MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Look to the Clouds if Seeking Flexibility

Peggy Dau - Monday, March 10, 2014

The debate regarding the benefits or pitfalls of cloud solutions in the media & entertainment industry continues to evolve as businesses throughout the industry test the increasing variety of options available to them. From solutions to offload CPU intensive elements of broadcast workflows, review dailies or manage rights and contracts for distribution of content across multiple platforms, there is a solution. They come from enterprise technology companies adapting their platforms to the needs of their media clients and from privately held businesses who create solutions to address a specific need in the market. Their solutions exist for just that reason - a need in the market.

As with other industries, the media & entertainment industry is under pressure to improve operational efficiency. In short, this is code for doing more with less. Content producers, be they Hollywood studios, ad agencies or broadcasters, must still create original content. This process requires the production of content which ultimately results in dailies, that must be reviewed by the director and other decision makers. The cloud improves the efficiency of reviewing the dailies by allowing them to be shared via services such as box.net rather than physical delivery of a DVD. As long as their is sufficient network connectivity on both ends, the key benefits are the saving of time and effort, thus allowing the post-production process to move forward more quickly. And, as long as the cost of connectivity does not surpass the cost of physical express delivery, this scenario is cost effective.

But, content production is about more than storytelling, it is about the management of the contracts and rights to monetize and distribute content. The area of business management is one that is ripe for cloud solutions. Functions such as finance, reporting, rights & royalties, program planning, scheduling and CRM are critical to the success of media companies. However, these functions often exist in organizational silos with disparate systems supporting their specific needs. As business models become more complex, so do the requirements for the functionality of these systems. While in-house solutions have been available for years, new or enhanced functionality is required. All media companies are seeking solutions to break down silos, integrate systems and simplify access to and management of media assets. 

They are seeking workflows that allow talent to access systems from wherever they are located. They seek solutes that simplify the distribution and monetization of content through a wide range of channels to and even wider range of devices. They demand solutions to manage complex rights and licenses. The business of media has become increasingly multifaceted as content owners seek greater insight about their audiences, while striving to increase global reach for their content. Cloud based solutions provide operational flexibility and efficiency through their easy deployment software functionality while virtualizing hardware functionality. Software to manage contracts, licenses, rights, schedules, avails, assets, data, marketing, etc. is now accessible via the cloud. Imagine enabling your sales teams to access relevant data to impress clients, placing orders and validating schedules, all in real time. Add in the ability to gather, analyze and share audience feedback, based on integrations with leading ratings and social media measurement firms, and a media company is not only pleasing its consumers, it's fulfilling the needs of its advertisers.

The business of creating and monetizing content has changed dramatically. The cloud is the enabler for overcoming many of the challenges created by prior technological limitations which created organization silos and cumbersome workflows.

What's your perspective?