Posts Tagged ‘NAB 2015 trends’

Evolution of Opinions About Virtualization and Cloud Technology / Service in the Media and Broadcast Industry

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Conference Sessions, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 18 2015

This is the third in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of broadcast industry trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands. Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the 2015 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.

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The Most Interesting Take-Away From the 2015 SMPTE Conference … A Change in Sentiment Towards Cloud

On the last day of the 2015 SMPTE technical conference in Los Angeles, I was chatting to the CTO of a large media company.  I asked this person their opinion on the most interesting take-away from the 2015 SMPTE Conference.

After pause for thought the answer (I am paraphrasing here) was that three years ago when SMPTE started the cloud technology track at their annual conference, the 2013 cloud session chair Al Kovalick (who this year chaired the IP Networking track) practically had rotten tomatoes thrown at him when he told the (highly skeptical) audience that broadcasters and media company could indeed get to 5 nines” of reliability, and that it would not be long until media technology infrastructure migrated to the cloud.

Fast forward three years to the 2015 SMPTE Technical Conference, and the most interesting take-away for this media CTO was that not only were there no tomatoes thrown at speakers presenting papers about cloud and IP – it was just the opposite.  There appeared to be was broad agreement, that cloud technology is real (or at least becoming real) and that media companies are rapidly adopting it in various ways.  So minds (and therefore budgets) have changed considerably in a very short space of time.

 

Our Research Shows a Similar Change in Sentiment

What this executive expressed dovetails with the way the opinions of participants in Devoncroft’s annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) have changed over the past several years.

As mentioned in a previous post, one of the key outputs from the BBS is the annual BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. This is a ranking of the broadcast industry trends that are considered by BBS respondents the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year.

The way the opinions about cloud technology and virtualization have evolved in the minds of media and technology buyers is very interesting to observe.

In the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “Cloud computing / virtualization” ranked as the #5 trend (maintaining the same position as in 2014 and 2013).

For the past several years, it was apparent that there was not a clear understanding of how cloud technology would be deployed in the broadcast environment, and what benefits it would bring.

Today, our research shows that despite remaining skepticism about the cloud (not to mention security concerns), the acceptance of (or at least the willingness to consider) cloud technology and related services increased noticeable over the past several years.

 

 

Plans for Cloud Deployment in Media and Broadcast

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

There is a substantial amount of additional data captured in the 2015 BBS on what technology segments end-users are deploying and planning to deploy cloud services, along with what efficiencies they hope to achieve by deploying cloud Services.  This data is presented in the 2015 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase).

Over the past year, we’ve observed that cloud services / cloud technology is one of the fastest growing areas of project spending in the media and broadcast industry.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

 

Opinions and Sentiment About Cloud are Changing Rapidly

Perhaps more than any other topic, the industry’s plans for cloud have evolved considerably over the past several years.

For the past several years, we’ve been asking BBS respondents what they’ve already deployed, or plan to deploy in the cloud over the next 2-3 years.

As the chart below highlights, the answers given by BBS respondents over the past several years have changed over time, as cloud went from a non-issue, to a curiosity, to a top-5 project.

Today, we are hearing more and more from end-users about serious projects being deployed in the cloud, and many more are evaluating how to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud technology.

 

2009-2015 Evolution of planned cloud deployments in media & broadcast

 

To further illustrate how plans for deployment of cloud technology in media and broadcast have changed over the past several years, the three “word clouds” below show the free-text responses we received from BBS participants about what they have already deployed in the cloud or are planning to deploy in the cloud over the next several years.

 In 2013, plans for cloud technology were highly fragmented, with projects ranging from email, to collaboration, to storage and archive.

 

2013 BBS - Planned Cloud Deployments

 

Many respondents to the 2013 BBS said they planned to use cloud technology to deploy things like email systems, collaboration portals and file-sharing, and straightforward applications such as off-site storage of media assets. However, very few respondents contemplated “serious” media operations in the cloud.  Perhaps that’s because they were busy throwing tomatoes at Al Kovalick…

 

One year later, respondents to the 2014 Big Broadcast Survey revealed that they had started to contemplate more seriously what could be done in the cloud for media operations.  In addition to plans for email and collaboration systems, there was a noticeable increase in the number of companies that were planning to utilize cloud applications for media processing (such as transcoding and editing) and workflow-related applications (such as VOD and archive management).

 

2014 BBS -- Planned Cloud Deployments Word Cloud

 

We also heard from many 2014 BBS respondents that they were beginning to experiment with different operational models and architectures involving virtualization and cloud technologies.  However, in 2014 the majority of responses still involved more “simplistic” cloud technologies such as collaboration, off-site storage, and subscription software services, and file sharing.

 

By 2015, both cloud infrastructure as well as end-user understanding of what can be done in the cloud had evolved.

2015 BBS - Planned Cloud Deployments.

2015 BBS respondents shared information about specific projects already underway, or that have been completed.  We’re also seeing planned cloud deployments of “serious” media operations such as playout, compute, workflow, and MAM.

Perhaps most interestingly, we saw the term “confidential” more than ever when we asked people about their plans to use for virtualization and cloud technology in broadcast and media operations.  Based on what we see and hear in the market, we’re taking this as an indication that that trials and projects are already underway.

