As we look at digital disruption across industries, media and entertainment (M&E) companies are right in the thick of it. By 2019, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross over IP networks every second. This explosion of digital video content is pushing the industry’s legacy IT infrastructures to a breaking point.
With millions of dollars per production at risk, too often the M&E industry defaults to “what worked the last time.” However, at this year’s NAB Show, it was crystal clear that this attitude is changing. The message we heard from customers over and over again is that they want to learn as much as possible about new technology innovations that can remove IT obstacles hindering creative output and profit.
M&E companies recognize the value of cloud and are moving their workflow processes – post-production, in particular – to the cloud in a real-way. For example, nearly every customer we talked with had either funded or were in the process of funding cloud initiatives. This shift is taking advantage of some very disruptive trends, such as the increasing push to deliver over-the-top (OTT) video to mobile devices, new ways of managing digital rights and security, and monetizing advertising in the new cloud model.
At the same time, major cloud providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, and network providers, such as Verizon, Zayo and Sohonet realize the M&E industry is ripe for transformation. These providers are working on new solutions to help M&E companies overcome specific challenges such as:
- migrating post-production tools to the cloud
- making the “last mile” connection to move content into the network
- accessing content for all production/post-production phases
- keeping data at rest while cloud-based applications/tools are working on it
- managing the increasing requirements for network bandwidth – from 100 to 400 GB/s
Security throughout the workflow supply chain is also a concern for many M&E businesses and they are looking for ways to protect media content and enable private access for employees and partners. They also must meet entertainment industry standards for security and regulatory compliance.
It’s clear that M&E companies cannot overcome these challenges on their own. In the session, “A Walk in the Cloud,” I joined panel members from Dolby Labs, Fox Networks Group, Google, Sony and ContentBridge to discuss how M&E companies need to work together to successfully transform the way they deliver IT to their creative partners. Shared industry standards, infrastructure and places to access data/content were all raised as examples of how an M&E industry ecosystem would increase innovation and productivity for all participants. And the key to creating this kind of value-driving ecosystem is interconnection.
For example, many M&E companies are used to having their IT equipment in the same facility as the people working on production and post-production processes. However, in today’s collaborative global digital economy, this is no longer optimal. You film a movie or TV show in New York, however, post-production may be happening simultaneously in Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and London. A better solution is to distribute IT to colocation facilities next to a network or the cloud. That way, the people working on the production or post-production can be anywhere you want and still have direct and secure access Ì¶ through interconnection Ì¶ to all of the resources they need.
Many of the M&E companies we work with recognize that they need to transform their IT infrastructures and to make that happen, they need fast and secure access to the cloud. When they ask us how it can be done, we demonstrate how leveraging an Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA™) deployed on Platform Equinix™ can give them a safe, simple on-ramp to a wealth of cloud services and access to a rich ecosystem of M&E partners.
For example, ContentBridge, a leading provider of automated supply chain solutions to the entertainment industry, was quickly outgrowing its existing data center and “owned infrastructure” strategy. The company saw an opportunity to address these issues by creating the first truly cloud-based digital content distribution solution. ContentBridge deployed an IOA on Platform Equinix, which gives the company a robust and flexible foundation to build and scale on demand, and access to the Equinix Media Cloud Ecosystem for Entertainment Ì¶ a rich ecosystem of M&E industry partners and network and cloud providers. ContentBridge is also leveraging Equinix Cloud Exchange™ to gain seamless, direct and secure interconnection with multiple cloud providers, including leading vendors such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
Said ContentBridge’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Reinart, “Thanks to Equinix, we have access to an amazing data center with direct interconnection to all of the major cloud service providers.”
As another example of our commitment to the M&E industry’s digital transformation, we have joined the Entertainment Technology Center’s Project Cloud, a consortium of technology leaders and studio executives whose mission is to assess and define strategies to accelerate cloud-based resources to advance the future of film and media creation, production and distribution. I believe this will be the first of many collaborative initiatives that start to harness the power of the cloud in an interconnected way that will unleash a new and innovative M&E ecosystem. Let’s go!
To learn more, download our white paper on the Equinix Media Cloud Ecosystem for Entertainment.