets quicker than ever. Traditionally, media companies store their library assets on-premise and within tape-based LTO cartridges, but with today’s consumer demand, this method is unscalable. On-premise assets are not indexable, searchable, or readily accessible. As a result, editing, versioning, complian-ce checking, and repackaging are impacted, and all timelines are severely slowed down. With content being produced at an unprecedented rate, it’s become more important than ever to streamline and accelerate the content supply chain. Content creation doesn’t matter if it is not distributed to the marketplace.
The rise of OTT (over-the-top) streaming services
One of the primary reasons why M&E companies must streamline their media supply chain. OTT allows viewers to stream content over the Internet on-demand and on multiple platforms. We mentioned the modern audience is choosy, and OTT is both the reason for it and the enabler of it. The popularity of OTT services is deeply engrained in our culture (think: “Netflix and chill”), and M&E companies need to restructure their media supply chain to cater to OTT streaming.
OTT workflow and infrastructure
However, OTT broadcasting demands complex workflows and intense infrastructure needs. OTT distribution requires formatting multiple video files so they can be delivered to any device with varying connection speeds. Moreover, OTT services must have advanced video streaming workflows that encode and transcode, protect content, and possess storage capacities that continuously scale.
Managing OTT platform
For M&E companies to effectively provide OTT streaming, they must leverage cloud services. Organizations using on-premises data centers to power OTT streaming will severely bottleneck their ability to grow. Legacy applications and software are too resource and labor-intensive to handle the complexities of OTT services. For example, on-premises databases require a group of configured live encoding and streaming services to deliver content to audiences. These are all manual, routine processes that should be handled by automation like AI and machine learning. If M&E organizations handle OTT services using onpremises infrastructure, they will not achieve scalability and will fail to deliver highquality experiences that are needed to keep up with audience expectations.
Cloud Services for better end-user experience
Handling OTT workflows utilizing cloud services is much more efficient and scalable than on-premises. Cloud providers leverage a network of services dedicated to delivering video files. Cloud computing can support complicated OTT workflows and positively impact streaming latency and distribution, all of which yield a better end-user experience. Automation using AI and machine learning are cloud services that can serve as key assets in M&E companies’ ability to streamline and optimize their digital supply chains.
Cloud technologies enable M&E companies to keep up with evolving consumer demand and emerging multi-channel distribution models in the following ways:
Encoding and Transcoding
Cloud services have the ability and capacity to host rendered files and ensure they are ready for quick delivery.
Providers can easily scale services up or down based on audience demands by adding more cloud resources instead of purcha-sing more infrastructure.
Cloud costs are based on the number of resources a business uses with no maintenance and upkeep costs. The price adjusts depending on how much is consumed.
The Challenge: Unifying Workflows
Creating content is a whole production. Whether live or pre-filmed, there are a massive number of individuals and multiple teams who make the vision come to life. With so many involved in the content creation process, the workplace must support their collaboration. The COVID-19 pandemic forced M&E organizations to rethink their collaboration process. Teams had to reconfigure their tooling to continue their workflows from a remote environment. Cloud technologies facilitate a remote work environment while maintaining synergy and productivity amongst teams. Most businesses have actually experienced greater productivity and efficiency, despite the new norm of working from home. Even better, most M&E organizations have realized that remote work is less costly and timeconsuming for everyone.
Virtual post-production using the cloud is more economical from a financial and time perspective. Modern cloud infrastructure enables M&E teams to create virtual workstations, which replace physical workstations at the user’s desk. Virtual workstations do not have the capital expense that physical workstations incur, and virtual workstations are scalable and flexible to the size and power required by a given task. The cloud powers virtual workstations, and with its pay-as-you-go billing model, migrating to the cloud removes many hidden costs associated with a physical workstation.
How the cloud addresses challenges
The Challenge: Maintaining High Security Standards
Data should be thought of like nuclear fuel: it can perform amazing feats, but something needs to be done with nuclear waste. In the modern era of media, M&E companies are collecting huge amounts of sensitive data. This is great for generating business insights, but with great power comes great responsibility. If customer or PII data is compromised, M&E companies will have to contend with extremely negative press and damaging repercussions.
Cloud Security & guardrails
Security should be the top priority for M&E organizations, especially as they embrace new technologies like cloud computing. The promises of cloud technologies can be intoxicating, and it is easy to lose sight of security baselines. M&E businesses must implement proper guardrails to operate within to leverage the cloud securely. Building a cloud infrastructure has a lot of power and capabilities, but it comes with many risks if it is not governed properly. However, IT leaders can rest assured that the cloud itself is a secure environment. Breaches occur not due to the security of the cloud but due to the policies and technologies that are implemented by the business using the cloud.
Cloud services providers are more secure than in-house data centers for the following reasons:
The M&E industry has experienced the most explosive and interesting changes in the last decade. Omnichannel viewing platforms and democratized content creation are just a few new normals that M&E businesses must adapt to. To adjust to new viewership behaviors, M&E brands will need to shed old perspectives and longstanding processes. Embracing new technologies and prioritizing digital transformation are required to survive the fast-paced marketplace.
At Ollion, we embrace your unique modernization journey to help digitally transform your business and achieve true business growth through cloud adoption. Many M&E organizations migrate to the cloud basing resource planning on legacy datacenter environments without properly estimating resources needed to run their applications in a cloud environment, resulting in overprovisioning and overspending. To reap all performance and financial optimization benefits, your business needs a combination of experience, holistic data analysis, and automation.
Ollion M&E experts deploy data insights and cloud economics to reach your cloud optimization goals. Behind our solutions for cloud optimization is a team of experienced data scientists and architects that help you maximize the performance and returns of your cloud assets. Contact us today to learn how Ollion’s holistic approach to cloud optimization will help your business adapt to the new and challenging M&E landscape.