Anshul Kumar Jaiswal , Presales Consultant , Amagi Media Labs

"Over the years, technology has evolved to an extent where the benefits of cloud computing could be effectively reaped by the broadcasting industry."

Cloud computing has provided numerous advantages to the IT industry by reducing the commercial and operational cost. It is no longer required to have dedicated hardware for a specific task execution; rather, with the use of a virtualized operating system it has become easier to utilize the hardware resources to the fullest. Over the years, technology has evolved to an extent where the benefits of cloud computing could be effectively reaped by the broadcasting industry.

In the era of cutting-edge technology, there is an inclination of broadcasters toward cloud-based solutions. Media industry has been transformed over the years with the introduction of cloud-based solutions which enable the broadcasters to save on the huge CapEx and simplify workflows for globally distributed teams. Nowadays cloud-based solutions are serving their purpose on different fronts in the media broadcasting domain and are being extensively used for MAM (Media Asset Management) and for linear and nonlinear broadcasting supporting 4K resolutions.

Cloud broadcasting has multiple benefits over traditional broadcasting such as:

Scalability. The cloud-based solutions can be scaled on demand to serve the dynamic business requirements.

Efficiency. The cloud-based services can be accessed from virtually any Internet-connected device, hence, a globally distributed team can easily access the infrastructure at any given point of time without much issues. Moreover, hardware failures do not result in data loss because of networked backups.

Cost effectiveness. The broadcaster only pays for the resources he uses on the cloud and not for the complete infrastructure making the cloud broadcasting a cost-effective solution as compared to traditional broadcasting.

Turnaround time. Linear or non-linear broadcasting service could be started in a matter of hours given that the content is ready. This enables the broadcaster to start and dismantle channels quickly.

With on introduction of smartphones and cheaper data packs from telcos, the users are turning toward OTT services and according to a prediction by the streaming media industry the OTT viewership will exceed traditional viewing by 2020. Citing the tremendous response received by OTT providers such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, YouTube etc. and the ever-increasing viewership, this prediction will not take much time to come true.

With introduction of cloud broadcasting, several companies are now offering linear and nonlinear OTT services to retain their traditional viewership by offering OTT services as free-to-use.

Broadcasters are also moving to the cloud platform to offer linear streams which could serve multiple purposes such as:

Traditional broadcasting. At the traditional uplink stations for a targeted reach over a geographical region via satellite distribution retaining quality by offering a high-bitrate master stream

Linear OTT distribution. The OTT platform utilizes the master stream to offer multiple low-bitrate streams with different resolutions which are further distributed via CDN (content delivery network) to a global audience offering lowest possible latency. These streams are further monetized by using client/server side ad-insertion at the device/cloud level, respectively, making OTT distribution a profitable business

Catch-up TV. The master stream can be received and cashed using cloud infrastructure to offer catch-up streams to users, distributed and monetized in the same way as the linear OTT streams.

VOD distribution. Master stream is segmented in such a way so as to retain segments (with overlaid logo and graphics banding) which are further collated in the form of a complete show offered as VoD service, which could further be monetized as needed.

Given the numerous advantages of cloud broadcasting, more and more number of broadcasters will adopt this technology on priority for extending their reach to various market segments with a purpose of managing viewer demands.