The cloud looms and is changing workflows everywhere. And perhaps “changing” is a tame way to describe the truly transformational nature of cloud computing, with elastic resources, infinite capacity and the flexible nature that it provides. This new-ish approach to powering these workflows – from banking to e-commerce, data analysis to video – brings multiple benefits to those now embracing it. Television programmers and broadcast are no exception. But what if these new workflows could change the way that programmers and broadcasters think about distribution models, their content and how it reaches audiences? They should, as cloud based workflows and infrastructure are making it easier than ever before for them to reach audiences…and at a lower cost.
Consider that last statement. Just 10 years ago, there was literally no way for television programmers and broadcasters to reach audiences without the use of a TV set. Remote (or mobile) viewing didn’t exist. Sure, streaming technologies existed – but most stream consumption happened on your computer or laptop. Today, the possibilities (and screens available to connect with viewers) are plentiful. So, just as technology has helped change the screens through which we watch, it is also updating and improving how content creators edit and process their programming as well as how it is delivered to audiences.
You may not think about it when you watch video content on the screen of your choice, but editing is a massive part of content creation. Whether you’re watching the minute and ten second long package on your local news or a sixty minute episode of Narcos on Netflix, someone somewhere has been hard at work curating that video so that you could watch it. In both cases, the process of editing video has evolved over time, from magnetic tape-based cuts made on a 3/4″ Sony U-Matic to the newer non-linear editing (NLE) software suites in the digital domain, where files are the new norm. Today, cloud based editing is disrupting how media organizations look at media processing. No longer is a six-digit editing station needed, where each user/editor must pay to access the platform, in order to take raw content shot in the field and edit it down into that sixty minute show or newscast package. With today’s hybrid platforms, where technology resides both in the cloud and on-premise, editors can process video anywhere – from the newsroom to their own living room – and quickly push out clips of a car chase or house fire, or even a sixty minute telenovela all using a browser on their laptop. Further, when social networks are being utilized as extensions of their brand, these programmers and broadcasters can distribute their video to those audiences with one cohesive workflow, where their edits hit all screens from one publishing point.
One byproduct of this editing process has traditionally been “extra” content. In the interest of time and deadlines, a good deal of video shot for a show, news report or documentary ends up hitting the digital trash can. Sometimes, this content is offered on a website and is referenced on-air, so that viewers can watch more video on that topic. Now, with these lightweight editing and publishing tools, the cloud can create a home for unaired content. With some minor edits, customization and even graphics, cloud-based workflows enable content owners to expand their audience footprint with content that previously wouldn’t have been able to find viewers. Think about it: today’s OTT platforms are now able to create a 24×7 channel comprised of live and on-demand content quickly & easily. No need to have a building full of broadcast equipment. That’s powerful, and helpful to find and grow audiences on all screens.