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How to future-proof media production with a connected ecosystem of partners

Outsourcing services in colocation data centres will open up an array of new opportunities to establish crucial interconnections and ensure scalability, flexibility, and security writes Harry Pyant, content and media strategist, Telehouse Europe

From technology and cloud providers to CDNs and media companies, broadcasters rely on a complex ecosystem of partners to deliver high-quality digital content. All too often, however, their current infrastructure fails to house all these parties or securely handle and move large volumes of data. The reliance on legacy systems is still very much present in today’s broadcasting industry, however, more businesses are starting to realise the cost inefficiencies and the lack of scalability associated with this model. Many are turning to colocation as the answer and to help future-proof their businesses. So, what do they need to consider now to ensure the move is a success?

Creating business-critical interconnections

Media businesses and broadcasters require a huge number of interconnections to swiftly move content through pre and post production, and finally to the end user. Third-party editors, distributors and cloud platforms all have to be joined together and form a connected ecosystem that meets consumers’ high demands for instant video entertainment. The process of moving content is significantly easier and quicker when all these parties are in the same facility, which is especially important when live streaming to avoid annoying delays and glitches. Carrier-neutral colocation data centres offer the ability to connect privately with key players in the media value chain, including leading carriers and cloud service providers, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. This access to a bevy of business-critical content and technology providers is crucial to ensure uninterrupted transmissions and form a flexible environment for effective content exchange, management and distribution.

Ensuring scalability

On-premise infrastructure rarely provides the economies of scale. With the growing expectations for higher quality videos, it is unlikely that legacy systems will be able to handle the extra computing power needed for special effects, CGI, VR or HDR content much longer. Therefore, the possibility and flexibility to increase storage and bandwidth as and when the need arises should be high on the priority list for broadcasters looking into colocation. Alongside connectivity, extra capacity and always-on availability is the ultimate end goal for media businesses as they must ensure a reliable and resilient distribution of service now and in the future.

Mitigating cyber-risks

For 33 per cent of IT professionals, maintaining high levels of data security and regulatory compliance are the biggest challenges. As remote working has become more popular and cyber criminals launch more complex attacks, broadcasters need to transform their IT strategies to mitigate their cyber-risks and protect confidential content libraries. After all, the latest movie trailer or the next episode of the top-rated series can be highly valuable to hackers looking to cause the most reputational damage. In the case of live-streamed videos, media businesses simply cannot afford any network downtime or the associated data breach fines. As new technologies are adopted, securing media assets should be top of the list to ensure compliance. That is alongside the security of each ecosystem partner as cybercriminals can infiltrate the systems through them.

Data centre with easy access

Media companies and broadcasters often have to carry out essential IT checks and maintenance to continuously guarantee smooth delivery of content. Thus, the location of a data centre becomes an important factor to facilitate easy physical access at short notice. For those with established headquarters in London, the choice to colocate nearer the office will feel natural and obvious to overcome intermittent connections and ensure low latency. Colocation facilities in strategic locations will also help media businesses expand their international connections easier and move to new markets, facilitating further growth in the future.

Protecting the environment

According to Circular Online, over a third of UK consumers say they only purchase products and services from companies with strong environmental credentials. This means that eyes are now on every business, including broadcasters, to provide evidence of the initiatives taken to minimise their carbon footprint. The media industry requires enormous amounts of power to store and deliver high quality content, not to mention the lighting, cameras, post-production and costumes. When choosing a colocation provider, broadcasters should demand the evidence of their green initiatives, such as ISO certifications, using renewable energy or zero water cooling systems, recycling servers, and make a decision to migrate to the one that will help them achieve their environmental social and governance (ESG) goals.

Ready for the future of media production

As people consume and demand more content than ever before, the very traditional broadcasting and media industry is rightfully looking to future-proof their infrastructure to meet the growing expectations. Outsourcing services in colocation data centres will certainly open up an array of new opportunities to establish crucial interconnections and ensure scalability, flexibility, and security. The shift to colocation will also help transform their digital and IT strategies to reinvent the future of pre and post production, creating even better viewing experiences for us all.