This was reinforced throughout the 2015 SMPTE Technical Conference, where presenters from BT, Fox NE&O, Amazon AWS, Sundog, Telestream, Levels Beyond, and others all talked about the potential of virtualization and cloud, and described real-world examples of how cloud and virtualization are being used today, and how this will increase in the future.

So hearing from a media company CTO that one of the most interesting take-aways from the 2015 SMPTE conference was that there is growing acceptance of cloud is not a surprise.  Our data shows a clear progression of the importance of cloud technologies and cloud services in media and broadcast operations, and we expect this to continue into the future.

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Related Content

2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

The 2015 Big Broadcast Survey

Ranking The Most Commercially Important Trends in Broadcast and Media Technology – 2015 Edition

Download New Devoncroft Partners Report: NAB 2015 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

New Devoncroft Report Available for Download: IBC 2015 – Observations & Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

2015 SMPTE Technical Conference Program

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Ranking The Most Commercially Important Trends in Broadcast and Media Technology – 2015 Edition

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, market research, OTT Video, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 09 2015

This is the second in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of broadcast industry trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands. Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the 2015 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.

 

Measuring the Most Important Trends in the Broadcast and Digital Media Technology Industry

Each year, Devoncroft Partners conducts a large-scale global study of the broadcast industry called the Big Broadcast Survey (BBS).  Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries participated in the 2015 BBS, making it the most comprehensive study ever done in the broadcast industry.

Firstly, we’d like to once again thank all the people who participate in the BBS each year.  We’re thankful that you take time from your busy schedules to participate, and we love (and read all of) your feedback.

 

One of the key outputs from the BBS is the annual BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. This is a ranking of the broadcast industry trends that are considered by BBS respondents the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year.

In order to ensure the relevance of the trends we measure each year, we spend a considerable amount of time seeking feedback about the structure of our reports from a wide variety of industry professionals.

As part of this process, the composition of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is reviewed each year in conjunction with Devoncroft clients, broadcast technology end-users, and a variety of domain experts.  New trends are added to the Index when BBS stakeholders believe that the value of this additional trend information outweighs the resulting distortion of the year-over-year comparisons.

Based on discussions with clients, end-users, and experts during the planning stages of the 2015 BBS project, we decided to maintain the same list of trends as contained in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.  The benefit of this approach is a straightforward comparison of how trends were ranked in 2015 versus 2014 across all demographics.

After this review process, the decision was taken to not change the trends measured in the 2015 BBS.  This enables a 1:1 comparison of trends on a year-over-year basis.


 

The 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

To create the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 18 industry trends and asked them to identify the one trend they consider to be “most important” to their business, the one trend they consider to be “second most important” to their business, and the other trends (plural) they consider to be “also very important.”

We then apply a statistical weighting to these results, based on how research participants ranked the commercial importance of each trend.
Please note that our goal from this question is to help clients gain insight into the business drivers behind the respondent’s answer.  Therefore, respondents were asked to rank these trends in the context of the commercial importance to their business, rather than “industry buzz,” or “cool technology,” or marketing hype. The 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is shown below.

 

 

2015 BBS - Devoncroft Big Broadcast Survey 2015 Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

 

When reviewing the data presented above, readers should note the following about the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index:

  • It is a measure of what research participants say is commercially important to their businesses in the future, not what they are doing now, or where they are spending money today (these topics will be addressed in future posts)

 

  • The chart above is visualized as a weighted index, not as a measure of the number of people that said which trend was most important to them

 

  • It measures the responses of all technology purchasers (i.e. non-vendors) who participated in the 2015 BBS, regardless of company type, company size, geographic location, job title, etc. Thus the responses of any demographic group such as a particular company type or geographic location may vary widely from the results presented in this article.

 

Analyzing the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Multi-platform content delivery (MPCD) is cited by a wide margin as the most important trend commercially to respondent businesses.  This is not surprising given the rise of new distribution mediums and devices.  Indeed, across multiple studies, research participants have repeatedly stated multi-platform content delivery is the most commercially important trend to their business over the next several years.

However, our discussions with broadcasters, content owners, and technology vendors indicate that despite the obvious fact that the way content is delivered and consumed has changed forever, this has not yet (with few exceptions) translated into profitable revenue streams for end-users.  There are a number of reasons why this is the case, and these have significant implications for content owners, broadcasters, and technology vendors.

These implications are addressed later in this report, as well as on the Devoncroft website.

Although multi-platform content delivery is by far seen as the most important trend in 2015, there are quite a few other interesting things to consider in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

For over the past decade the transition to HDTV operations has been a major driver of end-user technology budgets, and therefore technology product sales.  The first BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, published in 2009, ranked the transition to HD as the #1 trend globally.  In the seven years since, the transition to HD operations has drifted lower in the rankings based on the continued adoption of HD technology infrastructure globally.  For the first time in 2014, the transition to HD operations was not ranked among the top five trends by respondents, instead ranking #6.  In 2015, the transition to HD operations declined further, now ranking #8.  However, within developing markets or smaller media markets within developed regions, the HD transition remains one of the strongest drivers of broadcast industry revenue.

