Content is the new gold, and buzzworthy content can take you right on top of that gold mine! Yes, there is no better time than now to start your media content venture.
It’s almost the end of 2020, and courtesy COVID-19, most of us have spent the better part of this year confined to our chairs and couches, browsing the world and staying updated via digital devices. Entertainment, education, socialization, or business, almost everything that comes under communication, collaboration or experience, has a huge demand online. It’s no rocket science then, that given this demand, if you can leverage the right tools and knowledge, you can easily make money by distributing your content to the right audience in less than one month!
How? The secret to your gold mine is paved by a road called “Cloud as a Media Service”.
Cloud as a Media Service is running your media value chain through a cloud hosted platform and its services, which helps in doing complicated tasks in a jiffy without compromising on quality and security. It provides the media value chain as a mesh of services powered by the cloud. How does it work? Let’s find out.
Strategy to start a media content business
First and foremost, you will need to gauge if your content is ready for broadcast! In other words, is the content good enough for consumption on major market devices?
You must remember that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work here. Different consumers (basis geographies, age groups, choices, professions, and backgrounds) access content through various network bandwidths and smart devices, ranging from mobile phones to wearables to TVs. To ensure a smooth and consistent performance across all such platforms, the media content must be converted into scalable streaming formats, such as HLS, DASH, CMAF, etc. in various resolutions matching multiscreen requirements. This is where cloud services such as “AWS Elemental MediaConvert” and “Azure Media Services” help in transcoding the content to make it ready for broadcast (in varied streaming formats) and for multiscreen delivery on downstream devices.
Now that the content is ready for consumption what next? Now, we need to map the content to its appropriate audience. When stepping into media distribution, it is of utmost importance to know your audience and their interests. In media, “less is more”, so make sure you cut the clutter. We should categorize our content in such a way that it can reach the targeted audience. Since it is virtually impossible to analyze the audio content, the speech is converted into text. Cloud services such as “AWS Transcribe” or “GCP Speech to Text” leverage AI and deep learning mechanisms to automate the subtitling and generate metadata like closed captions in a fully searchable archive.
Now you might be thinking where can I store the content and the analyze information so that the customers can efficiently interact with it? Enter: Cloud storage!
Gone are the days when we had to worry about data storage, security, scalability, and what not. Amazon S3 is a storage service performance designed for 99.999999999% durability with all the features you need, like scalability, availability, security, and performance. Other cloud service providers like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure offer similar services like cloud storage buckets with pretty much the same quality standards.
Now that we are fully equipped to serve the right dish to our customers, once we know their interests or needs, the next step to drive the idea forward is “customer outreach”.
To do so, we can leverage “mobile app”, a win-win for businesses today. According to an analytics report on mobile usage:
- Users spend 86% of their usage time on mobile apps
- Only 14% of the time is spent on websites
The above statistics prove that using a mobile app (as the distribution platform) is a smart choice as it leads to a higher customer outreach. Available in the pocket-sized portable devices, mobile apps offer better personalization based on localization, geography, etc. With an attractive design and user-friendly experience, mobile apps keep you connected with the customer via instant notifications.
After selecting mobile apps as our customer interaction point, we have good news in terms of time to market. Cloud solutions offer easy-to-integrate client library solutions, e.g., AWS Amplify from Amazon or Firebase from Google, which can be integrated with most of the popular mobile devices like Android or iOS and application development frameworks like Xamarin Native or React Native. These cloud-based application development platforms add many key features to the app, with minimum lines of code, helping your business go live with minimal effort. This solves the authentication requirements that help in understanding the customers better and serving them with just the right content.
Cloud-based platforms enable the app to:
- communicate with the backend system via APIs
- get datastore access for the application to work in offline mode
- connect to the cloud storage buckets and much more
Consumers always look for relatable connections on a personal level with brands that feel like a part of their own community. With the right user information and a less-than-typical search filter in your app, you may use the elastic search or high-performance cloud search capabilities. This will help in sorting the enormous content hosted on the cloud to deliver a personalized and engaging experience to the consumers with niche performance.
Most cloud-based services are pocket-friendly, and you can manage with customizable budget. Cloud service providers offer different payment plans and models, e.g., pay-as-you-grow or other subscriptions, which help you realize your business goal cost-effectively.
The ultimate outcome
With all the dots connected, now your content is polished, processed, and ready to be served within your budget to the right audience. Now, you will see high customer retention aligning your product towards monetization. You may start with advertisements integration to your app, and several brands will gladly queue up for partnering and/or marketing.
Now that you have a product to monetize your content, the sky is the limit. You may invest in adding analytics to your application, which will help in gaining detailed user insights. Knowing your audience translates into delivering an amazing user experience as it helps in:
- proactively anticipating the customer needs
- providing relevant and personalized content
- optimizing and improving the content and application usage
Not just analytics, there can be much more to it. Based on your choice of features and business needs, you may leverage the capabilities offered by “Google Vision API”, “Cloud Intelligence” or “Amazon Rekognition”. These cloud services help in identifying the faces, objects, text, scenes, and activities in the content without having you to worry about solving the complex logics of machine learning and artificial intelligence. This information can be utilized to tag the content and/or provide smart search, based on recognizing celebrity faces, scenes or activities. This ensures that only the relevant content is published to the audience. It also means that this data can be used to perform market research, based on content consumption in a specific geography, age-group, or profession.
We talked about some of the straightforward implementations of media services available on the cloud platform. However, by combining these with other services available in the cloud platform, end-to-end media workflows can be configured and automated. From content ingestion to storage, from processing to delivery, all the different activities and services can be stitched together as a single cloud-based workflow. This provides both agility and flexibility to the teams working in media value chains.
In our next article in this series, we will explore more of these end-to-end use cases on how media-as-a-service can be used to evolve the media workflow cycle.