What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?

Matthew Mikell, Cloud Evangelist | 3/29/2012 | 16 comments

Matthew Mikell
In the media and entertainment industry, cloud is breaking new frontiers of content delivery that few lawyers, broadcasters, or studios had considered -- and its full potential is just starting to be discovered.

Impact on the industry
As 2012 has been called the "Year of the Cloud," we can certainly expect a new wave of winners, losers, and lawsuits. Like Napster 10 years ago, new technology or delivery models have a way of making the elephants dance.

Netflix, a more recent player in a David-and-Goliath story, contributed to Blockbuster’s decline by countering with the speed, efficiency, and agility of streaming movies on-demand. DVD sales peaked in 2004 and they have stalled ever since.

Just last month, upstart Optus won a landmark "cloud" copyright case in an Australian court, offering streaming video of rugby matches via mobile and bypassing a $153 million exclusive broadcasting deal secured by Telstra. Just another example of technology turning existing business models upside down or inside out.

Cloud savings
The benefits of cloud have not been lost upon the studios -- simplifying the storage, collaboration, and production processes. Some are forecasting tens of millions in production savings from cloud computing.

“Companies will naturally gravitate to the business models that make the most sense,” says Chad Andrews, Dell’s Global Marketing Manager for Telco, Media, and Entertainment:

    Currently, companies have to buy enough hardware to meet their peak needs, and often this translates to far from optimal provisioning.

    Take a large rendering farm as an example. A large animation company may have heavy need just prior to a release, but may not see anything near the demand on resources for many months. In instances like these, it makes far more sense to rent what you need. Cloud promises this more rational model and it does so beneath application stacks that can integrate business systems, communications platforms, and workflows...

    Not only are we looking at better mousetraps, but better mousetraps that can be configured and deployed in hours instead of weeks or months.

What lies ahead?
Today, cable providers aggregate and package channels for us. In the future, we could expect a larger media intermediary or "broker" to emerge, which will aggregate and rationalize all the cloud entertainment offerings into a single experience, account, payment, and password.

Instead of having a patchwork of accounts and sign-ons across YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others, brokers will consolidate media cloud offerings.

So, is 2012 the year of the media cloud? What entertainment services are still missing?

View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
impactnow   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/29/2012 10:20:46 PM
Entertainment on the fly

The possibilities are truly endless I just got a kindle and the opportunity to stream video to devises and store on the cloud and watch anytime is incredibly powerful, it creates and entertainment environment on the fly.

tinym   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/30/2012 10:21:02 AM
Re: Entertainment on the fly
@Impactnow Isn't it neat to live in the future?
JPoe   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/31/2012 9:46:01 AM
Re: Entertainment on the fly
Except: where are the silver jumpsuits?
tinym   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/30/2012 10:28:43 AM
Streaming is the future
I think streaming content is the future of entertainment.  I also believe the cable industry will wait as long as possible to offer a la carte channels via a single sign-on service. I suspect broadband availability will hinder adoption of such services.  Why move forward when you can keep earning revenue from folks who don't care about streaming content?  Building out infrastructure to support it is expensive...

I like what Netflix has done for the industry.  I like that there is a streaming content industry.  
syedzunair   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/30/2012 4:06:44 PM
Re: Streaming is the future
I agree, streaming is the future of entertainment. It gives you the provision of viewing content based on your demands instead of switching to & fro on the TV to find a program that suits your interests. 
megadl   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/31/2012 4:56:18 AM
Re: Streaming is the future
Putting media on cloud could potentially be a good solution for reducing piracy. If people can get what they want, wherever they are, they would be more likely to get it from the official source, provided if the price is right. Im thinking that there might be a correlation between the prices of the entertainment industry and piracy. Plainly put, prices need to be jacked up to make up for piracy, which results in more piracy. By making entertainment available for just about anyone anywhere at the right price, cloud usage could be the future for the entertainment industry.
JPoe   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/31/2012 9:45:22 AM
Re: Streaming is the future

