A Reflection on NAB: Media Industry Trends, Challenges and How the Industry is Responding

posted in: Blogs

After getting back from the NAB show this year, I have been thinking about some of the media industry trends that present changes, as well as the opportunities. The industry as a whole has been in a state of change: the content itself is rapidly becoming larger, workflows are changing and becoming more dispersed, the way we archive media is changing and the way we consume media is evolving. This blog will highlight some of the changes I found interesting, as well as look at some of the ways they are being addressed.

The size of the media we work with is rapidly growing, and will continue to do so. 4K video is becoming commonplace and the arrival of the 8K video format is inevitable. media industry trends by FileCatalystThe image to the left clearly shows us this rapid growth, using a 2 hour video as an example. What was once a 4GB file in the Standard Definition (SD) format, is now 6.25 times larger as a High Definition (HD) file, at over 25GB! HD also is giving way to the 4K format which is four times larger than a 2hr HD movie and 25 times larger than SD movie! There’s is no disputing that file sizes are growing. In fact, up to 10% of the industry is already using Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K and another 34% plan on using the format in 3-5 years.

This massive size increase poses challenges in terms of management and storage: is the storage properly backed up? Is there even enough storage space? Will more storage be needed – with a risk of going over budget? What if a hard drive fails?

Some have responded to these concerns by changing tape formats and some have abandoned tape altogether in favor of the cloud for archiving, and this makes sense to me. Once the data is stored on the cloud, it’s easily accessible from any location. Cloud storage is also more disaster proof when compared to a single device or drive, which may be susceptible to failure. Cloud migration is gaining momentum among enterprise companies as well, which I cover in a previous blog post.

The size of the content isn’t the only thing changing in the industry; the workflows used to create and edit content is also taking new directions. Our partner, Dell EMC, has a great infographic that outlines some of these emerging workflow trends. These advancements in technology means that the editing room is no longer “a room.”

Journalists may upload video content to a repository in France and the editor may access that content to do color corrections in Germany, while another collaborator adds subtitles in Canada. These types of “IP-based” workflows are becoming more and more common. Many industry leaders are responding by adding more support to their platforms that better suits these types of workflows. Avid announced at the NAB Show that they have extended their MediaCentral platform to the cloud on Microsoft Azure. I think this is only the beginning, and I expect more of these types of announcements.

The way content is distributed and consumed is also taking new, and multiple, forms. Gone are the days of end-users tuning into a single channel at a certain time to consume their desired content. In fact, it’s reported that households with 60 TV channels only watch about 15 of those 60 channels. Media consumption is certainly becoming an “on-demand” activity, and this happens across multiple devices – all of which use multiple resolutions and formats. HubSpot has created a chart that shows internet device usage, and it shows that 33% of people’s time spent on the internet is via a mobile device. Since mobile content is here to stay, I think that conversations about format and transcoding will emerge to start addressing these points.

What an exciting time to be involved in the industry! There is still work that needs to be done in order to fully optimize performance, workflows, distribution and consumption. But, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. I am very excited to see the way the industry reacts and responds in the coming future!