Flexible media: Cloud and SaaS advantages

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How to gain flexibility in our processes with these models

The disruption of the pandemic in 2020 had a hard impact on our industry. On one hand, we experimented the largest increase in demand and consumption of content in history either to keep us informed of reality or to escape from it for a few hours a day.  The biggest beneficiaries of this situation were those best prepared for a new reality with one term as the main actor of the industry: Flexibility.

In terms of how it has affected the content supply chain, the labor relocation has guided the direction of investment priorities, in many cases betting on a systems architecture adapted to current times. In this complete document, we show you how the industry is betting on cloud technology and we explain its main advantages combined with the SaaS model.

Why is the industry moving to the cloud?

Traditionally, we have always understood content management as the centerpiece of the so-called media lifecycle or, if we use more universal terms, the content supply chain. This mission in turn involves workflow management: dozens of detailed and necessary processes in which dozens of other professionals immerse themselves on a daily basis so that this well-oiled digital machinery enables them to do their work in the best possible way.

Whether editing, transferring, cataloging or supervising quality control, our management tool defines to a large extent the tempo of the processes and their effectiveness, so it is not surprising that suppliers are constantly seeking to improve them in search of greater convenience and effectiveness for their users. There is rarely a process that cannot be optimized in one or more ways. In recent years we have seen how this improvement has focused on moving increasingly towards environments with a greater capacity for automation, greater versatility in installations and the appearance of new functionalities enabled by Artificial Intelligence tools, highlighting in particular a greater availability of data on the performance of content aimed at indicating the best way to improve them. 

At first glance, it seems difficult to claim that an environment as fluctuating and cutting-edge as that of software involved in the media supply chain can be slow, but reality rarely fails to collide with innovation: financial constraints, amortization of legacy systems and sometimes uncertainty in the face of new, untested possibilities often slow down promising developments, especially since paradigm shifts in this area do not usually affect all parts of the chain: a new video format, a new tool, a new metadata field… When stability is the keynote, everything happens in small steps.

Of course, not that the paradigm changed last 2020: it would be more appropriate to say that it blew up into a thousand pieces. On the one hand, we cannot ignore the greatest increase in demand -not to say forced dependence- and consumption of content in history, either to keep us informed of reality or to escape from it for a few hours a day. The laws of nature sometimes admit the least thought-out extrapolations, and it must be said that, although almost all content providers saw a notable jump in their statistics, The biggest beneficiaries were those best prepared for a new reality in which one term gained tons of weight on both sides of the screen: flexibility.

In terms of how it has affected the content supply chain, the labor relocation has guided the direction of investment priorities, in many cases betting on a systems architecture adapted to current times. This shift to remote is in many cases resulting in a multitude of new, fully virtualized and decentralized environments, in which functionalities such as web access, cloud deployment and SaaS payment models more adapted to variable workloads are gradually taking precedence over on-site models and CAPEX investments. Associated with this transition, issues that have always been present in a secondary way have also gained greater prominence, such as security and process monitoring. 

On the consumption side, the so-called Streaming Wars were already making headlines long before the pandemic, and it is the large OTT and IPTV providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, together with digital streaming platforms (particularly YouTube and Twitch) that are setting consumption trends and, therefore, defining the rules of a new globalized consumption scenario

This globalization of the major streaming companies also translates into a geographic expansion of content productions around the world. We have seen how big hits from different platforms are produced in one country and distributed worldwide, with the challenges that this entails.

For years, the big players have been betting on cloud technologies for publishing in non-linear environments, distribution and publication in social media. For example, we saw how Netflix completed the migration of its operations in 2016 and Disney announced in April 2021 a long-term agreement to extend its collaboration with Amazon Web Services.

The other players in the market are following in their footsteps. Cloud technology is leading media companies’ investments in areas such as content management and support. In addition, spending on key aspects of the future, such as the application of Artificial Intelligence, is focusing on cloud environments. As we have already mentioned, the quest for flexibility is at the heart of all these operations and is at the forefront of the advantages that cloud services can bring us.

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