The Cloud

The Cloud War: Battlefront IBC (1 of 4)

At IBC2019, the biggest international conference for the Media & Entertainment industry, there were some major themes:

At IBC2019, the biggest international conference for the Media & Entertainment industry, there were some major themes:

  • OTT (Over Top Top) experiences (all Android-based)
  • STB (Set Top Box) tech
  • Video distribution via the cloud
  • Moving production/post-production workloads and workstations to the cloud
  • Automated metadata for video from AI/ML

Yes, there were many satellite, coax cable, camera manufacturers, real-time virtual sets and props - even many media server providers - but the secret story underpinning much of IBC is hidden is the hidden battle for supremacy in the Cloud. For many of the innovations debuted at IBC the data has to flow through or be stored somewhere - and that somewhere is the cloud.

With this in mind I set out to examine four of the players in cloud:

  1. Amazon (AWS)
  2. Microsoft (Azure)
  3. Google (GCP)
  4. IBM

Cloud hosting graph - competing platforms

While we can see there is significant market dominance with AWS (47% per Gartner in 2019), the battle for market dominance lies in the power of the ecosystem: the products, services, and partners. To borrow terminology from the mobile world where a similar battle was fought - and settled: it's all about the apps.

The actual terminology in play right now is "partners", with partners being primarily defined as ISV (Independent Software Vendors) or software companies built on the appropriate cloud stack. As of the time of writing this article Metal Toad is the world's only M&E specialized cloud consulting partner, so it's not surprising the consulting ecosystem is not more front-end center.

So how are these players doing in the M&E space?

1. Amazon (AWS)

Amazon AWS event photo

The clear front-runner in both market share, partners and simply buzz. The AWS booth was the busiest of all of the four cloud providers I visited and they featured the following partners in their ecosystem:

  • Accurateplayer - A video player for broadcast, post-production and media.
  • Veset - Cloud playout software-as-a-service solutions.
  • Grabyo - Video editing and publishing platform built for live, social and mobile.
  • Deluxe - Digital Media Technologies, Post Production, Asset Management, Distribution, DI/Telecine Color, and Visual FX
  • Adstream -  Secure Ad delivery, Multichannel Content Management & Distribution, Workflow Management, Digital Asset Management
  • Meta Data Systems - Film & Broadcast Content Metadata Platform.
  • Reachengine (Levels Beyond) - Media Production Management
  • Overcast HQ - Storage and collaboration video platform.
  • Ownzones - Media Supply Chain in the Cloud.
  • Ftrack - Project management and media review platform.
  • Vidispine - Custom media supply chain in the cloud.
  • Insys - Technology for recorded & live channels streaming.

(we have a public Google doc with more data on these companies in a single view)

The takeaway for AWS, other than still leading the pack was a concentration in media management software. Not a surprising showcase given the event itself but there was not a lot of variety in the partners that could potentially address other business or IT needs that all businesses (including media and entertainment) have.

In the rest of this four part series I'll be examining the other four cloud providers, their partner ecosystem and how they all stack up.

Part 2: Azure

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