How cloud innovation is set to deliver on-the-ground business impact

Every broadcaster and content owner has a cloud strategy, or is likely to be evaluating the need to employ one. Now there’s a simple way of making it an operational reality.

This article will take a look at the evolving role of cloud and the use cases behind the development of Arqiva’s Virtual Connect product.

The broadcast industry is a really exciting place to be right now. Not only are there major investments in great new content, but sophisticated cloud-based technologies are also moving the industry towards a modern ecosystem of content contribution, aggregation and distribution.

Such is the potential of these new approaches, in terms of cost reduction and all-round business agility, it seems natural that the broadcast and media industry will enthusiastically embrace digital-first ways of working. Certainly, Arqiva is having many conversations about how to best leverage non-traditional distribution approaches – like the cloud – to efficiently deliver content, drive down costs and create more flexible and responsive business models.

Indeed, given a little time, it’s not difficult to imagine a global, online marketplace; where all channels, events and content are up in the cloud and easily acquired through dynamic, intelligent transactional systems easily supporting direct-to-consumer and affiliate driven distribution channels.

The development and adoption of the kind of technology that sets the industry on a path to a totally new paradigm of media aggregation and delivery across full-time channels, file-based content and live events is already well established.

Of course, future-gazing can only take the industry so far. Arqiva is aiming to bring today and tomorrow together in pragmatic and workable solutions. Now, let’s take a more detailed look at some key use cases.

At the most basic level, Virtual Connect allows media and content owners to get their broadcast quality live channels and event content into, through and out of the cloud. Once it’s up there, they can create new channels in almost real time, distribute existing linear TV channels to new markets and much more.

All without incurring the not inconsiderable costs of fibre connectivity or satellite capacity. The industry-wide trend of broadcasters moving away from satellite as the primary content distribution channel is growing. Cost is certainly a factor, but so is the ability to localise and tailor content more specifically to the target platform.

The trouble is, this has historically meant moving to a fibre or managed network distribution strategy which can be hugely costly and painfully slow to deliver. In addition, neither of these are particularly flexible when customers are looking to trial new propositions
or markets.

In contrast, distributing content through the cloud with a service like Virtual Connect not only facilitates the option of localisation, it also ticks a box on cost and flexibility and does
so without compromising on quality.

Another key use case, and one of the primary drivers for development of Virtual Connect, is the ability to deliver customer content onto cloud native distribution platforms. Global OTT aggregators like Amazon Prime Video are onboarding more and more channels and live events as part of their content offering. Virtual Connect is ideally suited to rapidly reaching Amazon Prime Video and other OTT aggregators without having to commit to a fixed infrastructure.

If a broadcaster or content owner has a channel or live event they want to get onto Amazon Prime Video, they can do so cost-effectively and rapidly.

Another interesting use case involves the flexible delivery of live contribution services. Here, Virtual Connect offers rights owners the opportunity to experiment with new live event sources without the significant upfront costs or complexity of managing outside broadcasts, SNG trucks or OU satellite capacity. This means broadcasters can onboard new, non-traditional live events like mobile journalism or eSports and make their content available on traditional broadcast platforms.

Plus, with their content in the cloud, broadcasters can use new virtual playout and multiplexing services to process it. Certainly, with the integration of evolving artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, automated workflows make live event production in the cloud not just possible but highly efficient. Combined with evolving content analysis tools and cutting- edge big data systems, the ability to innovate around content creation, distribution and monetisation is greater than ever.

There is a huge opportunity to use solutions like Virtual Connect to radically change the game. While
it may be slightly disingenuous to suggest that opportunities are only limited by the imagination, enabling broadcasters and media owners to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility of the cloud really does allow them to think out of the box, explore new approaches and get on that road to the future. And do it today.

If you would like to find out more, let’s talk. +44 (0)1962 823 434 or sales@arqiva.com

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