Me too. This has turned out to be kind of a big deal in our place. Who knew? The big take-away for me is that I like the whole streaming thing.
Pedro Gonzales   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/31/2012 1:14:30 PM
future is here
I think the future is already here, music, games, video are being stored in the cloud and being distributed among various types of portable devices.  I think what is still missing all data and communication come from a single source with a single account, making access to all these data much simpler.  At the same time, making these tools more universal(lower the cost of portable devices and services) more competition to bring better services for users.
Henrisha   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   4/2/2012 3:57:06 AM
Re: future is here
I agree. A lot of firms have moved to cloud and so far so good. Improvements could still be introduced, of course, as what Pedro mentioned. Coming up with a universal portal of some sort that would allow the user to access all of these different services in one place would definitely add to the convenience of the whole thing.
Damian Romano   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/31/2012 2:07:11 PM
I'm kind of with the rest of the folks, we're certainly not far off. Streaming movies, music, etcetera is basically already here. As far as the emerging "broker," I tend to this it'll be one of the major players currently out there. Amazon anyone?
white.space   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   3/31/2012 11:13:16 PM
I dream of Jeannie in several places
Instead of having a patchwork of accounts and sign-ons across YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others, brokers will consolidate media cloud offerings.

How do you see this panning out?

Also: do you think the line between content produced for cable television, and content produced for consumption across other media channels, thinning? Netflix has always promoted Indie movies, for example, and now the company is doing 'Arrested Development'.

Do you see more and more service providers getting into the content business?
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MGMikell   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   4/2/2012 8:35:47 PM
Re: I dream of Jeannie in several places

I could see this panning out in several forms.  That broker would be the single subscription & sign-on, sending out payments to other providers based on consumption or other metric.  It might be pay-as-you-go but just single sign-on and rich movie search capabilities.   Much like cable providers consolidate programming and negotiate contracts with entities like AMC or HBO.  Of course, you sign a cable agreement and plenty of content is missing.  The broker might reach out and set agreements with likes of Hulu.com or Amazon.com to go that 'last mile' of media syndication.     

I have Netflix but there are numerous movies only licensed to iTunes (i.e. Pirates of the Caribbean).  Same is true for a TV series that go exclusivity on Hulu but might not show on cable or Netflix for another year.  Furthermore, the metadata inside these movies is tremendous and we've not really seen a provider offer real search capability, that would be value-add of a broker.  Chad could talk for hours about detail captured on each film.  

Now, in this case I used of rugby programming from Australia, you had to be a Telstra subscriber to see the game live.  A media 'broker' might now take those games direct from the cloud, bundle other sporting events, and market it around the globe. Furthermore, if you've been an expat overseas, it is impossible to get 'back home' programming.   (Missed first 3 seasons of The Wire while overseas)

Matthew @ Dell
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tinym   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   4/3/2012 8:35:22 AM
Re: I dream of Jeannie in several places
Thanks for elaborating. It sounds like you've got a few good plans. I'm looking forward to the future of streaming content, whatever it looks like then. Content provider agreements seem to be a constant issue with Netflix streaming.
soozyg   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   8/8/2012 5:30:00 PM
Re: I dream of Jeannie in several places

You've made an important point.

Of course, you sign a cable agreement and plenty of content is missing.  The broker might reach out and set agreements with likes of Hulu.com or Amazon.com to go that 'last mile' of media syndication. 

When I iived in New York City (1988-2000), buildng residents did not have the choice of cable companies; the cable contract was made with the building (Board). I don't know if it's still that way, but if it is, then I don't think the cloud would make a difference to the residents if the buiiding is the one choosing from the cloud menu...unless the cloud makes everything substantially cheaper.
LuFu   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   4/4/2012 1:40:52 PM
Cloud convenience versus quality
Cloud entertainment is inevitable but the rush for the audiophiles and videophiles may be delayed. While DVD sales may be on the decline and the Blockbusters and local videostores look like roadkill, Blu-ray sales are on the upswing. The reason is due to the image and audio quality that is still difficult to match via Netflix streaming video. (Most movies are still streamed at 720p rather than 1080p although that's changing.) The bandwidth for streaming is still limited in many parts of the U.S.

Blu-ray will last a while longer but as streaming quality improves, content licensing and payment issues get sorted out, then the convenience factor will take over and even the diehards cave.
MGMikell   What Does Cloud Mean for the Future of Entertainment?   4/27/2012 9:58:54 AM
Court overturns Optus ruling
Just an update on status of Optus and recent several appeals by media companies.

Telstra, the NRL and AFL have won their appeal against Optus's online broadcasting of Australian football and rugby league games, re-establishing Telstra's role as the nation's dominant online sports broadcaster.

This year, Optus won a landmark Federal Court case, which allowed it to continue operating its TV Now system, whereby viewers could watch video streams of AFL and NRL matches on their smartphones or computers as close as two minutes behind the live TV broadcast.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/telstra-afl-nrl-win-live-footy-court-battle-20120427-1xoth.html#ixzz1tFUY0NSr

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