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Cloud Migration and the Future of Broadcasting

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Learn more about cloud migration at Streaming Media East Connect 2021.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: What can broadcasters do today to be prepared for the future?

Peter Wharton: One of the things we're seeing is people moving to the cloud. I've been having conversations with customers who, three or four years ago, were not even looking to cloud. And even two years ago dabbled in it and said, "Not for us." And now even broadcasters and station groups are moving to the cloud because they see the value. And because now more and more of their viewers are watching through OTT platforms and therefore watching from the cloud, it makes a lot more sense for them to put their origin and everything else they're doing in the cloud than leaving it on premises where it has to go to the cloud and make that a failure point. So we're seeing this migration to the cloud, we're seeing a rapidly snowball as it happens. And so that enables the opportunity to run pure software solutions that are running basically without hardware, when you need them, the way you need them, and only when you want them. And I think that's the key there: flexibility.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: You know, it's interesting. I was talking to one of our speakers yesterday about the cloud and, you know, even a couple of years ago, at IBC and NAB, you'd walk around those shows and there was still some resistance among broadcasters to the cloud. Whereas those of us in the streaming industry, that's been something we've embraced for years now. What do you think the tipping point was, that made broadcasters finally realize that the cloud was where they needed to turn for these solutions? Or was it simply what you just said, the fact that they saw it working in OTT and realized that they needed to make it work for them?

Peter Wharton: Well, so first the way it works in OTT is not necessarily the way it needs to work for broadcasters, because broadcasters have a different set of requirements, different distribution, and the other challenge they have is they have legacy, complex, archaic workflows in some cases that they have managed to create over the last 40 years that they want to bring with them. And so part of it has been a cultural shift. One of the major broadcasters we're working with right now tried to move their first workflows to the cloud. That didn't work. They tried to start a new only-OTT in the cloud that kind of worked. But now they're doing a total rethink about , "How do I move to the cloud and leave all that baggage behind that I've built over the years and start clean, really do a Greenfield kind of conceptual, how should I build a new media factory and ecosystem in the cloud?" Because I think that's really key.

And so we're seeing that adoption. We're seeingactual companies that have done this successfully starting with discovery, who moved all their playout into the cloud. When I was seeing like ViacomCBS, who went and bought a whole facility that HBO left when they consolidated in Hauppauge to move their entire operations, and now it's become their cloud control center because it doesn't make as much sense to be a playout facility as it does to be a hub for managing things. And so you see this shift of customers where they're starting to trust the cloud, and we're still at a tipping point because they're still moving a lot of traditional workflows and a lot of what we call lift and shift into the cloud.

But the next phase is reinvention. The next phase is when they really stop doing things the way they have been doing them and actually think from the ground up, "How should we be doing this?"

And I think what Todd and Neil talked about before--I actually believe that latency should stop being a problem. And this is me personally, but we actually can find new ways of building models where we sacrifice that latency to create entirely new economic models with a whole new set of capabilities. And at the same time, I actually find ways to fix that latency. Like maybe we forget transport streams and we're HLS end-to-end. So I think there's an opportunity here to totally reinvent how we do media and that's going to change the world once we go to the cloud.

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