As broadcasting moves from its artisan cottage industry to highly efficient production lines of the future, understanding business needs is key for engineers, and recognizing the commercial motivations of CEO’s and business owners is crucial to building a successful media platform.
This in-depth White Paper summarizes an international study to highlight and prioritize the needs of business owners. The paper concludes with “The Blueprint for Success”, a two-part strategy to simplify, automate and optimize any workflow giving streamlined benefits to meet the needs of today’s broadcasters.
Oxymoron for CEO's
Averaging the costs of hardware over its useful lifetime is a practice broadcast engineers have been engaged in for many years. But with the speed viewer requirements are changing, procuring more kit with the aim of reducing costs is an oxymoron in the eyes of many CEO’s.
Cloud computing significantly reduces the fixed overheads of a business due to the pay-as-you-go model meaning the business can buy new resource as its needed to facilitate the increased sales, in other words, the overheads are directly proportional to income. The business no longer buys depreciating assets such as routers.
The opposite is also true, should sales reduce, businesses can switch off parts of their Cloud infrastructure to reduce costs without any detriment to the rest of the service.
CEO’s are not looking for small incremental changes to their costs. Technology changes are disruptive to a broadcaster and to justify the interruption the cost reductions must be massive, and eighty percent reduction in costs is not unheard of. But for this to happen, a complete mindset change must occur in the broadcast center, especially with the engineers.
Expensive Marketing Ploys
To achieve the efficiencies CEO’s are demanding, broadcast engineers must seriously look at every single process within a workflow to determine if it can be made to work more efficiently.
To leverage the cost savings of Cloud systems, the software supplied from the vendor must be written from the ground up. Taking existing code, executing on a standalone server, and running in Amazon Web Services is not Cloud computing, it’s just a very expensive marketing ploy. Cloud servers must be capable of scaling horizontally as sales increase to meet peak demands, sometimes minute by minute.
CEO’s are driving their sales departments to increase purchases today, and consequently, they need to meet demands now. Clients and viewers are not going to sit around waiting. There’s nothing worse than winning a big contract only to find it fails as the hardware has a six-month lead time.
Automate, Automate, Automate
Next, CEO’s want to increase productivity, the implication being more can be achieved for less money spent. Engineers must analyze and scrutinize every process to determine if it can be executed more efficiently. Investigations are not just limited to broadcast workflows – the whole business must be considered.
If a broadcaster is selling advertising space then it makes sense for the playout system to be communicating effectively with the invoicing department, each time an advert is broadcast an entry on an invoice is made. This should be a completely automated process requiring no user input, resulting in a massive productivity increase and cost saving.
At the end of the day, CEO’s want to increase their market share, or put more succinctly, increase their sales at the expense of their competitors. Broadcast engineers are in a unique position as they understand the current workflows and are at the cutting edge of technology, so they can work out how to integrate innovative ideas into the system.
For engineers to continue to navigate the treacherous waters of technological advances in broadcasting they must understand the whole business and bigger picture. But to be pro-active and essential to the company, they must understand the problem the CEO is trying to solve.
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