Mastering the Cloud

For media companies, it’s the first step in technological dominance.
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We live in an age of consistent, high-speed technological advancement, and many companies are hard-pressed to keep pace with the changes. This is especially true for Hollywood and its post-production sector, where few companies started to embrace the cloud as a viable alternative to legacy on-premise solutions. Media and entertainment companies are now starting to feel the impact of a data-driven society, and while not a new concept, cloud advancements are being tailored to the industry and we are seeing an increase in adoption of end-to-end native cloud-based workflows.

Cloud

While all processes are able to be completed across various servers without using the cloud, there are a multitude of challenges that the industry faces within these on-premise workflows. Rigid workflows were designed and implemented based on finite capacity and technical support. Procuring capex for investment in additional infrastructure is time consuming and, coupled alongside the ongoing manual resources required for implementation and management, tack on costly expenses that hinder global reach, performance and innovation.

By utilizing the cloud’s flexibility to scale operations on-demand, nearly unlimited capacity, reduced costs and easier collaboration solutions, companies can reinvest additional resources gained from the technology into further research and development that is essential to staying ahead of consumer demand.

For example, there is a rising need to support the global release of content—whether it’s “day-and-date” releases or multiterritory D2C platform launches. Both suppliers and distributors require access to toolsets to enable efficient and transparent management of these complex deliverables, forcing operations teams and engineers to reimagine their workflows for true optimization. Other previous challenges included siloed efforts and functions when it came to localization, transcoding and packaging—these have gained a certain elasticity with the cloud, creating a nimble and global infrastructure.

REACHING OPTIMAL EFFICIENCY

The centralization of data is the most essential part of any cloud platform’s success. When managed correctly, a centralized repository of data can help content creators and distributors unlock greater insight into the performance of their video across the entire lifecycle. It can also deliver valuable market insights—from how much it will cost to localize content, to what is being bought and when, to which regions will reveal greater monetization opportunities.

We are now capable of collecting petabytes of data to inform both the creation and distribution of content, but the challenge becomes a matter of how to store it. Traditionally, storage within a tape archive hindered awareness and monetization opportunities available across the full catalogue. By leveraging a cloud-based archival solution, content owners and aggregators now have a cost-efficient way to view a virtualized inventory of workable assets and rapidly restore on demand for increased distribution.

Subsequently, as the adoption of IMF and other standard formats increase, the ability to cost-effectively traverse these components in their native state rapidly decreases the time to market and provides a viable solution to meet consumer demand and forecast new consumption trends.

Integration and adoption don’t simply stop at gathering data and achieving faster processing power. Without reengineering and integrating workflows from creation to archive in the cloud, we are missing a huge opportunity.

INTEGRATING THE OLD WITH THE NEW

Migrating to the cloud gives companies the perfect opportunity to review legacy architecture and update their workflows to create a more efficient infrastructure.

Once in the cloud, the data collected, such as capacity bottlenecks and saturation of instances, can be used to make strategic decisions about how to direct the design of new and more efficient workflows and governance logic. By centralizing and maintaining a clean content dataset, functions like transcoding, packaging and delivery of media can be driven by content- based rules enabling automation at a new scale.

These workflows will in turn become more elastic, removing unnecessary latency and file movements allowing processes to frictionlessly move throughout the entire supply chain both “upstream” and “downstream.”

Think about it this way: Previously, studios had to watch the content to know where to place animations, logos or promotional elements. Now they can leverage cloud-based AI solutions to automatically create those new versions based on data collected from the content. This end-to-end automation capability is already fundamentally changing how content creators and distributors do business.

While possible to lift and shift into the cloud without updating one’s legacy workflows, it would be remiss of companies not to take this opportunity to advance their systems in preparation for the next evolution. As an industry, we’re making significant progress, but there’s still a lot more work to do. At a time when content creators and distributors are under immense pressure to produce and distribute more content at a faster rate, companies need the cloud to stay competitive. Through the adoption of the cloud we can streamline post-production capabilities and achieve greater efficiency.

Hannah Barnhardt is VP of Product Strategy and Marketing for Deluxe.