The importance of cloud playback for operators

Dec 08 2021

Published On Prensario Zone here

Written by Sam Peterson, COO at Bitcentral


The importance of cloud playout for broadcast operators is finally being realized

Cloud-based playout solutions are gaining traction across the broadcast spectrum as companies embrace this technology in order to benefit from its new improved levels of flexibility, efficiency and cost. With an increase in audiences and reach, broadcasters are re-thinking and re-aligning their current production, delivery, and strategy when it comes to getting their content on the air, and having technologies which can work alongside traditional on-premise is highly beneficial in today’s market.

Latin America is no exception to this. With over 1,400 television channels broadcasting in Latin America and viewers in their millions, it’s a complex market with myriad interconnections and regional requirements. Identifying opportunities to keep up with the growing demand and content has seen the cloud becoming an increasingly popular option to augment and increasingly to replace exisiting playout solutions.


Meeting the industry’s growing list of demands

Although it is not a recent phenomenon, the potential of the cloud is just being realized. With the world of broadcasting looking likely to shift into a new and exciting direction, the cloud is proving to be an attractive option to work alongside more traditional on-premise playout systems for a number of reasons.

In today’s market, it is important for broadcasters to have the ability to scale quickly and reliably. Cloud-based playout is on hand to provide operators with the flexibility and scalability they need, which helps explain why more and more operators and channels are eager to move at least some of their operations in that direction.

Also, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, broadcasters have become more aware of the cloud, offering a more stable, high-quality, low-latency delivery that produces a consumer experience at the same level as provided by traditional on-premise equipment. Today, the cloud is allowing them the flexibility to spin-up back-up operations quickly and efficiently – all from a remote location.


Launching channels in the most cost-effective way

As operators and channels expand the ways in which content is distributed, it’s more important than ever that they operate at maximum efficiency. But playout needs to work flawlessly, and by adopting the cloud, broadcasters now have a more cost-effective option for transmission and one that can offer robust advantages.

The cost implications of implementing cloud-based playout systems is one of the first things that lead businesses to examine this new aproach. In fact, as it continues to become more accessible, potential customers are finding that the cloud provides a low-barrier to entry. It is now easier for operators to launch new services than ever before as broadcasters can drastically reduce costs through an OPEX model as opposed to the CAPEX intensive deployment of an on-premise solution.


Short-term backup for long-term solutions

A broadcast operator needs to ensure all operations provide the flexibility required to effectively manage any circumstances that may be out of their control. Cloud solutions provide broadcasters immense capability to scale, and access to content significantly increases the flexibility of how and where content ingest and storage takes place.

It is also important to consider the advantages the cloud has on disaster recovery. In order to ensure business continuity, a cloud-based backup is a useful tool alongside the primary hardware-based playout. The cloud offers a safety net for users to overcome any technical or operational barriers, this has proven to be a popular factor for adopting the cloud during the pandemic.

With the pandemic only accelerating the need for embracing new technologies, the cloud’s ability to offer users rapid channel launches, efficient and resilient operations, and a flexible commercial model paves the way for linear channels to be more successful and profitable.

Another way the cloud has proven useful is during this year’s Copa America tournament in Brazil. With vast amounts of content being distributed on an almost constant basis over a four-week period, broadcasters needed something that enabled expansion of infrastucture. Through cloud-based playout, the ability to spin-up and spin-down infrastructure and functionality means you don’t need to ‘build for peak’ and at the same time, customers are able to enjoy backup operations quickly and easily from a remote location. These solutions are robust and therefore can easily deal with the requirements of today’s market while providing savings and the reliability operators need.


What will the future hold for broadcasters in the region?

It must be emphasized that although cloud-playout will be crucial in helping broadcasters adapt and embrace new media landscapes, traditional on-premise will likely be a part of our industry for some time to come. We will see a future in which cloud and on-premise will work in tandem to best meet the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

With the Latin America broadcast market growing, media and entertainment companies need to ensure the infrastructure and resources are in place to prosper. The ‘spin-up, spin-down’ nature of the cloud makes it an ideal approach to the industry’s continued development. We will see the cloud become the most logical route for new operators and existing operators as they expand their reach and breadth of services. The more broadcasters learn about the benefits of cloud playout, the more they will be able to reap the rewards, as they look to successfully navigate through the ever-changing industry landscape.