We provide significant coverage of the ongoing global transition to HDTV operations in the 2015 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase). This includes a granular breakdown of the current and projected future progress that end-users have made in their transition to HD, as well as the upgrade plans for fifteen product categories including cameras, switchers, routers, servers, graphics, encoders, and video transport. We’ll also be publishing more information about project-based spending and the HD transition later in this report, as well as on the Devoncroft website.

A trend that has increased in importance over the past several years is “IP networking & content delivery,” which is ranked as the #2 most important trend in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

The move to IP-based infrastructure has increased in importance in response to several market developments.  Based on our research, end-user motivations for moving to IP-based infrastructure are more nuanced than simply generating operational efficiencies, though this goal is an important component.  Rather, end-user responses to the Big Broadcast Survey are consistent with a more encompassing goal of moving to fundamentally different technology infrastructures to better support evolving media business models.

While the move to IP-based infrastructure is still at the stage of early adopters in broadcast operational environments, there were several notable developments during 2015.  These included the progression of interoperability standards (e.g. SMPTE 2022-6), the advancement of work from the joint task force on networked media (JT-NM) [sponsored by SMPTE, EBU, and the VSF], the creation of several individual vendor ecosystems (e.g. Evertz ASPEN), and the elevated activities by large IT providers (e.g. Cisco).

A transition to IP-based infrastructures is likely inevitable given the comparative size of the broadcast technology sector versus the broader IT industry.  This greater size equates to far greater research and development resources.  There remains, however, several obstacles preventing widespread adoption of IP-based infrastructure in the immediate term.  For this reason we are expecting the move to IP to represent a major industry driver over the mid-to-long term.

Regardless of timing, the transition to IP-based infrastructure will have profound implications for both technology buyers and suppliers.

The #3 ranked trend in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is “4K / UHD.”  2015 is the second year the BBS has included 4K / UHD as a trend within the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. It was added based on feedback from Devoncroft’s clients.  The high ranking of 4K / UHD in both 2014 (ranked #4) and 2015 demonstrates these requests were well-founded.

Many in the industry believe 4K / UHD is the next major driver of infrastructure upgrades – similar to the transition to HD over a decade ago.

While there is no doubt that 4K / UHD is a very important development, the data collected in the 2015 BBS lends skepticism to the proposition 4K / UHD will have a similar impact on the industry as the transition to HDTV operations, which drove a massive wave of technology spending that lasted more than a decade.

Although episodic and documentary content has, or will soon, move to 4K/UHD acquisition along with archive activities (because it extends the useful life of content assets), it will take time for 4K/UHD to move into mainstream live production environments such as news and sports.  One reason is creating a live event in 4K / UHD is complex and expensive to create versus an HD broadcast.  Uncompressed 4K / UHD requires real-time processing at 12Gbps, and the full production chain is not yet widely available.  Another critical issue is that (until mid-2015) most 4K / UHD capable cameras utilize large format single sensors and cine-style PL-mount lenses. While the shallow depth-of-field produced by these acquisition systems is a perfect match for theatrical or drama production, it causes problems in live sports production, where depth-of-field is important to keep critical action sequences in constant focus.  There were several announcements by camera manufacturers during 2015 to address this issue with depth-of-field.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that 4K / UHD is driving strong interest and excitement in the industry.  The question remains whether it will become a mainstream technology driver as HD has been, or whether it will only achieve penetration into technology infrastructure through the normal product upgrade cycle.

The trend ranked #4 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “file-based / tapeless workflows,” is a clear indication of the importance of increased efficiency for broadcast technology end-users.  This trend has accelerated as the transition to HDTV (ranked #8 this year) begins to decline in developed markets around the world.

Over the past several years, we’ve observed a pattern whereby broadcasters, who have invested considerable time, effort, and money into transitioning their operations to HD, begin to shift their focus towards increasing the efficiency of their operations. Over time, efficiency has become a key driver of broadcast technology purchasing.  In fact, our research shows that in many cases, increased operational efficiency and cost savings are more important than cutting-edge technology.

This is because the economics of the entire industry have changed – because of MPCD and other factors – and as a result, end-users must change their cost structure (radically in some cases) in order to generate sustained profitability into the future.

This has implications for the broadcast industry in terms of both workflows and product procurement, and as a result, the importance of both “file-based workflows” and “IP networking & content delivery” has increased as broadcast technology buyers continue to look for efficiencies as they transition to new technical platforms and business models.  The desire for broadcast technology buyers to gain operational efficiencies will likely continue to be a strong macro driver in 2015, as broadcasters continue to deploy new workflows.

Cloud computing / virtualization,” is the #5 ranked trend (maintaining the same position as in 2014 and 2013).

For the past several years, it was apparent that there was not a clear understanding of how cloud technology would be deployed in the broadcast environment, and what benefits it would bring.  This is still the case in many respects in 2015.  However, similar to observations in 2014, our research shows that despite remaining skepticism about the cloud (not to mention security concerns), the acceptance of (or at least the willingness to consider) cloud technology and related services increased noticeable during the year.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

There is a substantial amount of additional data captured in the 2015 BBS on what technology segments end-users are deploying and planning to deploy cloud services, along with what efficiencies they hope to achieve by deploying cloud Services.  This data is presented in the 2015 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase).

