Still Day Zero: Baskar Subramanian on the potential for leveraging the power of Cloud in media industry
The year 2020 has been a watershed year for businesses across the world, as it saw the acceleration of the pace with which they shifted their on-premise infrastructure onto the Cloud.
And as India rides the wave of digital transformation, new trends in technology and business growth are emerging across sectors and geographies. Leading the charge around this transformation are Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, which are able to leverage the power of the Cloud in innovative ways to chart new frontiers of growth.
To showcase and understand the changes that the new India is undergoing, YourStory is hosting the Digital DNA series, in association with AWS, featuring experts across India’s SaaS ecosystem who will share their unique insights around this digital transformation.
On the first episode of the series, Ian McPherson, Head of North American Partnerships and Alliances - Media and Entertainment, AWS spoke with Baskar Subramanian, CEO and Co-founder of Amagi Media Labs, a Cloud media tech company, on how Cloud technology has impacted the media sector, the latest trends and the way forward.
Enablers of cloud adoption in the media industry
In its early stage in 2014, Amagi’s cloud-based offerings were met with skepticism, says Baskar. “However, in the past six years, the media industry went through a major transformation in terms of economics, how consumer interest is being generated, and the content being prepared. It has become quite a tech-driven business, as opposed to purely a content-driven one,” he says, all of which have been key factors in accelerating cloud adoption in the media and broadcasting industry. So much so that Amagi is streaming 400 channels, up from the two linear channels it hosted in 2014. The company has hosted about 150 streaming channels in the last one year.
The evolution of the consumer-broadcaster relationship
According to Baskar, live streaming will continue to grow as an engagement platform, given the excitement and uncertainty that comes with it. He also added that broadcasters are looking at various ways for consumers to interact with the content by leveraging technology, and that E-sports and sports channels are driving innovation in this regard.
“From a technology perspective, now broadcasters can spin up or spin down live anytime they want. They can bring content from across the world onto Cloud infrastructure today. Thanks to this, remote production as a concept has become a very viable alternative. I am seeing broadcasters embracing that as a model for the future.”
How AWS worked with Amagi in releasing these capabilities
Baskar said that AWS has the most mature media platforms today as it was an early investor in the technology. It helped Amagi with basic services such as storage and instances, and today it is enabling the company to handle more advanced functions such as transcoding and media ingest requirements, among others.
“AWS has also been high in terms of streaming live content. It was a big question of how is Cloud going to handle the live latencies, and a lot of us were skeptical but optimistic as we wanted the look and feel of on-premises service.”
The future for the industry
For Baskar, it is still Day Zero when it comes to leveraging Cloud technology for the media and broadcast industry, and he sees Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies taking centre stage on this front.
“We look at ML and AI capabilities as the next pillar that will evolve for the media business...liquid metadata is a very mature example in terms of machine learning to extract metadata out of content. This metadata allows us to create those interactive experiences over what the consumer is watching and establish a greater connect with them.”
Embracing a subscription mindset is the key to success
When asked for his advice for those looking to enter the SaaS ecosystem, Baskar says, “We are in an exciting phase where the subscription-based economy is really starting to flower and bloom across multiple businesses. You have to leverage the dynamism of what the Cloud offers, and to hear your customers and be able to map those needs is where the magic formula lies. Embracing a subscription mindset is critical.”
He added that the ability to rapidly churn products and get into the market faster is key to success. “Because customers are the greatest product managers. They understand the need for the product much more deeply. If we are able to quickly build things and come back to them, then they will come back with feedback with rapidity as well.”