Building the next-generation media enterprise

Rory Murphy

Equinix is currently engaged in a programme of research focused on exploring the evolution of digital interconnectivity across the European media market and the emergence of the ‘extended media enterprise’

It’s in response to our own experiences of working with and learning from some of the major media players around the globe. Increasingly, media companies are using digital connections, with suppliers, vendors, services providers, digital platforms and distribution partners to innovate, collaborate and become more efficient. Internally, within organisations, cloud, SaaS and other offerings are transforming the workflows and internal operations of media enterprises.

We’ve been exploring these developments with senior executives across the European media market – publishers, broadcasters, gaming companies, adtech providers and other industry participants – investigating issues such as:

• The business benefits of greater interconnectivity in the media industry

• The impact and evolution of cloud offerings, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS on the media market

• New opportunities for media production, distribution and monetisation

• The extent to which media organisations, large and small, are fully embracing these opportunities

• The emergence and shape of a more interconnected media market over the next 5-10 years.

We’ll be discussing the research at a roundtable event in London on 27th February (see below for details) but already there are some key emerging themes:

• While media companies have always connected with others in order to gather, distribute and monetise content, these connections are increasingly digital and rapidly multiplying in number. Firms are connecting in new ways with existing partners, with wholly new partners, and with industry peers, enabling new forms of collaboration and interaction. ‘Platform Equinix’ combines the largest global data centre footprint with robust industry ecosystems and network/internet exchanges for our partners to easily find and connect with their customers.

• Levels of interconnectivity vary significantly across different media sectors and even within those sectors. For example, the digital display advertising ecosystem is highly connected – small file sizes and common interfaces enable real-time bidding and easy distribution of content assets. Many of the ad tech players already operating within Platform Equinix are taking advantage of the interconnection options we provide to drive efficiency and innovate by, eg, introducing double bidding capabilities to maximise revenue opportunity

• In contrast, many broadcasters work with large video files, often using legacy hardware – typically they are less digitally connected with suppliers (e.g. relying on tape). To address this many new media companies are increasingly outsourcing non-essential tasks or looking to move processes into the cloud. At Equinix we see much innovation in this space, especially related to content delivery where ‘Private CDN’ applications are being developed to offer alternatives to the established content delivery network operators.

• Connectivity is enabling new business models and benefits, but many of these are immature. By connecting to ecosystems of partners, media companies are able to innovate more rapidly with one significant enabler being the connection to cloud infrastructure, that enables the development of new digital products, such as web and mobile apps, at very low cost of entry and exit. Within the Equinix global data centre and interconnection platform we see many companies successfully taking advantage of ‘direct connect’ capabilities, either cross-connecting from their infrastructure to a desired partner within our data centres or using our choice of networks to securely access partner services in other locations.

However, within every sector, progress is uneven. Some firms have moved quickly to embrace these opportunities, actively looking to broaden their connectivity. Others are moving more defensively and attempting to avoid disruption. The gulf between leaders, followers and laggards is wide and growing and that’s something that’ll be at the heart of our research and roundtable discussion!
The roundtable vent will be hosted by Equinix and MTM on Wednesday 27th February 2013 at One Alfred Place, London, WC1E 7EB, commencing promptly at 5.30 p.m. and running through to approximately 7 p.m., followed by drinks and networking at the bar. Spaces are limited but if you would like to attend, or are interested in learning more about the research output itself, please contact me direct via rory.murphy@eu.equinix.com