Selected example data is provided in this free report from the Devoncroft 2015 BBS Global Project Index (see Part 2 of this report, starting on page 29).  It highlights how cloud services / cloud technology is one of the fastest growing areas of project spending in the broadcast industry.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?   Perhaps more than any other topic, the industry’s plans for cloud have evolved considerably over the past several years.

For the past several years, we’ve been asking BBS respondents what they’ve already deployed, or plan to deploy in the cloud over the next 2-3 years.

As the chart below highlights, the answers given by BBS respondents over the past several years have changed over time, as cloud went from a non-issue, to a curiosity, to a top-5 project.

 

2009-2015 Evolution of planned cloud deployments in media & broadcast

 

Today, we are hearing more and more from end-users about serious projects being deployed in the cloud, and many more are evaluating how to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud technology.

But what are media technology end-users actually deploying in the cloud?  This will be discussed in a future post.

“Improvements in compression efficiency,” which is ranked #6 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is consistent with the desire for increased efficiency. With content distribution models having migrated from single linear broadcast channels, to multi-channel Pay TV playout, to a totally on-demand environment, high quality compression is a critical success factor for broadcasters and content playout platforms.

A plethora of new channels, and the desire for simultaneous bandwidth saving and increased image quality for MPCD services have driven an increasing focus on high quality compression systems. For the past several years this has resulted in better MPEG-2 and H.264 compression products for primary distribution, contribution, and redistribution to consumers. H.265 (HEVC) compression technology holds the promise of further reducing the bandwidth required to deliver high quality images, particularly for 4K / UHD channels.  Despite continued momentum in 2015, HEVC is still in early stages of adoption, though wider deployments are expected over the next 12 to 18 months.

In addition to creating greater efficiencies, end-users are also looking for ways to generate incremental revenue in an environment where the economic model of the industry is changing dramatically.  Thus “video-on-demand,” which is ranked #7 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, will remain a strong driver for content owners, media companies and broadcasters.  The combination of MPCD, better compression technology, and an ever-increasing channel count, will drive video on demand deployments, whether via traditional broadcast and pay TV platforms, or over the internet or mobile networks.

The #8 ranked trend in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is the “transition to HDTV operations.

The transition to HDTV has been a huge driver of broadcast technology spending for more than a decade, but 2015 BBS respondents report that it continues to decline in terms of future commercial importance to their organizations.  In 2015, the technology required for the transition to HDTV is well understood by the majority of the market, even those who have not yet made the transition.

Despite its gradual decline in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index rankings, we believe that the HD transition will continue to be one of the most important industry drivers over the coming years. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is that there is still a long way to go in the HD transition on a global basis. Indeed, our research shows that 2014 was the first year the total penetration of HDTV infrastructure surpassed the 50% mark for the global market.

Nevertheless, with the transition to HD having been a critically important driver for so many years, it begs the question of what’s next — as broadcast technology end-users in developed markets approach the completion of their HD transition, where does their focus (and spending) shift?

The “move to automated workflows” is ranked #9 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Better compression technology and lower cost integrated playout platforms (such as “channel-in-a-box”), will facilitate an ongoing proliferation of new TV channels.  This will in turn drive a focus on bringing highly automated operations to channel playout and master control environments. Thus we expect to continue to see a strong interest in the “move to automated workflows” over the next several years.  Automated workflows are also seen as drivers of efficiency.

While efficiency is undoubtedly very important to end-users, actually making money from new on-line channels has driven a significant increase in focus on content monetization via “targeted advertising,” which is ranked #10 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

“Remote production,” which is ranked #11 in 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is another trend that is focused on efficiency.  Through the use of remote production, broadcasters can lower their costs of producing live events, whether a small local soccer match or the World Cup.  Our research suggests that despite the potential for savings using “remote production” approaches for high-profile events, end-users are not yet comfortable adopting these approaches given the mission critical nature of the associated productions.  Therefore, the greater adoption for remote production is lower-tier events with inherently constrained revenue opportunities.

Similarly, broadcasters and media companies can achieve enormous cost-savings through the trend ranked #12 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “centralizing operations,” including playout and transmission.  A relevant example of centralized operations is the North American sporting leagues (including MLB, NFL, and the NBA) creating central facilities to handle the responsibility of in-game replays.

Although it’s towards the bottom of the rankings at #13, “analog switch-off” is very important for those regions where it’s happening today – primarily as mandated by local governments.  Our research shows that analog switch-off (also called “digital switch-over” in some territories) has driven huge waves of CapEx in those markets where it has already occurred.

As with previous years, the following trends were ranked towards the low-end of the Index: “transition to 3Gbps operations”, “transition to 5.1 channel audio”, “outsourced operations”, “3D TV” and “green initiatives.

 

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The information in this article is based on select findings from the 2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of broadcast industry trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands. Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the 2015 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry. The BBS is published annually by Devoncroft Partners.

