The Cloud Roadmap: Advancing Innovation in Media Technology
Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services are reshaping and underpinning the rapid industry transformation that we have seen accumulate in recent years and accelerate throughout 2020. The Changing Habits of Consumer viewing has led to an increase in the use of cloud-based OTT services. . In reality, according to Parks Associates, 76% of broadband households in the United States subscribed to an OTT video service in the first quarter of 2020, with a total churn rate for streaming services of around 41%. Compared to traditional pay-TV services, OTT has higher penetration, with only 62% of 10,000 survey respondents saying they subscribe to a pay-TV service.
Media and entertainment providers are increasingly adopting cloud technology solutions to experiment with new business models and workflows that can be scaled up or down, with minimal risk and at low cost. The move to cloud solutions requires a combination of flexible technology and a deep understanding of the industry supply chain and solutions that drive success.
COLLABORATION IS THE KEY TO CUSTOMIZATION
Audiences today want to be in control of their viewing experiences, whether it’s movies, TV, or live events. The opportunities for personalization and increased fan engagement are all possibilities with the power of IP and cloud technology. Traditional workflows don’t offer the same infrastructure flexibility required to deliver dynamic and engaging content experiences as software-centric solutions.
This shift from hardware to software solutions will see greater unity among industry vendors in creating a robust end-to-end ecosystem. The media industry is rapidly moving towards a future where cloud-based technologies are part of the core integration. Cloud-based technology and cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models are fundamental to low-bandwidth, IP-driven offerings and industrial collaboration.
Adoption of cloud solutions can vary widely, from large-scale operator deployments to smaller-scale event pop-ups. Over the past few months, we’ve seen the industry decentralize several traditional business models to accelerate the transition to cloud-based workflows in response to changing business demands due to the pandemic.
A Ovum survey 2018 predicts an increase in cloud adoption from 10% to 34% by 2023, resulting in an even split of on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployment models. Interestingly, 69% of media companies at the time of publication said they prefer on-premises hardware deployment models; However, the prediction is that this will drop by more than half to reach around 33% in 2023.
THE FUTURE IS IN THE CLOUD
Innovative technological solutions improve workflows and enable an almost infinite dynamic scale to meet this growing consumer demand. New low-risk business services are emerging that enable sports networks to take advantage of cloud technologies. SaaS models are becoming the single most important investment they will make. This is primarily because SaaS solutions provide increased product and service agility while improving overall product robustness and reducing operational complexities.
As sports broadcasters now begin to migrate from distributing IP satellite signals to terrestrial distribution, it is clear that the industry is at a tipping point. Sports broadcasters face fiercer competition than ever for eyeballs, on top of the challenges posed by the pandemic with the cancellation of live events and the majority of viewers performing from the fan’s home. However, these limitations have led to new practices of creativity and remote working. Sports leagues including MLB, NHL and NBA have rebooted and cloud technologies have played an important role in enabling the resumption of live coverage. Live sports experiences need to be reliable, accessible, and of the highest quality possible, and this is where the power of the cloud comes into play.
CONTENT IS KING AND CONSUMERS ARE QUEEN
Professional content producers and owners are looking to embrace smarter, faster, and more scalable technologies. Innovation in the cloud, with its unmatched flexibility, agility and cost savings, is well suited to address these industry challenges and help broadcasters, operators and service providers reach their global audiences.
Advances in cloud technology have been instrumental in the successful and rapid deployment of new OTT players including Disney +, Peacock, and HBO Max. With an abundance of streaming services available to consumers, one thing is for sure, content remains king. Satisfying consumer demands is essential for service providers to remain relevant and retain valuable subscribers.
We are seeing an increased transition of traditional media workflows, with content providers looking for ways to monetize their offerings and generate new revenue streams. The industry is adjusting, and it took a long time to come. The future is bright and the opportunities for collaboration are significant.
INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT: CAPEX TO OPEX
The industry is moving away from expensive initial CAPEX models to flexible and profitable OPEX solutions based on growth. The transition to cloud-native software solutions is about creating choice for consumers and enabling flexible workflows.
As cloud, IP and SaaS solutions continue to move up the organizational agenda, collaboration across the industry supply chain will accelerate. The transformation of the entire media supply chain will evolve rapidly over the next 12 months as advancements and adoption of technology gain momentum.
Allen Broome is CTO for MediaKind.