The journey to the public cloud for operators and MVPDs

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By Meir Lehrer, VP Portfolio Development, MediaKind

Operators and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) have long sought to fulfill the needs of their TV customers with compelling media offerings. It’s no simple equation: they must deliver the best content with high quality and reliability while meeting the demand for millions of connected subscribers. The good news? The transformation from on-premises to the cloud enables operators to look above and beyond their current offerings and seek a competitive advantage. They can launch new services at speed and deliver exciting innovation without the limitations of multi-year processes typical of current offerings.

This need for agility drives the adoption of streaming and cloud-native approaches for primary video use cases. Operators and MVPDs can now handle much of their media-centric operations via the public cloud or hybrid on-premises solutions such as Azure Stack. These options remove the existing fixed-function infrastructure and enable new infrastructure to be created much more rapidly. However, these advantages come with their own challenges, including the capacity to master such technologies and their associated cost.

Pointing to a cloud-based future

Forecasts from analysts indicate a tidal wave growing for the adoption of cloud-native technologies and, more specifically, in the public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid developments. Across all industries, cloud-native deployments are soaring. 91% of companies have now adopted Kubernetes, and 75% use it within enterprise production environments, according to a recent StackRock inc report. ABI Research also predicts telco cloud revenues to triple between 2020-2025, reaching $29.3 billion.

While many in the industry point to the public cloud as the oracle of digital transformation, how do we explain some company’s slower approach to making this journey? One reason is the cost analysis when considering these different deployment options. It’s widely agreed that public cloud solutions are quicker and more flexible, but they appear to be more expensive than on-premises or appliance-based solutions.

However, to fully understand the costs, it’s crucial to undertake a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis that covers the complete cost structure. Factors such as hardware, infrastructure, cooling, services, redundancy, licenses, upgrades – and some services costs – must be considered to accurately compare the cost of running dedicated infrastructure versus running software in the public cloud. Egress costs from the public cloud to consumers have long been a point of particular focus, but through the use of hybrid cloud technologies can be greatly offset. Once a fair TCO calculation has been made, it becomes clear that a good share of public cloud costs is actually ‘hidden’ compared with on-premises models.

Public cloud solutions are becoming more cost-efficient by the day. Recent findings from Quortex indicate public cloud costs have consistently declined by 15% year-on-year for the last eight years – a trend that will continue to support the move to cloud-native software approaches.

Embracing the shift to the public cloud

The wholesale consumer migration to streaming-based platforms has recalibrated the operator landscape, encouraging a closer association with web-based technologies. By embracing these technologies, operators can open up exciting opportunities to enable faster innovation and introduce new offerings to the end consumer. This is something MediaKind’s SVP Global Sales, Damien Montessuit, explains further in this recent blog post.

This change goes hand-in-hand with cloud-native technologies, enabling the decoupling of legacy dedicated infrastructure approaches. In doing so, operators can turbo boost the speed of their digital evolution while providing flexibility for hybrid deployments. MediaKind predicts a year-over-year increase of 15% for streaming service adoption with a corresponding 8% year-over-year decrease in legacy delivery technologies in the telco and cable headend market.

Opening the floodgates for SaaS adoption

The migration to the public cloud brings with it a natural extension to software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments. The value of SaaS for operators and MVPDs is well known, offering flexibility, a compelling price point, and ease of operations. However, the adoption of SaaS requires a slightly more radical shift in thinking, as its functionality and operation differ significantly from other deployment models.

Regardless, operators and MVPDs are increasingly making this shift to adapt to the reality of today’s landscape and market needs and as an opportunity to future-proof their business models. MediaKind’s Principal Technologist, Tony Jones, outlines a few examples of how SaaS can be applied for media use cases in this blog post, including live events as a service, direct-to-consumer (D2C), and disaster recovery.

Anticipating this trend, MediaKind began investing in cloud-native technologies as early as 2014 and now boasts a complete, mature, and award-winning cloud-native portfolio serving all media segments and benefitting from all the capabilities listed above. The end-to-end MediaKind portfolio includes video contribution, distribution, and cloud ingest solutions, media processing, and consumer delivery, and consumer experience and monetization. They can be deployed by operators and MVPDs, content owners, and channel originators either for on-premises, cloud, or hybrid scenarios.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of the public cloud, particularly for operators and MVPD use cases, feel free to drop me a DM on LinkedIn!