Granular analysis of these results is available as part of various paid-for reports based on the 2015 BBS data set. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners

 

© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Related Content

2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

The 2015 Big Broadcast Survey

Download New Devoncroft Partners Report: NAB 2015 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

New Devoncroft Report Available for Download: IBC 2015 – Observations & Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

The 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Devoncroft Research: IBC 2014: Observations and Analysis of Broadcast and Media Technology Industry (free 52 page report, registration required)

The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2010 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2009 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

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As Media Companies Increase Cloud and IAAS Deployments, Amazon Reveals Scale of AWS

Analysis | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 28 2015

In a change that provides increased visibility into its cloud business, Amazon.com now breaks out the performance of Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a separate segment in its quarterly financial reporting.

This is a significant development for the media technology sector because AWS has become synonymous with discussions of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and public cloud usage by media companies.  The topic has matured in the past few years and is now a central part of future technology strategies at media organizations.

However, Amazon  did not specifically address how much AWS revenue was attributable to the media industry.

Amazon reported that AWS revenue in the first quarter of 2015 was $1.57 billion, up 49% versus the same period a year ago. The reported figures for AWS consist of sales of compute, storage, database, and other AWS service offerings across all customer verticals.

AWS operating income in the first quarter of 2015 was $265m (a 16.9% operating margin), up 8% versus the same period a year ago. Excluding the favorable impact from foreign exchange, AWS segment operating income decreased 13%.

 

Amazon AWS Q1 2015 TTM Revenue and Operating Income - with source

 

In a letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said AWS is “a $5 billion business and still growing fast — in fact it’s accelerating.”

Management attributed the growth to a rise in customer usage, though partially offset by reduction in pricing to customers.

The impact of pricing decreases is material.  AWS disclosed ‘usage’ growth in the fourth quarter of 2014 of 90% year-over-year. Though not a like-for-like comparison, it is a directional guidance for the gap between usage and revenue caused by pricing decreases.

 

Amazon Q1 2015 AWS Segment Results

 

On the company’s earnings call, Amazon SVP and CFO Tom Szkutak highlighted how the company continues to drive down the cost of AWS, saying “In terms of AWS, we’ve had 48 price decreases since inception. The team is doing a terrific job in terms of working on behalf of customers to pass on savings as they see it. So our model over the long-term really has been to innovate and to use our scale and position to be able to pass savings along to customers.”

For the first quarter of 2015, AWS contributed approximately 7% of the Company’s total revenue.  This was an increase versus the 5% of revenue AWS represented during the first quarter of 2014.  Despite representing only 7% of Amazon’s revenue, AWS contributed almost 38% of the Company’s operating income.  This is because AWS is a meaningfully more profitable business than Amazon’s traditional online retail operations.  AWS operating margins were nearly 17% in Q1 2015, which compares favorably to Amazon’s other businesses that in aggregate had operating margins of 2% during the first quarter.  A focus on operating margins ignores the interest expense attributable to the financing of equipment for AWS, which is not disclosed.

Even though growth was substantial at AWS during 2015, there is some curiosity around how the business scaled.  While revenue increased by 49%, operating income increased only 8% since operating expenses increased 61% over the same period.  The Company attributed the expense offset to investments in technology infrastructure to support business growth.  Some caution is necessary before drawing broader conclusions on how the business will scale since we have only limited data points at this time.

Additional disclosures in Amazon’s filings are illustrative of the level of investment in technology infrastructure.  The Company’s capital expenditures (cash) were $871 million in Q1 2015 and $1.1 billion in Q1 2014. A majority of this investment was attributable to AWS.  Property and equipment acquired under capital leases (non-balance sheet items) were $954 million in Q1 2015 and $716 million during Q1 2014. Again, the investments are primarily due to investments in technology infrastructure for AWS.

Discussing the ongoing investment required for the AWS business, Szkutak told analysts “from our perspective its business that’s still really in day one. A lot of potential innovation in front of us we believe. And so you can see we’re putting a lot of CapEx obviously there and including capital leases and we think over time we will be able to generate significant free cash flow with stronger ROICs.”

Whatever percentage a majority represents the resulting aggregate investment is considerable.  Media companies leveraging AWS are benefiting from a technology infrastructure built by investments made possible from expansive operations in other industries.  To put the scale of Amazon’s infrastructure in context to the media technology sector, consider the Company’s 2014 cash capital expenditures and equipment purchases under capital leases totaled a combined $8.9 billion (AWS is the largest driver of this spend, but does not consume all of this number).  This figure represents approximately one-third of all annual product sales in the media and broadcast technology sector based on the latest results of the IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report (www.iabmdc.com).

In his shareholder letter, Bezos said that even though AWS is highly capital-intensive, it is far less capital-intensive than the model it’s replacing.  Bezos cites utilization rates for internal data centers as almost always below 20%.  By aggregating workloads across customers AWS can then achieve much higher utilization rates and correspondingly improved capital efficiency.

This point was highlighted on the earnings call by Brian Olsavsky, VP and CFO of Amazon’s global consumer business, who said “It’s probably is worth adding that, although prices are factor, the primary factor for customers choosing with AWS is really around their ability to move quickly and to be nimble and agile. And so we’re very pleased with the kind of continued adoption and usage growth we’ve seen and obviously the benefits of AWS around their ability — customer’s ability — to be nimble as a primary factor.

