NOVEMBER 13, 2023

Bridge workflows for news production in the cloud with Avid

Cloud QA-Craig D 1862x1040

What is the reality of moving to a cloud infrastructure? Are customers truly set up for such a transition or will hybrid workflows dominate in the coming years? Does the cloud offer value? These are some of the big questions facing both large and small media organizations. For answers, we spoke with Avid cloud expert Craig Dwyer, Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Alliances.

Q. What are the trends now related to cloud newsroom workflows?
A. There are four main areas where we see cloud workflows having an impact today in news. First is using the cloud to bring streams and feeds into the production environment. There have been major developments with SRT and NDI that are making it more flexible and efficient to manage these sources. The next area is editing – where news clients need fast turnaround editing tools in a collaborative environment, and the cloud is especially helpful for short-term projects and events, where the news operation may need additional capacity at short notice. Using the cloud and AI for metadata extraction is another major area where clients are realizing benefits; and the last area is the publishing of fast turnaround content to social media.

For a modern news organization, understanding the flexibility and speed that cloud enabled workflows can deliver is critical.

Craig Dwyer, Avid Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Alliances

International and multi-location news organizations are continuing to explore full cloud implementations, but nobody has deployed this at full scale yet. That's the aspiration for many news organizations, to use the cloud as a flexible resource and share infrastructure and assets across many sites. Clients still have a strong belief that this is the right future direction, but they are incrementally working through workflows for news production with us and evaluating technology, performance, and price, in addition to understanding how best to maximize their existing infrastructure.

Q. How does Avid support these cloud newsroom workflows?
A. We provide our cloud capabilities in two main models: As an on demand, Software as a Service offering, or as subscriptions that clients can manage in their own cloud accounts.

In our Avid on demand solutions, clients can access a complete workflow solution provisioned and managed by Avid running in the cloud. File ingest, editing, storage, and third-party systems can all be defined and provisioned in a few hours.

For the client deployed solutions, clients use their Avid subscriptions and our deployment tools to build environments exactly as they want, giving full control of assets and their cloud configuration.

Q. Is fully cloud the end goal, or will there always be an element of hybrid?
A. Today's current wisdom is that most clients who've tested news workflows at scale realize that they will likely retain some on-premise hybrid model. In news, one area that's logical to keep on-premise is the production servers for play out into a production control room. I think at some point in time we will reach ubiquity in the cloud infrastructure and the performance will be high enough that you can reliably connect to multiple services and switch between them if there’s an outage. We're probably 5 years away from that in reality as we need technology and business model changes to make that approach truly frictionless. But that's not stopping people from pushing hard to find opportunities.

Q. So it's not stagnating. It's always a growing and testing environment?
A. It’s not stagnating at all for clients who are fully embracing the cloud. We advocate an innovation lab approach to be able to test and validate new workflows quickly and efficiently. Probably our best example has been the work that we've done with one of Avid’s largest global cloud customers where they have hundreds of editors around the globe, all in a managed environment. What's so interesting about what they're doing is that they’re covering a range of different use cases. It's international promo production, program making, film production and compliance editing. They have a cross functional team, and we have deployed a lab environment, and with it we are constantly innovating new workflows. Once we have validated them, they'll roll out the new solutions on their service catalog to everybody. That seems to be a sound approach because they know that things are changing quickly and with cloud they can iterate and deploy much more quickly.

Q. Are there still security concerns about cloud-based workflows for news production?
A. Most of that concern is reduced because cloud providers have done a huge amount of work to provide a high level of confidence and security. In fact, most clients’ legacy systems are nowhere near as secure as the cloud because you can't log and track everything in the same way that you can in the cloud. So that issue is certainly not the number one blocker anymore. Most of the major studios and streamers are already saying, ‘Look, you know, as long as we follow the right technology partnership and security provisions…’ They've been able to get comfortable and COVID erased any last resistance when everyone was not physically allowed in buildings. Suddenly that barrier was removed. There's still some concern but there's a lot of innovation happening around that space. The bigger challenge is a shortage of people who deeply understand what it means to manage media production workflows running in the cloud..

Q. What operational benefits do customers try to realize through cloud workflows for newsroom production?
A. There are significant operational benefits to running in the cloud. First, let’s look at the technical operations side. The cloud can enable a media company to move away from managing their own infrastructure, patching servers, networking, and running their own data centers. Clients are building infrastructure automation which creates major benefits in the deployment and configuration systems and that makes it far easier to adapt and scale predictably and reliably.

The other area that's a real benefit is being able to work from anywhere. We have lots of clients who recognize this is a major operational benefit as they now can access talent outside of the local market. Even within the local market, such as Los Angeles and New York, the new hybrid working model is also being embraced, reducing commuting time and allowing teams to collaborate more efficiently and more frequently.

We’ve got clients working with feature film productions based in LA remotely from Vermont because that’s where that editor wants to live. That scenario is becoming easier to manage, and we're doing various things not just in the cloud, but also with Avid NEXIS | EDGE and the newer Media Composer capabilities, to be able to make remote workflows even more seamless.

Another operational innovation is using collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. An exciting upcoming Avid solution integrates Media Composer with Teams and enables seamless integration to provide an over-the-shoulder experience on the web, on a desktop or on a mobile device. I could be editing here in my office in London, and you could be anywhere in the world reviewing what I'm doing in my output monitor in Teams and adding comments, additional requests, and doing review and approval-style workflows.

Q. Do you see that kind of cloud workflow still primarily being taken on at scale by larger enterprises or is there a balance with more local news stations for example?
A. Yes, I see the larger clients are still the ones pushing the envelope, with the capability, scale and experience to be able to undertake innovation projects and large trials. Frequently they are also clients who have significant cloud partnerships, and they’re able to leverage those relationships and gain support for their initiatives. The local stations are generally looking for simpler, out of the box solutions, but when they are combined into larger networks or station groups, the scale of economies begins to work again, and that helps justify migrating to the cloud.

Q. Any other news workflows or workflows in the cloud clients are asking for?
A. I think the major area of innovation is going to be using the cloud and AI to accelerate story development, tagging and discovering assets, and accelerating editing to distribution. Clients see that if these cloud tools are integrated seamlessly into their workflows, they gain significant productivity benefits, enabling them to tell better stories, address more platforms and connect with audiences in real time.

Find out more about Avid’s involvement in the cloud and the impact of new technology on media production.

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