MediaKind – A new cloud roadmap for telcos and TV operators

MediaKind – A new cloud roadmap for telcos and TV operators


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MediaKind – A new cloud roadmap for telcos and TV operators

Journal Article from MediaKind

Fri 16, 09 2022

Guillermo Legorburo,

Directory, Sales Engineering, Media Kind

For many telcos and TV operators, the end goal is clear. There are potentially huge rewards for delivering high-quality, personalized media services to their subscribers as an add-on to existing fixed broadband and mobile packages. They have a common ambition to move to entirely unicast OTT streaming on smart devices and TVs. The first step towards realizing this end goal is to transform their legacy business models and maintain the value of their commercially important media functions.

Yet the reality is more complex. Media delivery is expensive and complicated to enable through networks in the lowest possible latency and at the requisite quality. Traditionally, both telcos and operators have built legacy systems with multiple generations of set-top-boxes. However, the time for transformation has arrived to correspond with the rapid pace of innovation seen across the media industry and make a move toward cloud architecture and the benefits it brings.

Transitioning from legacy infrastructure is rarely straightforward, and the move to the cloud is no different. This scale of transformation requires a delicate balancing act between making full use of the opportunities provided by the public cloud to ascend the role of a service aggregator while continuing to serve potentially millions of customers still using legacy hardware. Although public cloud migration is well underway for many telcos and TV operators, a long journey awaits in fully modernizing their operations and services as they continue to operate and integrate legacy assets and systems. In short, telcos and TV operators require a new cloud roadmap.

The value of the public cloud

The biggest challenge in transitioning to the public cloud lies in assessing and successfully addressing the market potential of any given media service offering. Telcos and TV operators have myriad decisions, including which customers to target, what end users are willing to pay, and what USPs they have over their competition. This complex migration and transformation also impact ‘make or buy’ decisions; in other words, balancing between areas in which they can build themselves versus buying from a trusted partner.

The decision between building cloud-based solutions in-house or working with key media vendors and technology experts plays a considerable role in the overall public cloud business case. Although many larger telcos and TV operators have traditionally gone down the path of in-house development, history has shown that this often, and with very few exceptions, limits their ability to take advantage of rapid innovation and respond to changes and emerging technologies.

Added with the bottom-line fact that major growth opportunities are often relatively rare for telcos and TV operators and their media services, it’s no longer cost-effective for them to undertake their own developments and invest in and deploy innovations in a timely way. Therefore, the logical choice is to partner with media technology experts fluent in public cloud technology and run their software in all the public cloud providers.

Once the market for growing a media service has been identified, it’s then vital to create a blueprint that maps out the journey from legacy infrastructure to the cloud. TV operators and telcos need an agreed architecture and journey route with trusted technology partners guiding them region-by-region. But again, there are further decisions that come into play.  Do they select a central solution that follows a single blueprint to reach scale advantages and cost benefits (as well as lower production and operating costs)? Or do they opt for a decentralized and more custom solution with options to tailor it and differentiate locally or regionally?

True progress requires a radical shift in mindset – that of a migration from one-time CAPEX purchases to rolling OPEX, based on software and public cloud infrastructure. One of the main challenges operators face is building a business case around multi-cloud offerings. It’s especially important given the sheer number of channels they operate. Taking to the cloud is straightforward for a direct-to-consumer (D2C) service that operates just a handful of channels. But it's a different ballpark for the operator who runs 300-400 live channels. For them, it’s a case of walking before they can run full steam ahead into a cloud-based future. By starting the migration to the cloud with 15-20% of their channels, they can build enough validation and realism to make the initial journey before completely embracing the public cloud.

Opportunities as aggregators of media services

The panacea for operators is to reach a true unicast state. Once achieved, the opportunity to deliver highly personalized and targeted service with technologies such as Dynamic Ad Insertion is made much more feasible, including the potential to send individual adverts to viewers on a one-to-one basis. Such functionalities heighten the monetization potential of their assets. This can be seen both in terms of building loyal customer bases and expanding media offerings with new services such as gaming, metaverse, and other interactive formats.

Another exciting prospect for telcos and TV operators in the media space is the prospect of transcending the role of super aggregators. Today’s market is already awash full of existing and new streaming services, while a growing number of D2C offerings from brands and content owners are continually being rolled out month on month. Yet far too much of the content consumption experience is spent dedicated to searching for content rather than watching it. By aggregating these brands within their own platforms, telcos and TV operators can offer an easy way to cross-search the content their viewers are demanding without any need to dip in and out of multiple, separate interfaces. Although challenges remain regarding overcoming content rights, licensing issues, and integrating with content owners, there is an exciting opportunity to create a differentiated look and form within a consolidated service, utilizing a bespoke UX and UI.

The journey to the public cloud continues

Telcos and TV operators have a complicated path to navigate as they embark on the monumental transition of their legacy infrastructure and operational mindset. However, many opportunities are available for those who get them right. By relying on trusted technology partners that can take them towards ideal multi-tenant, public cloud platforms, they can focus on acquiring assets and licensing of their own that can drive them towards their future as media service aggregators.

The possibilities in this future are yet to be benchmarked. However, from TV and films to gaming to news and entertainment, the gateway is now open for telcos and operators to become the consumer home for all streaming experiences and trusted media providers for audiences worldwide. By trusting the roadmaps laid out and relying on public cloud-based technologies, a new and exciting future for media delivery may be closer than they realize.

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