We recently worked with the DPP on its Cloud for Playout Report, part of its wider Cloud for Media series.
The accelerating move of linear playout to the cloud represents a major shift in the broadcast industry. For traditional broadcasters this has been a daunting prospect, however those who have made the move are now reaping the benefits. Not only does cloud playout reduce the total cost of ownership, it also makes it easier to address new business challenges where scalability, agility and compatibility with IP workflows are paramount.
Cloud playout, especially when offered through a SaaS business model, drastically levels the playing field, making it much more accessible for non-traditional broadcasters such as content owners or distributors to deliver high quality video content in linear form directly to viewers. The requirement for in-house broadcast / IT expertise and investment is reduced. This is exciting as it can lessen the complexity of operating a linear channel and allow content owners to reach viewers with a much wider range of distribution.
But what exactly is cloud playout? In our opinion, true cloud playout means a modern SaaS solution, web-based or app-based, which runs on a multi-tenanted, highly redundant, public cloud-based infrastructure, and offers full featured real time control over TV channel events. And the report from DPP agrees with this point of view.
There were a number of key themes that came out of the report:
Digital TV platforms have enabled broadcasters to introduce new channels, reach new niches, and test new content. Launching new channels with cloud playout removes the need for upfront investment, bringing a level of business agility that has never been seen before. Linear content viewing is being modernised so to deliver the agility needed to meet ever changing audience and commercial demands, content providers must look to cloud native playout.
Linear content distribution is a critical part of modern content delivery. Cloud playout opens up distribution meaning providers can create professional channels and deliver them to any platform from OTT to satellite. Not only that but cloud playout combines with OTT and FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming TV) platforms to make linear accessible to a new range of content providers, from film festivals to sports federations.
From novel approaches to resilience, to more automated monitoring, the cloud provides the opportunity to optimise operations. It is important to recognise that the migration is not purely a technical project, but a business and operational change. Cloud playout offers competitive pricing, flexible channel origination, and an economical way of managing linear and live TV channels.
There are two predominant cloud architectures for playout: edge playout, and full cloud. The former offers a useful stepping-stone, but the future is fully cloud hosted. Full cloud playout places all components in the cloud and is the preferred model to realise the full flexibility of the cloud for playout. Many broadcasters have already implemented it at scale.
Existing software playout systems can be migrated to the cloud relatively easily, but this ‘lift and shift’ model fails to realise the full potential of the cloud. By employing cloud native design principles, dramatically more efficient solutions result in reduced operational costs compared to on premise systems. The lowest operating costs and the greatest flexibility are achieved by designing cloud native solutions.
At Veset, we work with many of the leading professional service providers who are able to leverage our cloud platform to provide a full stack broadcast managed service.