Media outfits seek cloud agility amid tight market

More than three-quarters (77%) of media and entertainment or M&E businesses in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region are considering moving away from large, legacy cloud providers in favor of more portable, cloud-native setups due to cost pressures.

A study commissioned by Akamai and conducted by Forrester Consulting surveyed 225 respondents from M&E businesses globally, majority of which either influence or have final decision-making authority over streaming architectures and/or cloud workflows within their organisations.

M&E businesses in APJ were early cloud adopters, with more than 93% of respondents reporting they are successful with cloud-based technology, 21% reporting their cloud journeys are progressing quicker than expected, 54% stating that this progression was much faster than anticipated. 

This uptake has been driven by high customer expectations, with 75% of surveyed APJ M&E businesses reporting their users expect zero downtime, buffering, or playback errors.

Also, 46% of APJ M&E businesses also strongly agreed that their industry is more pressured to digitally transform than most – the highest among all regions surveyed. 

Looking ahead, however, the study highlighted concerns around the ability of existing cloud infrastructures to future-proof the M&E industry’s growth.

Rising costs are having a notable impact on APJ M&E businesses’ cloud strategies. Among respondents, 77% are considering moving away from traditional cloud providers due to cost pressures, while 67% report the costs are difficult for their business to manage long-term.

Increasing data volume is also highlighted in the study as complicating respondents’ abilities to further adopt cloud infrastructures. 

Two-fifths (40%) of respondents anticipate more than 50% growth in data volumes over the next three years, and 67% agree that data volume complicates data center adoption.

Findings suggest that cloud provider partners must evolve to meet M&E customers’ data demands. As many consider refactoring their cloud provider relationships, they seek partners to meet them where they are and help with their cost, data egress, and hosting needs.

At 60%, storage is the most common streaming use case for cloud services according to respondents, followed by performance analysis at 49%. 

Further, 44% of APJ’s M&E businesses used cloud for distribution – the highest figure among all regions. 

Meanwhile, nearly half of the organisations surveyed are also using the cloud for other key functions like content protection (DRM/watermarking), as well as billing and subscription management.

Jay Jenkins, CTO of Akamai Cloud Computing, said that as more content becomes available to consumers through over-the-top (OTT) services, M&E businesses need to store and manage distribution of this content on a cloud that can scale with their changing needs.

Facing a fast-paced, crowded market, M&E players in APJ are looking to cloud providers to help them improve the customer experience (CX) and retain a competitive advantage. 

Three in every five (61%) of respondents said they have seen or would expect to see CX improvements thanks to cloud investments, and 60% have realised or would expect increased agility to generate and access real-time insights. 

More than half (54%) of respondents also expect cloud to improve their ability to scale operations.