Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Opinion: charting a cloud driven future

M2A Media's Matt Hughes asks, is it time for news broadcasting to shift to the cloud?

I’ve been keenly attuned to and hopeful for the evolving trends and challenges shaping the transition of news broadcast operations to the cloud. 2023 witnessed a remarkable uptick in this transformational journey. And now 2024 – a year where upcoming elections in the US and UK will keep us glued to our screens – ‘news in the cloud’ is emerging as a central theme at industry gatherings. NAB Show 2024 is the most recent example of this with AWS for M&E and NVIDIA powering the NAB Show LIVE News Desk. This extensive live production, which showcased a range of cloud workloads and solutions for newsrooms (in which M2A played its part), highlighted that the art of the possible is now a reality. But the strategies and priorities that are driving this transition are many and varied and I know full well the commitment needed to offer insights and solutions that empower broadcasters to navigate this paradigm shift effectively.

Trailblazers in cloud playout

Paramount’s ambitious endeavour to migrate playout of all programming to the public cloud resonates deeply with our vision of leveraging cloud technologies to enhance scalability and efficiency in media workflows. With an impressive 130 networks already originating in the cloud, including the innovative CBS Sports Golazo Network, Paramount Global exemplifies the transformative potential of cloud-based solutions in modern broadcast operations. Similarly, Sinclair’s strategic decision to transition playout of local stations to AWS underscores the growing recognition of cloud infrastructure’s pivotal role in reshaping the broadcasting landscape.

Matt Hughes, chief commercial officer at M2A Media

However, as highlighted by industry experts, technical challenges persist, particularly concerning the seamless integration of local live news content. The critical importance of fluidly transitioning between scheduled programming and unscheduled live events and the pain points experienced by broadcasters here is a challenge that M2A Media is actively addressing through its cloud-based video innovations by making the workflow process easier and more efficient with M2A CONNECT.

Cost predictions and workflow optimisation: M2A Media’s approach

Migrating playout and distribution of news content to the cloud necessitates more than just technical adjustments—it demands a holistic overhaul of workflows and infrastructure. While cloud adoption holds the promise of long-term cost efficiencies, accurately predicting cloud costs remains a daunting task for many broadcasters. I’ve witnessed first-hand the need to work closely with broadcasters and streamers to develop predictive models that offer insights into cloud spend, enabling informed decision-making and resource optimisation. The only way to do this accurately is to be open and honest about costs from both sides – the vendor and the broadcaster. 

Furthermore, we need to recognise the importance of streamlining workflows to maximise the benefits of cloud-based playout. By leveraging AWS’s suite of services, including AWS Elemental MediaConnect and AWS Elemental MediaPackage, we can empower broadcasters to seamlessly encode, package, and deliver live and on-demand video streams with unparalleled reliability and scalability. But how do we make this quick and easy, and faster than fast for breaking news? 

Innovation and collaboration in the cloud:  vision for the future of news

Despite the challenges, M2A Media remains steadfast in its commitment to driving innovation and efficiency in live event broadcasting. Given our heritage working with tier one sports brands, we recognise the parallels between live sports and news: achieving cost efficient cloud orchestration of video resources at scale being key to both. Our partnership with AWS allows us to harness cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to automate content processing and streamline distribution of content. By leveraging AWS Media Services and cloud-native architectures, we empower broadcasters to create compelling, multi-platform content experiences that gets breaking news on-air easily, efficiently, and quickly, while resonating with audiences. 

The success stories of industry leaders like FOX Corporation and the UK’s ITN underscore the transformative potential of cloud-based solutions in media production and delivery. By embracing the cloud, broadcasters can unlock new opportunities for creativity, efficiency, and audience reach. As we chart a course towards a cloud-driven future, we have had to ensure dedication to supporting broadcasters in their journey towards innovation and success. However, planning, clarity, and a complete understanding of costs are key to that success. 

Conclusion: embracing the cloud, empowering broadcasters

In conclusion, the transition of news broadcast operations to the AWS Cloud represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of the media industry. At M2A Media, we are proud to be at the forefront of this transformation, offering new solutions and deep expertise that helps broadcasters navigate the complexities of cloud adoption. We have learned from mission critical live sport events and as we look towards the future, we are committed to fostering collaboration, driving innovation, and enabling broadcasters to thrive in the dynamic and ever-changing media landscape. Together, let us embrace the cloud and redefine the future of news broadcasting.

Matt Hughes has enjoyed 26 years working in the broadcast, media and OTT space, more recently with a focus on high-growth start-ups. He began his career working for US station groups, later moving into commercial roles at Chyron, AWS Elemental, Conviva and V-Nova. Matt joined M2A in 2022 as chief commercial officer.