CFO Szkutak added that the 48 price decreases since the launch of AWS is “one factor customers save a lot of money, but the primary motivator is really around the innovation that AWS enables and the ability for developers to move really quickly.”

Speed and agility are increasingly important to media companies, yet the specialized technology products used in media workflows often have low utilization rates – especially those used for certain types of news and sports applications.  In an environment where media companies are focused on greater efficiencies in technology infrastructure, improving these rates are a natural place to start.

The amount of revenue attributable to media and entertainment use cases is left to the imagination.  Amazon has stated publicly AWS has more than a million active customers.  Companies using AWS range across all sizes and business segment.  Media and entertainment examples include Netflix, Major League Baseball, PBS, and News Corp. During his fireside chat keynote at Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology” the annual conference co-produced by Devoncroft and organizers of the NAB Show, Bob Bowman President of MLB Advanced Media had high praise for AWS as a technology supplier.

To Amazon’s credit, the company participates at industry exhibitions including the recent NAB Show and the team is similarly visible at other industry events.  We are evangelists for broader IT vendors engaging with the industry vendor community and customer community.  Such focus has proven episodic from many large IT vendors historically, so it will be interesting to track Amazon’s engagement with interested parties in the sector going forward – a $5 billion business has many distractions.

AWS specifically and cloud vendors more broadly, are benefiting from a secular trend toward cloud usage among media and entertainment sector.  Included below is a slide taken from a Devoncroft presentation at the recent NAB Show; it offers context on the adoption of cloud by media companies. One of the benefits of having seven years of Big Broadcast Survey data is the ability to reflect on year-over-year trend information – even if the data is in the form of broadcaster commentary.  As illustrated in the below, the ‘cloud’ benefited from an embrace by technology purchasers during the 2013 calendar year.

cloud evolution

 

This increasing adoption and deployment of cloud technologies and services is in stark contrast with perspectives provided only a few years earlier.

Of course, any discussion of Cloud naturally transitions to a discussion of security given the recent high-profile security breaches.  We heard this multiple times from at the recent 2015 NAB Show during conversations with major media companies, broadcasters, and service providers.

Security of media assets in the cloud was also an important topic at “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology” the annual conference co-produced by Devoncroft and organizers of the NAB Show. During a panel session featuring senior technology buyers from major North American media companies, it was observed by participants that businesses such as AWS are likely spending far more time, money, and resources on security than even the largest stand-alone media company could muster.

Whether such logic is extensible will translate into a shift of media infrastructure to public cloud providers such as AWS remains to be seen.

Our research shows that while many in the media industry are using AWS today for a variety of tasks, most high value content is currently being managed via private cloud implementations.

An interesting data point on the subject of private versus public cloud adoption in media was offered by Avid CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr. at the Jefferies Growth Conference earlier this year.  While describing how the company’s licensing models are evolving at different customer types, Hernandez said “Our large enterprise clients are sticking with on premise [implementations]… [they] are moving to a floating license and flexing in a pre-negotiated subscription on a project basis. Who’s buying cloud and subscriptions? Individuals.”

Nevertheless, AWS is a formidable business.  Amazon’s ability to continually invest the huge sums needed to greater compute, network, and storage performance at ever-lower prices can undoubtedly drive increased efficiencies for media companies.  Thus the market potential for AWS in the media space is potentially vast.  In his letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos summed up as follows, “I believe AWS is one of those dreamy business offerings that can be serving customers and earning financial returns for many years into the future…I believe AWS is market-size unconstrained.”

 

 

Related Content:

Press Release: Amazon.com Announces First Quarter Sales Up 15% to $22.72 Billion

Q1 2015 Amazon.com, Inc. Earnings Conference Call Slides

Amazon Q1 2015 Form 10-Q Filing

Amazon.com Q1 2015 Letter to Shareholders

Industry Thought Leaders to Discuss “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology” at 2015 NAB Show

 

© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Industry Thought Leaders to Discuss “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology” at 2015 NAB Show

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Conference Sessions, Online Video, OTT Video | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 09 2015

Whether you are a supplier, buyer, or investor in the media technology sector, you won’t want to miss the fourth annual NAB Show event co-produced by Devoncroft Partners and the organizers of the NAB Show.

 

NAB Devoncroft 2015 Shifting Media Economics Session Announcement

 

Now part of the NAB 2015 Media Finance and Investor Conference, “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology,” will be held on Sunday April 12, 2015 in room N235 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Designed to be a thought-provoking kickoff to the 2015 NAB Show, this half-day conference examines the “the business of the media business” from the perspective of all levels of the media value chain. It includes panel discussions featuring C-level executives from leading broadcasters, service providers, technology vendors, and private equity investors. Each group will offer a candid assessment of how their respective business models, operational practices, and strategic decision making have been impacted by the dramatic shift in media industry economics.

The keynote, “The Future of TV. One Man’s Opinion.” will be delivered by Bob Bowman, President, Business & Media of Major League Baseball (MLB), who oversees MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and MLB Network.

MLBAM has been involved with several recent high-profile streaming events including WrestleMania 31, the opening day of Major League Baseball, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, and the recent launch of HBO Now.  Bowman is scheduled to take the stage just one hour before the highly anticipated season 5 premiere of “Game of Thrones” becomes available via HBO Now.

