Interviews

When Benefits Outweigh Investments

Kevin Usher, Avid’s director-strategic solutions, storage and archive systems tells Vinita Bhatia that regional stations often think that deploying a MAM solution is expensive or that it might not give them vast business benefits, which is erroneous

What do broadcasters need to bear in mind while investing in future-proof MAM infrastructure?
Today, thousands of broadcast and media entertainment companies use media asset management (MAM) systems in their businesses. Some use MAM systems to manage their digital libraries and archives; others deploy it to streamline complex workflow challenges such as media ingest, media operations, media distribution and delivery. What they require is a solution that can easily support their business needs today and into the future.
Making a decision to invest in a MAM solution can be a complex and time consuming process requiring extensive internal workflow analysis to determine its needs and benefits. Inevitably, the benefits of deploying such a system will become apparent as broadcasters start to address the changing needs of their business. This includes increasing the number of media channels, improving productivity and efficiency across their entire business, and gaining total visibility of all the media assets for increased monetization of these assets.

Do you think these companies, especially regional broadcasters, hesitate from investing in sophisticated MAM systems because it calls for additional investment, like on-premises content storage management systems?
MAM is an infrastructure investment and requires careful consideration of the business need and more importantly what the business benefit will be. Some broadcasters may not be aware of the advantages and benefits of deploying a comprehensive MAM system. Smaller regional stations might have a perception that there is little advantage to be gained by deploying a MAM solution or might think that a MAM system is expensive.

This need not be the case as the benefits of deploying a MAM solution often outweigh its investment. Global market research indicates that the investment in MAM systems is increasing and is in part a consequence of the highly competitive nature of the media and entertainment market where broadcasters of all sizes need to become more agile, efficient and deliver more content to multiple channels. For instance, the elegance of Avid Interplay | MAM system and the Avid MediaCentral Platform is in their flexibility in solving the most demanding of media workflow and business challenges, cost effectively, from an entry level system all the way to a complete business transformational need.

Most companies are transitioning to cloud services for storage. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this move?

Just as consumers are no longer constrained by how and when they consume content, media organizations are no longer limited to working within the walls of their facility. Media professionals should have the tools that enable them to create, share, protect, optimize, and distribute content collaboratively from everywhere. And while cloud-enabled technology is an excellent tool, organizations should have the choice to tailor the environment in ways that work best for them.

Cloud services, such as storage, can provide a low cost means of storing archive material, or can be used for business continuity (disaster recovery) where media is backed up from the online production storage. Here, remote rendering services, delivery services and other benefits are also available. To take full advantage, media organizations need solutions that will allow them to efficiently and easily respond to a broad range of content creation and distribution demands with a single integrated platform, enabling production teams to collaborate in the cloud. This requires a comprehensive platform strategy. It often starts with the Avid MediaCentral Platform, which is a common services platform providing the underlying media services, connectivity, orchestration, and administrative capabilities to support the entire media value chain.

Talking about Avid, it recently announced Nexis, which is a software defined storage (SDS) platform. What do you mean by this?
SDS is a storage infrastructure that is managed and automated by intelligent software rather than by the storage hardware; it abstracts and simplifies the management of the underlying storage hardware. It is deployed with non-proprietary hardware and uses industry standard interfaces enabling storage to be virtualized into a single pool of shared resources and allocated dynamically with required composition of data services (i.e. capacity, bandwidth and protection).

Avid Nexis provides an elastic storage platform for any media workflow—it supports teams housed under one roof, and handles the most complex distributed productions. Few media storage system can provide the same levels of flexibility, scalability, control, and extensibility to Avid MediaCentral Platform applications and services that Nexis delivers.

Media professionals should have the tools that enable them to create, share, protect, optimize, and distribute content collaboratively from everywhere.
Media professionals should have the tools that enable them to create, share, protect,
optimize, and distribute content collaboratively from everywhere.

How does Avid plan to promote this in the Indian market?
Avid Nexis was announced at NAB 2016. Since then we have been working closely with our partners in India, supporting local customer facing events. Avid Nexis and the Avid MediaCentral Platform will be promoted through a variety of localised marketing initiatives as well as ongoing customer engagements via Avid’s key partners in India. We are now planning our presence at Broadcast India 2016 as well as other local events through this year.

A key concern for broadcasters when it comes to MAM installation is monetization of content lying on disparate systems and solutions. Can deployment of Nexis enable new revenue streams, besides improving collaboration and lowering multi-platform distribution costs?
Media, broadcast, and entertainment companies are facing relentless pressure to deliver higher operational efficiency. But today’s workflows across content creation through the digital media value chain often involve piecing together a puzzle of disparate solutions, services, and technologies from multiple providers.

To help our customers speed up workflows, collaborate, and extend media services to everyone, everywhere, Avid has introduced the MediaCentral Platform, an open, extensible, and customizable framework on which the entire Avid Everywhere vision is built. Avid Everywhere is Avid’s strategic vision for the future of the media and entertainment industry, centered on connecting creative professionals and media organizations with their audiences in powerful, efficient, collaborative, and profitable ways. This comprehensive ecosystem encompasses every aspect of the digital media value chain—from creation (including media production, collaboration and management) to consumption (including media distribution, monetization and
data analysis). The Avid MediaCentral Platform is underpinned by Avid’s next generation collaborative shared storage system Avid Nexis.

How will the broadcast infrastructure evolve in the next few years?
The unprecedented pace of change facing the media industry is putting tremendous pressure on business models. An organization’s ability to succeed depends upon how effectively they can work within the new media industry value chain.
At its simplest, the creative side of the value chain is fusing with the business (or monetization) side, causing the two previously separate components to be inexorably linked, and providing the opportunity for a more interactive, powerful, and efficient connection at every step from creation to consumption. From the way media is produced and managed to the methods used to protect, optimize, distribute, and analyze content, every part of the value chain is being affected. These changes have created enormous pressures, and opportunities, for media organizations and creative professionals. Broadcasters need a common platform that connects the creation and consumption pieces of the value chain fused together into a single integrated framework that flexibly adjusts for their needs. ‘Avid Everywhere’ is our vision for facilitating this process—for connecting creative professionals and media organizations with their audiences in a more powerful, efficient, collaborative, and profitable way.

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