More than meets the eye: The full value of cloud archiving

By Sam Peterson, Bitcentral

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There is a preconception among media and entertainment (M&E) companies that the cloud can be viewed simply as a convenient storage hub. This view that cloud technology equates to storage has caused some inertia for adoption across the M&E industry as budgets tighten. In reality, storage is only one facet of the cloud’s capabilities, and broadcasters are quickly discovering its potential for actively generating revenue and driving business operations.

Cloud archiving is a tool which offers a wider range of business benefits than many people realize — there is, in fact, far more to be leveraged through cloud archiving than gains to storage capacity. Broadcasters are beginning to recognize the potential of cloud archiving as an engine for driving business operation efficiencies and unlocking new avenues for revenue growth.

Building adaptive business models

M&E companies face the daunting prospect of a highly competitive market that demands uninterrupted delivery of quality content. This is a tall order, and tools that can be leveraged to meet these demands are being sought with growing urgency as the global appetite for content increases. Operational efficiencies must be continually refined and improved in order to keep pace in today’s crowded market. To plan forward and build long-term business agility, the choice of tools must be highly flexible. The adaptable nature of cloud technology enables practically unlimited scalability — and this is an essential precondition for broadcasters to thrive in today’s rapidly expanding market.

Finding gold in the archives

One of the cloud’s most powerful tools for driving revenue lies in its archiving capabilities, which can be used to turn archive material into newly profitable content that’s ready for broadcasting. For companies with extensive archives, the cloud offers a way to realize the full value of what they’ve been sitting on; it’s a recipe for turning lead into gold.

Conversely, building and maintaining physical facilities for local archiving is an ongoing cost that only the largest industry players can afford — let alone justify — as smaller competitors can make better use of their existing content without the burden of manually storing and managing their archives on site.

One of the essential ways that the cloud makes archive content usable is through metadata enhancement. Metadata enhancement is an automated process that applies metadata to archive content — tagging and categorizing the archive material by set criteria (which can be adapted to suit the individual use cases for each business). This means that any content can be sorted and retrieved instantaneously to suit the business needs of operators at any given time — a great asset to keep viewers watching after the expensively produced show they tuned in to see has finished. With metadata keeping archive material accessible by an automated process, the gains to business agility and the benefits for the production workforce make metadata one of the most powerful tools that the cloud has to offer.

Maximizing the potential for creative collaboration

To meet the round-the-clock requirements of video consumption in the digital age, the tools used by video production teams must be optimized for flexibility. For creative collaboration, cloud storage is the closest thing to a frictionless solution. It’s the tool that provides a basis for creative teams to thrive equally — whether they are distributed or working in a single studio. Allowing creative teams to have a clear run at producing their best work in a way that’s independent of their location or time zone, is to enable production teams to give the best they have to offer as a distributed workforce. Through ubiquitous access, the cloud offers a wide-reaching tool to streamline the entire process of content storage, production, and distribution by empowering production teams to deliver content from anywhere.

Disaster recovery to prepare for anything

Another unique advantage of cloud storage is its capacity for nearly seamless disaster recovery (DR). The results of outages and hardware or system failure can be extremely costly, both in the short term and long term. In an outage, there is an immediate financial cost to be reckoned with, but there is also reputational harm that can be even more damaging in the long run. Audience loyalty can be considered a long-term investment for media companies — one that can disappear in a matter of minutes if something time-sensitive, such as a live sports event or a severe weather warning, fails to reach its intended audience. Extreme weather events, power outages, and ransomware attacks are all looming possibilities for broadcasters — and since they aren’t going away, the only pragmatic approach for media companies who wish to keep and grow their audiences is to treat these eventualities as certain outcomes to prepare for.


Seamless and efficient distribution

With the increased prevalence of multi-distribution endpoints in today’s media landscape, seamless delivery of assets to the required endpoints has become a daunting task. The cloud’s flexibility and scalability make it an ideal solution to accommodate the demands of multi-distribution endpoints. Cloud-based distribution provides a flexible framework that accommodates the complexity of content delivery in today’s media landscape — allowing M&E companies to adapt to changing demands and technical challenges with a minimum of friction.

The true value of cloud archiving

The full extent of the cloud’s archiving capabilities may not be obvious. Still, an overview of its varied use cases, with everything from disaster recovery to creative collaboration, suggests that the cloud can be usefully thought of as a toolset as opposed to a single tool for one purpose. On the other hand, the cloud comes as a single all-in-one solution — making it one of the most versatile and budget-friendly investments for broadcasters looking to drive their business operations to the next level.

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Sam Peterson, BitcentralAs Chief Operating Officer Sam Peterson has direct control of the organization’s operations in accordance with Bitcentral’s strategic objectives and business plans. Sam is a career broadcast professional with more than 32 years of experience including over 20 years in various leadership roles at large, industry-leading corporations. He has held positions spanning product management, marketing, direct sales, and sales engineering. His broad experience spans all aspects of media production and distribution including automation, master control and playout, news gathering and production, post-production, signal management, and live production. He has successfully overseen the integration of several products from international acquisitions into the North American market. On the OTT side, Sam has extensive networking expertise in contribution and distribution networks for live streaming and video on demand.

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