Five M&E Tech Trends to Watch in 2020

2019 was truly action-packed for the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry. The wheels of consolidation gained major momentum with several megamergers taking place—from Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox to NBCUniversal and Sky merging key operations. The VoD space got a lot more crowded, with giants like Apple, Disney and others making their foray.

With all these changes shaking the industry landscape, content creators are increasingly looking to re-engineer their media supply chains for greater agility, flexibility, operational efficiencies and cost benefits. From small-time studios to international broadcasters, everyone is rethinking their technology choices and weighing their options. Here are the top five tech trends we predict will have a major impact in 2020:

1. Multicloud solutions will redefine the Media Asset Management (MAM) landscape

The need for speed and scalability along with ongoing improvements in cloud security will drive content creators to embrace MAM solutions based on multicloud architecture. These empower users with the flexibility to leverage elastic, best-of-breed public cloud infrastructure or tap into on-premise infrastructure as required. Users will be able to extend and virtualize their supply chain without having to make additional investments in MAM installation for each site. This flexibility will not only help save costs, but will also drive operational efficiencies.

2. Increasing demand for a connected media supply chain

As cost and time pressures continue to weigh down content creators, fragmented supply chains will give way to connected supply chains. The focus will be on automation, and in many cases the transition to using one, single software across the enterprise rather than multiple standalone solutions. This will make asset management far more efficient and cost effective, especially for media enterprises with an extensive global footprint. Centralization will enable them to enjoy 360-degree visibility and economies of scale by consolidating business processes. At the same time, it will provide flexibility to speedily identify, onboard and monitor best-fit global talent for managing rush volumes and time-to-market pressures.

3. AI to take the center stage of media supply chains

Artificial intelligence (AI) will increasingly become a key enabler, powering intelligent, next-generation media supply chains. AI solutions will be instrumental in speeding up content operations and reducing workloads for human operators. Media enterprises will focus on how such solutions can help solve strategic media use cases and how they can be consumed efficiently given the challenges and costs of deploying AI solutions at scale. There will be focused usage of AI solutions with microservice architecture and an increase in demand for metadata that is contextual, accurate and actionable. We believe 2020 will see AI being applied to key areas in the content value chain, including content generation, content enrichment, content preparation and content delivery. In addition, more media enterprises will consume AI as part of their MAM ecosystem, in areas such as metadata enrichment, search & discovery, localization, remastering, sports highlights, trailer creation, playout monitoring and OTT distribution.

4. VoD explosion to drive adoption of automation-led technology

The VoD universe will continue to experience cut-throat competition, as new, big-ticket entrants with massive content libraries will challenge the existing players. At the same, purchasing power limitations may lead to “streaming subscription fatigue” setting in. While the speed at which consumers demand new content will increase, the willingness to pay will limit the market, where only the best will succeed. These forces will compel content creators to focus on enhancing operational efficiencies like never before. In a bid to tap new global markets and achieve faster time-to-market, content creators will search for new avenues of automation. Business processes such as localization, compliance versioning and digital distribution will be prime candidates for automation.

5. Standards-driven approach towards metadata management

Taking cues from the manufacturing sector, media enterprises will adopt a more organized approach to managing metadata. Metadata created at different stages in the supply chain—such as production, Quality Check (QC) and cataloguing—will be captured and carried forward to avoid wasted effort and to drive efficient execution of downstream operations. Content creators will explore new ways to capture and hold the highest quality of content metadata by adopting standardized data models such as Entertainment Industry Registry (EIDR). They will also introduce best practices around data interchange and electronic metadata exchange across the content supply chain.

All in all, with a burgeoning number of content hours to be managed, 2020 will see content creators turning towards innovative, holistic supply chain management solutions to enhance efficiencies and lower costs on the back of automation, data analytics and centralization.

Chandar Muthukrishnan is senior vice president, client solutions for Prime Focus Technologies.