Leveraging artificial intelligence, metadata enrichment and management, cloud-based solutions, improved intelligence-laden caching, and more, are all on the horizon.
Anil Jain, MD – Media & Entertainment, Industry Solutions, Google Cloud
“There’s no question that streaming services are here to stay, as major M&E companies have invested more heavily into new and existing streaming offerings in recent years.
In order to thrive in a competitive, highly saturated landscape though, M&E must wholeheartedly nurture their DTC relationships with their audience. Consequently, companies must focus on content, commerce, and consumption. These areas fuel an ever-expanding quantity of data, and companies must move from a reactive to a proactive relationship with their consumers.
At a foundational level, data is integral to monitoring and measuring all of a company’s operational facets — from marketing to subscribers, content delivery, revenue, customer care and engagement. While many companies have adequate telemetry across all these data generating actions, it’s commonplace for this data to be aggregated into data warehouses, data marts, and data lakes, often updated and accessed in batch processes. The complexity of unifying and correlating data often leads to delays in extracting and analyzing data. And changes to data sources, schemas, or accuracy can have a ripple effect to the entire data processing pipeline.
Companies that can quickly and efficiently transform data into insights will move into positions of leadership and accelerate their growth. AI/ML can provide companies with insights into each individual user and help answer questions such as: What type of metadata and thumbnails are most appealing for content selection? What content should be promoted, recommended, and surfaced for search — based not only on known history, but on the current viewing context of device type, screen size, and location?
Data in and of itself is a great blank canvas, but actively leveraging AI/ML will be a necessary means for companies to paint a picture that strengthens their relationship with viewers.
Peter Docherty, Founder and CTO, ThinkAnalytics
“Metadata enrichment will become even more important in a super-aggregated world as it underpins content understanding/intelligence, optimized discovery and viewer profiling. As this evolves, we will see the greater application of AI/ML to generate multi-dimensional tags that define and explain the DNA of each asset at a granular level — for example, the different elements of a plot, narrative styles, formats and moods. There is also growing demand for metadata enhancement in non-video assets such as podcasts that are increasingly being added to service providers’ portfolios.”
Andre Christensen, CEO and Co-Founder, Firstlight Media
“Dramatic increases in streaming in 2020 exposed holes in providers’ architectures and showed the need for quick response to market changes. We think 2021 is going to be a breakthrough year for more flexible cloud-based solutions that can accelerate time to market, improve user engagement, and create new revenue streams much more cost effectively.
Here’s what’s happening: there have been quantum leaps in video infrastructures and software development in the past few years — artificial Intelligence, cloud, microservices, containerization, CI/CD frameworks. What was state of the art in 2017 can’t hold a candle to what is possible now. Many providers in-market — especially aspiring Tier 1s that lack the deep pockets of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ — just can’t scale to keep up with viewing demands and aren’t technologically agile enough to create personalized services and new monetization opportunities. Those services are seeking ways to accomplish those objectives within their capex and opex constraints.
The new wave of cloud innovation and deployment coming in 2021 will go beyond the limitations even of cloud-based services that are already in-market. Our research has shown that when you have a lighter, containerized and modular fully cloud-based architecture you reduce time to market and development efforts needed for new services or new features by more than 60-75%. You also dramatically improve metrics like latency, compute consumption, and QoS by similar ranges. The ability to quickly iterate and respond to user behavior makes a big impact on business performance indicators like churn, customer lifetime value, and ARPU.
With nearly half of all media and media tech companies incorporating Artificial Intelligence into their operations or product lines, AI and machine learning tools are rapidly transforming content creation, delivery and consumption. Find out what you need to know with these essential insights curated from the NAB Amplify archives:
- This Will Be Your 2032: Quantum Sensors, AI With Feeling, and Life Beyond Glass
- Learn How Data, AI and Automation Will Shape Your Future
- Where Are We With AI and ML in M&E?
- How Creativity and Data Are a Match Made in Hollywood/Heaven
- How to Process the Difference Between AI and Machine Learning
This is a fish-or-cut-bait moment for services with legacy architectures, even many platforms launched even very recently, that support a narrow set of business and monetization models. We think you’ll see more of them next year jumping onto fully modular and cloud-based platforms, so they can be more responsive to changes in the market and increase personalization without breaking the bank.”
Hiroshi Kajita, Head of Media Solutions, Sony Professional Solutions Europe
“In 2021, media organizations will continue to investigate which parts of their content supply chains should run on-premises, on a private cloud or in the public cloud. In addition to this, they will be looking at when they need to move each part of the chain to the cloud to gain further benefits through the application of AI and data analytics.
The ethical use of AI will also continue to be a theme with the necessary checks and balances to avoid bias, especially when this comes to news content. We will also likely see the need for media organizations to recruit or retrain staff for new roles required to support this AI and data analytics.
A proliferation of data will mean efficient generation and management of metadata will take on more importance in 2021, to automate parts of the chain and to more tightly integrate field operations with distributed production teams.”
Geoff Stedman, Enterprise Media Strategist, AWS Elemental
“In 2020, we saw tremendous growth in both the amount and variety of media workloads moving to the cloud. For broadcasters, the ability to spin up new services and channels without having to build or manage on-premises infrastructure not only made economic sense, it was also imperative due to facility limitations related to COVID-19.
In 2021, we will see even more broadcasters move to cloud-based TV broadcasting, and not just for channel origination, but for the full delivery workflow with broadcast-grade encoding, statistical multiplexing and reliable distribution of 24×7 live video to partners. As existing workflows move to the cloud in 2021, we will also see entirely new forms of personalized content, ranging from sophisticated personalized advertising to more complex personalized linear channels, all enabled by the flexibility and agility that cloud-based workflows can deliver.”
Nick Thexton, CTO, Synamedia
“We will see more intelligence added to caches so they can handle video processing at the edge, as well as caching and storage. Moving just-in-time packaging to the cache rather than the origin server makes it possible to support unique copy playback with a cloud DVR service — essential for the US market. We may also see more content providers following Netflix’s lead and introducing dedicated cache servers into service providers’ networks to ensure a fantastic viewing experience for their content as part of an aggregated model. As live content streaming grows in popularity this approach may well become standard, alongside the use of multicast ABR and other technologies for the smooth delivery of multiple low latency streams as part of service providers’ managed services.”
The era of wholesale moves to the cloud will now be complemented by ‘cloud adoption for the rest of us’. Instead of throwing away existing platform infrastructure, operators start incremental cloud service adoption which really helps them overcome the core challenges of managing brown-field infrastructure. This approach will allow any genre of service provider to deliver broadcast-quality services while maintaining total control of complex, hybrid workflows, managing costs and benefiting from the insurance policy of cloud-based disaster recovery.
Most viewers still prefer to watch TV on a big screen in the living room. In 2021, we will start to see switched on service providers simplifying their UI designs to improve the user experience and offer a more engaging, ‘less is more’ experience. We will also see the main screen evolve to meet the needs of the next generation of TV viewers, becoming both an ambient accompaniment to our daily lives while cementing its position as the first choice for highly immersive viewing.”