The Attraction of Cloud-Based Archiving to Broadcasters

Jul 19 2023

Published on Radio +TV Business Report

Cloud-based archiving is revolutionizing broadcasters’ approach to content. Through archiving, they can leverage their content libraries in much better ways to grow audience loyalty and reduce content spending all at once. By providing a new level of flexibility for broadcasters to add metadata in the cloud, new links can be created between library content and originals, keeping viewers watching long after the credits have rolled on the latest box set.

In this exclusive Media Information Bureau column, Bitcentral COO, Sam Peterson examines the opportunities available to broadcasters by leveraging their archive content in the cloud while providing helpful tips on how best to approach the task of converting mountains of tape to video files.

By Sam Peterson,
Chief Operations Officer,

In today’s market, content broadcasters need every resource to stay ahead of the competition. To that end, they are looking for ways to turn their stored content into an active source of revenue to get the maximum value from their archives. In this search for revenue-boosting solutions, cloud archiving has emerged as the way forward for broadcasters looking to achieve archive monetization through automated management tools and unlimited scalability.

As cloud-based storage gathers momentum with widespread adoption across the industry, the limitations of exclusively on-prem storage have become apparent. The rapid pace of change in the broadcast industry has made business agility an essential priority for broadcasters, and unwieldy models based on physical hardware have become a problem for content publishers who want to keep pace with rapidly fluctuating trends. In the digital age, new trends in content can come and go in the blink of an eye. If a particular topic, personality, or program has an unexpected revival in the public’s interest – content publishers need to respond quickly to make the most of that trend. On-prem systems cannot match the ability to instantaneously retrieve content from the cloud. Quick retrieval of specific content is an area where the gains to agility from cloud-based storage provide an indispensable competitive advantage for broadcasters.

Realizing the full value of content through metadata

Part of the agility that cloud-based archiving affords is due to its metadata capabilities. Metadata can tag and categorize content automatically, which means content can be retrieved at a moment’s notice in a compiled form by specific categories, themes, or topics. The role of metadata may be less well-known than other aspects of cloud storage. Still, in the coming years, we can expect to see increasing reliance on metadata tools to keep content automatically up-to-date and ready to transmit. One of the strongest points in favor of metadata enhancement is its sheer versatility. Metadata can be applied to something simple but otherwise time-consuming, such as adding text transcripts to audio files to highly advanced solutions that organize content around specific themes, individuals, or events. For a production workforce, maintaining and sorting through years’ worth of content can become a liability. By contrast, adding metadata enhancement through the cloud makes large quantities of archive storage a valuable tool for the workforce rather than a burden for them to manage.

Leveling the playing field through scalable storage

A significant benefit of the cloud is that broadcasters can choose whether to adopt a fully cloud-native solution or to combine cloud capabilities with on-prem storage. The second of these two options will generally be favored by larger and established broadcasters who can afford the maintenance and support costs associated with on-prem.

However, up-and-coming content publishers will have the same (which is to say, practically unlimited) capacity for scaling their operations as large broadcasters — this is the leveling effect of cloud storage. The availability of these different paths to cloud adoption is part of why we’ve seen such a sweeping cloud adoption throughout the industry.

With the exponential increase of content publishers, solutions are needed to meet the needs of a wide range of varied customers, many of whose content strategies will evolve and change as they grow. This is another reason for creating a foundation of agility and flexibility with cloud storage. The production capabilities of the largest industry players are no longer out of reach for smaller operations, and closing this gap will have a powerful democratizing effect on the broadcast industry as a whole.

Overcoming outages with disaster recovery

Outages pose a serious threat to content publishers on all scales, large and small. Fire, flood, power cuts, and ransomware are disasters waiting to happen. Moreover, the event of an outage is pragmatically a ‘when’, not ‘if’ consideration for content publishers — outages are an existential risk for broadcasters financially and in long-term damage to their reputation. Peace of mind and security will always be a cornerstone of cloud archiving. However, there is another kind of risk to consider besides outages: that of opportunity costs from staying exclusively on-prem. Without cloud’s flexibility, scaling, and metadata capabilities, the long-term opportunity cost of traditional storage weighs heavily – and this will only increase as the technology develops year on year.

A foundation for growth

For many publishers, the ultimate purpose of moving to the cloud is to establish a business model that provides the maximum opportunity for growth. A long-term vision for growth in today’s media industry will inevitably be shaped by the underlying technologies that drive content production. In this way, the cloud has become the defining behind-the-scenes driving force for content production and delivery in today’s industry.