For years, traditional media companies have watched technology-driven new entrants roll out innovative new business models and content enthusiastically embraced by consumers. Making matters worse, these entrants also attracted advertising dollars, eating into media companies’ primary revenue stream. The fact is, media companies today find themselves at a crossroads, and it’s “sink or swim” for many of them.
What’s the answer?
It’s time for a complete transformation of the media business—from one that’s focused primarily on content, to one that embraces technology as the foundation of their business.
It’s a transformation from a media business to a “media-tech” company, and it’s the future for media companies that want to thrive today and in the future.
Playing a starring role in the shift to media-tech is the cloud. The cloud can help enable the media-tech company to innovate and scale with low-leverage cost structures. Media-tech will create capabilities that leverage cloud and cloud-native technology to provide a new level of geometric scalability (both up and down) and a flexible, low-leverage cost model (based on pay-for-use).
The value case for cloud now
As with all industries, the COVID-19 crisis has had a major impact on media, creating significant opportunities masked as challenges for media companies’ supply chain and operations. For instance, during shelter-in-place restrictions, media consumption soared but media houses had to concurrently suspend production and post-production operations. The result? A major dent in the supply of new programming. Furthermore, COVID-19’s major impact on many industries created a domino effect that’s put premium ad inventory at risk, resulting in a hit to media companies’ foundational revenues.
Some COVID-19-related challenges have further accelerated both the need to adopt the cloud and cloud-native technologies as well as a number of trends that have been unfolding across the media industry. In doing so, COVID-19 has created a greater sense of urgency to embrace the cloud to enable:
Remote creative workforce
Media companies that had invested in remote production capabilities prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis were able to easily make the shift to fully remote operations, thus keeping their production activities afloat. Such capabilities will continue to be important to enable remote working for production crews and broadcast operations personnel.
Virtual production and distribution
In the past several years, the media industry has experienced a rise in non-traditional filming, live streaming content from makeshift production sets, and expanding distribution channels that include social and direct-to-consumer.
Collaboration for distributed teams
With work becoming more distributed, it’s critical for media companies to be able to facilitate virtual interactions and streamline workflows for creative activities involving teams in remote locations. Doing so enables companies to get live feedback and quickly prototype new ideas while also improving productivity.
Harnessing of ecosystems
Media companies are unlocking value by playing new roles in an agile, digitally enabled ecosystem, which helps them keep pace with consumer demands and innovate on content creation/sourcing and distribution operations. Furthermore, by enabling an “open API economy”, media organizations can unlock new and significant monetization opportunities.
Cloud at the core
With the cloud at their core, media houses can revamp their operating structures, infusing agile, continuous improvement and “right-sizing” into their technology decisions and broader culture. They can also manage content supply and production activities with a remote workforce, which media companies urgently need. With access to collaborative, state-of-the-art environments with cost aligned to projects, cloud-based workflows help enable creative, high-quality, and cost-efficient content production.
A holistic and unified view of the content supply chain across all parts of the business enables media companies to increasingly activate cloud-based workflows. These can help deliver scalability, speed, reliability, and full cost transparency to help production and publishing teams deliver a seamless and highly collaborative experience.
In short, while content is still king, the cloud is the future of the modern competitive media-tech enterprise, enabling the companies to harness native cloud technologies such as AI content deep tagging that can dramatically improve content acquisition, content discovery, and personalization. And the sooner media companies embrace the cloud, the quicker they can develop the capabilities they need to keep pace with disruptors—and even do some disrupting of their own.