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Entertaining with the hybrid multi-cloud

Gone are the days when you need to reach home on time just to catch your favorite TV show, or are limited to the playlist of the CDs that you own. Thanks to the rise of the internet and streaming technology, consumers are expecting entertainment providers to deliver on-demand services and new content frequently.

The demand for instant gratification is more pronounced in Southeast Asia. According to a recent report, the online media sector (which includes video, music, and game streaming) in the region has grown to nearly four times in the past four years to reach US$14.2 billion in 2019. This figure is expected to continue increasing to reach US$32 billion by 2025.

Given the huge potential of the market, even non-traditional players such as e-commerce giant Tencent and ride-hailing company Grab have made efforts to break into the market. With such stiff competition, delivering an excellent customer experience on top of offering good products is key to winning the hearts of consumers.

Data driving entertainment

Data supplies entertainment providers with information about customers’ preferences and consumption habits can offer highly personalized experiences and even guide the development of new content. For instance, Netflix decided to make an American version of House of Cards partially because it knew its subscribers’ reception towards the BBC version and movies featuring Kevin Spacey.

However, data needs to be managed well in order to ensure operations are smooth. This is because of the huge volume of data each entertainment content needs, especially if they are of high quality or use special effects. DreamWorksShrek movie that was produced in 2001, for example, required 6TB of data in total. In contrast, a single animated sequence from 2019’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World needed 400-500 TB of data across 500 million or more files.

To add to the data volume challenge, consumers are expecting more from entertainment providers. They demand instant access to programming with uninterrupted streaming, and that such services are available 24/7. They also expect visual effects in movies or shows to be flawless, and for the next sequels to have even more mind-blowing effects. As for sports broadcast, fans not only expect to see every moment of a live game, but also instant replays and to be given nonstop, real-time statistics about individual players and teams. It may not be long till fans demand to see the live game and similar plays from games in the past, as well as more granular statistics instantly too.

Why a cloudy solution is good for entertainment providers

Meeting consumer demands now and in the future, will require entertainment providers to have a hybrid multi-cloud approach to service delivery that can provide the levels of scalability and flexibility needed to meet unpredictable consumer demands, and do so more cost-effectively than existing platforms. As entertainment providers are also expected to produce and distribute content in a faster and more frequent manner, their hybrid multi-cloud should also:

  • Empower production workflows by enabling them to optimize and take advantage of the massive amount of content-creation data across multiple, simultaneous productions which may sit in different IT environments (i.e., various public clouds, private cloud or on-premise). 
  • Help maximize creative development by ensuring on-demand availability of filmmaking or game development data for artists’ creation, iterations, and reviews.
  • Streamline operations by simplifying and automating data management to maximize production uptime.

To ensure that their hybrid multi-cloud can deliver such values, entertainment providers need to ensure that the cloud services they intend to use can easily integrate with their existing tools and applications, technology business units inside these organizations need to integrate with their artistic units in order to fully understand their requirements. The chosen platforms should also enable efficiency at all stages of the media workflows (i.e., ingest, manage, produce, process, deliver, archive, and transact). Most importantly, these solutions must scale easily and quickly to grow performance and capacity as required to help entertainment providers keep pace with rapidly growing business while keeping costs under control.  A hybrid multi-cloud approach to enabling entertainment businesses ensures peak demands are met without human intervention and the latest public cloud platforms are available without data gravity problems involved in moving data from one cloud to the next.

As consumers in Southeast Asia become increasingly connected, they are becoming used to living in an on-demand world and expecting new content or services to be delivered to them frequently. Entertainment providers should, therefore, leverage a strategy based on hybrid multi-cloud as it provides the scalability, elasticity, availability, and continuity needed to deliver the high standards of performance and responsiveness that consumers demand, while managing their huge volumes of data effectively and cost-efficiently.