Head of Client Services at M2A Media
No, this isn’t a paean to Canned Heat’s “Let’s Work Together”, but it could be the unofficial theme song for an industry that is going through a major period of transition. The cloud, be it public or private, is increasingly becoming the locus of operations for broadcasters and there is an inexorable shift towards the acquisition of cloud-based services and products. The cloud, in turn, provides a common platform to build these services upon. This common platform is further enriched by a framework of APIs and tools. This creates a technical lingua franca, where previously siloed products can effectively communicate with each other and opens up a universe of possibilities for collaboration. In addition, smoothing the path of collaboration, are broadcast standards, such as SCTE-35, SMPTE-2110 or CableLabs.
These common cloud-based architectures and broadcast standards continue to facilitate a growth in strategic partnerships between broadcast technology providers, who may have previously existed in isolation from each other. The outcome of these partnerships is a suite of complementary workflows, such as cloud-based editing software seamlessly feeding in public cloud based distribution services. The ease in which these formerly disparate services can interoperate with each other, which, had they been hardware, would have required miles of cabling and various discrete storage systems and tooling to move content around, is doing away with the need for expensive and time-consuming systems integrations.
This approach underpins the concept of TV-as-a-service (aka TVaaS, a pretty clunky acronym admittedly!). TVaaS is, broadly speaking, a set of cloud-based services delivering discrete components of a broadcast workflow and with the advent of TVaaS a broadcaster can now feasibly run an operation that is 100% cloud based. TVaaS allows a customer to choose best-in-class services that facilitate near endless scope for scalability, something which hardware could only match through eye watering amounts of capex spend.
The AWS Marketplace is perhaps the most visible realisation of the concept of TVaaS. This October M2A Media joined an increasing number of vendors in the Media & Entertainment space on AWS Marketplace, to offer cloud-based SaaS broadcast solutions, ranging from playout to live streaming, acquisition and distribution, DRM, video analytics and much more. A new, greenfield broadcaster, on a constrained budget, could quite easily launch a service with technology acquired almost entirely via the choices made on the AWS Marketplace! Buyers through the Marketplace can be assured that vendors are AWS approved and warranted to provide high levels of service and reliability. Pricing is also visible and transparent, reducing the need for tortuous negotiations and contracting.
As the number of vendors offering TVaaS solutions increases, there is a greater need to rise above the flock to convince a potential buyer of the value you can bring to them. At M2A we are realising that not only will this be achieved by offering brilliant products, it will also be achieved via strategic partnerships. Our recent partnership with InSync and Hiscale is evidence of this. We have integrated their cutting-edge technologies into our M2A CONNECT product to launch the very first cloud based, motion-compensated live frame rate converter, which operates on a pay-as-you-use basis. Customers choosing M2A CONNECT for the global acquisition and distribution of their live content can convert frame rates as needed and at scale, a video transition that was previously dependent on hardware. Another collaboration, this time with Ostmodern, means we can offer customers high-quality front-end solutions for their M2A orchestrated live content. Our partnership with AWS, via their Media Services and the aforementioned Marketplace, allows M2A to innovate at a pace that keeps our product and services, and subsequently, customers ahead of the market and able to meet the challenges of contemporary broadcast operations.
To recap, through collaboration we can deliver cross-vendor solutions and products that are proven to succeed. We can work together to assure the stability, security and reliability of our respective offerings. We can work together to deliver dynamic services at previously unseen levels of flexibility and choice. We can work together to make buyers a compelling offering, that reduces the overhead of wrangling multiple suppliers together, but also frees them from the restrictions of contracting to a single vendor platform. Working together allows the sharing of mutually beneficial opportunities, which encourages growth and fuels innovation. Working together and facilitating the sharing of ideas and knowledge is to the wider benefit of the broadcast industry.
Amidst the disruption and isolation of the pandemic, we’ve all realised the value of kinship and collaboration. Here at M2A we are taking that on board and are looking forward to a future of strategic partnerships, alliances and, hopefully, a new friend or two.
Come on now people, let’s work together.