The conference will also include presentations of the latest market research on industry trends and financial performance.  This includes preliminary excerpts from the Devoncroft Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s definitive demand-side study of the broadcast and digital media industry; and the 2015 IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market sizing report.

In advance of the NAB Show, Devoncroft Partners has published an analysis of the trends and strategic drivers in the broadcast and media technology sector. This report is available to download here (registration required).

This conference is intended for senior executives from technology vendors, end-users, and investment firms in the media technology sector. It provides an excellent opportunity to network with industry executives and the financial community ahead of NAB show commitments.

Approximately 400 executives attended this standing-room only event in 2014. We hope to see you there on Sunday April 12, 2015.

Please note that because this event is part the 2015 NAB Show Media, Finance and Investor Conference, registration is required.

 

An overview of the conference is included below.  Full details are available on the NAB Show website.

 

Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology

 

1:40pm – Welcome and Introductions

Presenter:

  • Peter White, CEO IABM

 

 

1:50pm – Review of Market Developments

Josh Stinehour of Devoncroft will take the podium for his annual (enthusiastic) presentation on developments in the media technology sector.  If you have any final announcements you would like Josh to consider for his presentation, let him know.

Presenter:

  • Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst Devoncroft Partners

 

 

2:15pm – The Broadcast & Media Technology Industry in 2015

Devoncroft founder Joe Zaller will present a data-driven overview of the forces bringing dynamic change to the media technology sector in 2015. This will include preliminary results of the 2015 Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s most comprehensive demand-side study, and observations from the 2015 IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market sizing report.

Presenter:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

 

2:40pm – Business Strategy Perspectives from Industry Executives

CEOs from four of the media and broadcast industry’s largest technology suppliers will debate the most important commercial issues facing the industry, and discuss their strategies to position their companies for success in a rapidly evolving marketplace.  The panelists will also offer opinions on how changes in the business environment are impacting vendors and customers.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Patrick Harshman: President and Chief Executive Officer, Harmonic, Inc.
  • John Stroup: President, Chief Executive Officer, Belden, Inc.
  • Tim Thorsteinson: Chief Executive Officer, Quantel and Snell
  • Charlie Vogt: Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Communications

 

 

3:20pm – The Broadcast Buyer Perspective on Industry Trends

Senior technology executives from four leading broadcasters will offer informed perspectives on the most significant industry trends affecting technology budgets and the technology purchase decision.  The audience will benefit from an emphasis on the business implications of technology decisions to broadcasters.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Ken Brady: SVP Media Technology and Operations, Turner Broadcasting Systems
  • Richard Friedel: EVP & General Manager, Fox NE&O
  • Fred Mattocks: GM Media Operations & Technology, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Bob Ross: SVP East Coast Operations, CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

 

 

4:00pm – The Service Provider Perspective on Industry Trends

A panel of executives from leading media service providers will discuss views on both technology developments and deployment considerations for media organizations.  Discussion topics will include solutions for multi-platform content delivery, the economics of outsourcing, how service providers can leverage their scale to deliver increased performance and agility, and how next-generation data center architecture may impact the media ecosystem.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Darcy Antonellis: Chief Executive Officer, Vubiquity
  • Anil Jain: SVP & GM Media Group, Brightcove, Inc.
  • Steve Plunkett: Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson Broadcast & Media Services

 

  

4:30pm – The Institutional Investor Perspective on Industry Trends

A panel of leading investment professionals in the media and entertainment sector will offer the audience the institutional investor’s perspective on the industry. The discussion will include the panelists’ intelligence-gathering plans for the NAB Show, views on the trends that are driving investment dollars in the sector, and a review of the characteristics influencing the evaluation of an investment opportunity in the media technology industry.

Moderator:

  • Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Chris Kanaley: Vice President, Parallax Capital
  • Nick Lukens: Vice President, Vector Capital
  • Bryce Winkle: Vice President, The Gores Group

 

5:00pm – Keynote: The Future of TV. One Man’s Opinion.


Presenter:

  • Bob Bowman, CEO MLB Advanced Media

 

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Download New Devoncroft Partners Report: NAB 2015 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 09 2015

In advance of the 2015 NAB Show, Devoncroft Partners has published an analysis of the trends and strategic drivers in the broadcast and media technology sector.

A link to download this report can be found at the bottom of this page.

 

Devoncroft Partners - 2015 NAB Show Strategic Analysis

 

The report covers and provides commentary on a variety of significant market trends, drivers, and events, including:

  • Market dynamics: step-change in media technology growth, and ongoing value shift

 

  • Financial performance of selected industry vendors

 

  • Consolidation, investor activity, M&A – end-users, service providers, and vendors

 

  • Fierce competition in media, and the opportunity for value creation

 

  • Digital Disruption – this time it’s for real, and the implications extend far beyond the obvious

 

  • Transition of traditional revenue models to new platforms

 

  • Uncertainty about the future of technology deployments

 

  • Fundamental implications to technology vendors, service providers

 

  • Business, technical transitions facing vendors, service providers

 

  • Thoughts on the future

 

Included in the analysis are preliminary excerpts from the 2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), the largest and most comprehensive study of technology trends, buyer behavior, and vendor brands in the broadcast and media technology sector.

