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TECH BYTES

Optimising the Media Value Chain with the Cloud

Optimising the Media Value Chain with the Cloud

By Shweta Jain, APAC Head of Business Development, Media and Entertainment, AWS

Having worked in the media industry for two decades, I am excited to see how the cloud has shaped the landscape. Things are changing rapidly, especially amid COVID-19, with many media companies looking to the cloud for scalability and cost efficiency, even for their core broadcast workloads that were traditionally run on-premises.

Media companies are ramping up cloud adoption to become more resilient and capture new opportunities. Audiences are demanding more content, producers and editors are adapting to new working arrangements from home, and companies are pivoting their operations for business continuity under the new normal.

The cloud is helping media companies deliver great performance across their value chain, through content production, supply chain asset management, and distribution. The result is agile companies that meet fluctuating audience demands by delivering quality content quickly and at lower costs—anytime, anywhere.

Producing High Quality Content on Time

Broadcasters and producers that use cloud solutions can offer quality production standards while meeting the tight timelines of the industry. The cloud gives media companies the tremendous capacity and bandwidth to acquire multiple live feeds, edit them in real time, add graphic overlays, and deliver them to multiple broadcast, digital, and social media platforms. K League 1, the top-tier Korean football league, did exactly that. It kicked off its 2020 season in May with a global match broadcasted live to social media by using a live production system hosted on the cloud. More than three million people viewed the match on Twitter alone, proving it is possible to deliver engaging content amid challenging circumstances.

Companies also need a steady stream of content to deliver engaging broadcast programs. Content creators must produce at a brisk pace as they work from home or other safe locations, and artists and editors are leveraging cloud-based virtual workstations for visual effects (VFX), animation, and video editing workflows. Media companies can also use cloud-enabled technologies like secure managed desktop-as-a-service solutions to provide on-demand access to cloud desktops for employees. In addition, companies can provision specific compute, memory, and storage resources that content creators need to run resource-intensive applications, such as graphic design and video editing software. Using AWS, Method Melbourne, the Australian branch of global visual effects company Method Studios, met the demanding VFX requirements of a project for the movie “Jumanji: The Next Level”. The company created 164 out of the 280 VFX shots the project required with the cloud, scaling up the render capacity of its internal, 10,000-core farm by four times. The cloud-based approach allowed artists to explore more creative iterations with faster rendering while helping the company control its licensing costs.

Inspiring Creativity with Secure Communication and Collaboration

Content creators also need to collaborate effectively in order to facilitate projects, accelerate workflows, and hold creative brainstorms. Remote working is fast becoming the new normal and media companies must ensure that employees have secure and scalable tools for effective collaboration. They can share content, collaboratively edit documents, and provide clear feedback in real time to create inspiring discussions, keep track of progress, and align on creative directions.

To serve customers better, media companies can consider options such as contact centers in the cloud, which can be set up in minutes, to deliver superior customer service by support staff working from home.

Meeting Unprecedented Demand

As in-home entertainment demand hits new peaks, content streaming platforms have the mammoth task of ensuring their audiences around the globe can watch content via any device and type of internet connection. During the 2019 Cricket World Cup, India’s leading OTT platform Hotstar used Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud to scale resources to support over 25 million concurrent viewers on its live streams, achieving a global record during that period of time.  With the cloud, these companies can confidently meet the growing demand for content, accommodating more viewers and delivering programs on multiple channels securely and cost-effectively.

In broadcasting, media companies are moving their channel playout workloads to the cloud to automate scaling and monitoring, helping them streamline their operations for content delivery. Cloud-based playout solution providers such as Amagi, currently managing approximately 300 channel feeds on the AWS platform in more than 40 countries, are making it possible for content owners to launch new channels—a process that could take months with traditional cable and satellite networks—in less than two weeks. Such solutions are empowering content owners and distributors to reach new audiences faster.

Stay Resilient and Succeed in the New Normal

In these times of disruption, media companies are continuing to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability that the cloud brings to their day-to-day operations. By becoming more scalable, agile, and productive, media companies are more prepared to face changing conditions in the new normal and continue to captivate and delight audiences.