Technology estates nearing end of life have been one of the main drivers behind the move to cloud in the media industry.
This sentiment was shared by two panellists in a Showcase Theatre session yesterday on best practices in IP video delivery and the cloud, in which Gordon Brooks, CEO and Chairman, Zixi, said that looking at total cost ownership (TCO) and doing it in the right way is a critical element of achieving the monetisation goals of the media.
“We started with our VOD supply chain and slowly expanded on that,” revealed Dave Travis, Group Director of Content, Broadcast & Platforms at Sky. “I think TCO is quite often miscalculated. Our model is that there’s no value in managing black boxes, so that’s something to consider when it comes to your TCO analysis.
“What we learned quickly is that unless you have a strategic vision and strategy around deployment, you shouldn’t be doing it, because you need to have the ability to spin up and spin down.”
Ralf Jacob, EVP Broadcast Operations & Global Engineering, TelevisaUnivision, told the audience that his initial consideration for IP transformation also stemmed from the problem of obsolescence.
“Hardware refreshes happen every five or six years or so, and in broadcast this is not just a few pieces of equipment, it’s everything,” he said. “With cloud and IP transformation, the opex side of things is really what drove our multi-year approach, so hopefully that no longer becomes a worry.”
In a late morning session on navigating media’s next era of change, Francesco Venturini, CVP, Media and Communications, Microsoft, said that artificial intelligence is just one click, or one API away in terms of accessibility.
He explained how the cloud provides the ability to learn from huge datasets, but to do so companies need a level of scalability in their infrastructure that we’ve never seen before.
“We’re estimating that the computer requirements to support AI will grow 50 times over the next two years,” he said. “For us it means that we’ll continue to invest in making Azure the world’s largest supercomputer to power AI.”
Venturini spoke about how live sport is going to be one domain where AI has a huge impact, referencing the NBA’s AI assistant, which was launched during the NBA finals and saw massive engagement.
“The level of information that you can gather on behaviours changes the engagement dynamics of live events completely,” he said.
Allen Broome, CEO, MediaKind, spoke about how you can now leverage AI to increase your audience or customer reach by generating automatic audio tracks in different languages using the native actors voice, as well as closed captioning in any language and highlight reels.
“We use optimised AI models to improve our video compression algorithms, to make sure we’re being energy efficient while still maintaining the best video quality,” he said.
Media tech companies also took to the stage in the afternoon to introduce a set of new solutions for the industry.
SWEET.TV CEO Mykhailo Khyzhniak introduced the company’s new OTT business franchise, a full-cycle solution that includes the following elements: OTT platform support and upgrade, support of content acquisition and promotion, marketing support and media planning, and support with regards to providing the relevant instruments and working strategies to monetise different audiences.
“Franchisees should be ready to drive this business, and be ready to invest to unlock their subscriber growth,” he said. “The best fits for this collaboration are retail businesses, smart TV manufacturers, media groups, and telecom businesses.”
Benefits of the new product, Khyzhniak said, include less stress, because franchisees will get full hardware and software support, as well as being supplied with marketing software to help them acquire, retain, upsell and monetise subscribers.
In a later session, video editor Jordan Orme spoke about Wondershare Filmora, an AI powered video production tool that can help make video creation more cost-effective and efficient.
Filmora can automate repetitive tasks such as tagging, sorting, and organising raw footage, enabling editors to focus solely on creative decisions. It can also help save money and produce better quality content, through AI algorithms that can produce sharper visuals, clearer sound, and improved production quality overall.
Orme told the audience: “Ideas are the most treasured currency in this day and age, thus any tool that you can use to help you ideate is extremely valuable.”