We welcome feedback, comments, and questions on this report.

If you would like to schedule a meeting at the NAB Show, please let us know as soon as possible.  We are in the process of finalizing the NAB Show schedule for the Devoncroft team, and have limited availability remaining.

We hope to see you in Las Vegas.

 

Please click here to download a PDF copy (6 MB) NAB Show 2015 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry from Devoncroft Partners (registration required).

 

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Thorsteinson Replaces Cross as CEO of Quantel and Snell

Analysis, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Broadcaster Financial Results | Posted by Joe Zaller
Mar 04 2015

Quantel and Snell announced that Tim Thorsteinson has replaced Ray Cross as CEO, effective immediately.news_Tim_Thorsteinson

According to the company, Thorsteinson “is the ideal individual to lead the next stage in the development of the combined Quantel and Snell.”

Cross, who had been CEO of both Quantel and Snell since March 2014, when it was announced that Quantel had acquired fellow UK-based broadcast technology vendor Snell, a deal that had been long-rumored in the industry, since the two companies already had a common parent, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the investment arm of Lloyds Bank.

Previously, Cross had been CEO of Quantel since December 2005.

At the time of the Quantel-Snell deal, the company said in a statement that the combined entity had revenue of more than $170 million and office in 16 locations around the globe, making it one of the larger vendors in the broadcast industry.  The company has not provided an update on its performance since that time.

It will be interesting to see what moves Thorsteinson, a longstanding broadcast industry executive, will make as CEO of Snell and Quantel, companies he has competed against in previous roles.

Thorsteinson is a well-known figure in the broadcast industry having headed-up several of the industry’s largest technology vendors over the past 15 years.

In January 2013, Thorsteinson was named CEO of Grass Valley, replacing Alain Andreoli, who had been appointed by private equity firm Francisco Partners following their 2010 acquisition of Grass Valley from Technicolor.

Just over a year later, Thorsteinson oversaw the $220m sale of Grass Valley to Belden Corporation, who combined it with Miranda, keeping the Grass Valley moniker for the enlarged entity.

Interestingly, Thorsteinson was also involved in the sale of Miranda to Belden.  In April 2012, he appointed a director of Miranda Technologies during the time that activist investor JEC Capital was agitating for a sale of that business.  Three months after Thorsteinson became a director of the company, Belden Corporation acquired Miranda for an enterprise value of $356m.

Thorsteinson was the President of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division from 2006-2010.  He was appointed to this role following the $460m purchase by Harris of Leitch Technology Corporation, where Thorsteinson had been CEO since November 2003.

Prior to Leitch, Thorsteinson was CEO of Grass Valley Group, and oversaw the December 2001 sale of Grass Valley Group to Thomson Multimedia for $172m.

“We are delighted to have Tim Thorsteinson join Quantel to continue the company’s transformation. Tim has a proven track record of value creation, and his knowledge and experience are a great fit to grow the combined Quantel and Snell business into a major force in the rapidly changing broadcast industry,” said Chris Hurley, Managing Director Lloyds Development Capital and Quantel Board Director. “I would also like to thank Ray for all his hard work and achievements at Quantel over the past 10 years.”

“I’m very excited to be joining Quantel,” said Thorsteinson. “It is one of the larger independent businesses in our industry, with world class products and a rich history of innovation. I want to build on that tradition to create an organization 100% focused on helping our customers prosper in the media technology world.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Tim Thorsteinson becomes Quantel CEO

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Quantel Acquires Snell

Press Release: Quantel acquires Snell to create new force in media technology

Quantel – Snell FAQ

Belden Makes it Official – Combination of Grass Valley and Miranda to be Called Grass Valley

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Completes Acquisition of Grass Valley, Will Invest $25 Million in Integration of Combined Business

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Buys Grass Valley for $220 Million

Belden Closes Deal to Acquire Miranda

Thorsteinson Appointed to Miranda’s Board of Directors in Otherwise Uneventful AGM

Miranda Nominates Tim Thorsteinson as Director

Activist Shareholder Drama Continues at Miranda Technologies

Technicolor Receives a Binding Offer from Francisco Partners for Grass Valley Broadcast Business

Press Release: Tim Thorsteinson Named President of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division

Press Release: Harris Corporation Completes Acquisition of Leitch Technology

WSJ Article: Thomson Multimedia to Buy Grass Valley for $172 Million

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Buys Grass Valley for $220 Million

Belden’s Acquisition of Miranda to Close on or Before July 27, 2012

TVNewsCheck Article (9-29-2011): Tech One-on-One With Simon Derry — Snell Aims To Master the U.S. Market

Advent Venture and LDC close £72m broadcasting merger

Advent Venture Partners and LDC Complete Their Portfolios Merger – March 9, 2009

Video: Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox CEOs Discuss Merger (2009)

Press Release (11-6-2003): Chyron Sells Pro-Bel to LDC

Broadcast Magazine (2002): Snell Secures £22m from Advent

Press Release (2002) Advent Venture Partners invests GBP13m in Snell & Wilcox

Variety Article (7-14-2000): Carlton sells tech arm Quantel to LDC for £51 million 

 

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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