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.
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?