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Cloud Operation: the challenges and benefits of cloud tv production

EMGremote1In conversation with the EMG Italy CTO, Francesco Donato

Roberto Landini Presspool-SVG Europe: “The complex universe of television production today is capable of playing a rather new or recent card, cloud production.

Can we learn more about the cloud solution and the conditions of use?”

Francesco Donato, EMG Italy: “Before talking about the use of cloud solutions, it is important to define the reference market and consequently the type of product to be created and the business strategy.

As for the market, it is a relevant issue, decisive for the purposes of designing the solution, while the product requires the adoption of certain plant characteristics, whether physical or virtual.

Then the workflow, another aspect that determines the weight from the point of view of the commitment of human and technological resources, as well as the applicability and effectiveness of the solution.

Finally, the business strategy, economies of scale: the main purpose of these is to reduce the average cost and increase the production volume until all the equipment are working at full capacity and for the longest possible period; therefore, the prerequisite is to be able to distribute the fixed costs over the greatest number of productions.

The advantages of economies of scale are clear - efficiency, cost and volume management - but this can only be achieved if there is such a demand to engage the plants as constantly as possible.

And, therefore, we get to the point: our market, that of television production, is certainly not consistent with the concept of economies of scale, because it is an important market, with limited volumes and non-constant commitment, and, therefore, certainly closer in dynamics to the concept of economy of scope.

The economic concept of purpose, in essence, is the diversification of the production chain to obtain the improvement of efficiency and the distribution of fixed costs through the use of the plants, to produce different products intended for different users and markets, to determine greater revenues at the same cost of production, with a consequent improvement in the margin.

Cloud solutions certainly represent the best technological expression in terms of flexibility, reduction of fixed costs and efficiency.

In fact, with the adoption of these solutions, it is possible to considerably contain the level of investments, provided that we are willing to accept an increase in operating costs.

Yes, what must be said is that cloud solutions find justification from an economic point of view if used for the creation of non-continuous productions, otherwise in the long run, due to higher average cost, they do not allow the achievement of an improvement in the operating margin.

Therefore, in my opinion, as regards the choice between a solution based on a local data centre and a solution in the cloud, the solution, first of all, depends on four fundamental criteria: market, product, workflow and economic strategy".


Presspool: “Which television products is the cloud solution best suited to?”

FD: “If we talk about television products, unfortunately, even if they all deserve the same attention and quality, we have to define levels.

In the high-level product, for this kind of application, the cloud solutions still do not fully resume, the operational functions and dynamics, and the workflows envisaged for this kind of processing.

This also happens due to infrastructural shortcomings and I am referring to connectivity which, for the creation of high-quality and complex products, requires access to services not yet available everywhere and with still significant costs today.

And then, if today we wanted to resume the workflow envisaged for high-level production, replacing the traditional use of resources in the field with a totally cloud-based solution, we would encounter difficulties in replicating all the technical-operational and functional points of view of individual devices that our staff use every day to create television programmes.

Technological progress is visible, fast and constant; I would say that every six months we can appreciate how much closer the finish line and the possibility of transferring processes and functions from our local servers/hardware to the cloud version is.

In fact, all the manufacturers are moving in this direction. Certainly, it is only a question of waiting months and certainly not years, to arrive at the creation of a proper catalogue of services".


Presspool: “And if the product is of an average level? Or simple or simplified?”

FD: “As far as this last type of production is concerned, cloud solutions are applicable and already perfectly used; and are sometimes implemented on local data centres.

In these cases, the coverage of the technical-operational functions are already widely covered and the effectiveness and reliability of workflows give decidedly visible results.

In fact, events and productions, which in the past would not have been economically convenient to produce and distribute, have today become not only profitable but also a tool for increasing volumes and therefore a means for improving the average cost of production. Furthermore, we have a further beneficial effect determined by the adoption of new models of sale of licenses to access cloud services and applications temporarily, which contribute to improving the economic framework of television productions on a non-continuous basis".

Presspool: “Where are we at with cloud operations in EMG Italy?”

FD: “We have already undertaken important initiatives with excellent results, both from a technical and economic point of view.

Just to mention the last period, we used the cloud solution for the reception and subsequently for the distribution of content with global coverage during the last FISU Winter Sports University Games.

In addition, thanks to the experience accumulated thanks to the innumerable services that we have already been providing for several years in a "remote production" configuration for sport on the Italian market, and beyond, we are working on the front of the establishment of a shared private infrastructure to guarantee our television production services clients across a broad scope and scale.

In short, we are firmly convinced that the path of cloud services and private data centres is the way to go.

This is also because our company is based in various countries and we are sure that this additional advantage is decisive for promoting the success of the economy of scope and scale strategy. We think of a market whose borders are no longer an obstacle but, on the contrary, an additional lever to make the best use of not only resources, generating efficiency but also skills, in terms of service delivery, product quality and planning, to always comply with the requests of our customers, who, like us, compete in an increasingly demanding and broader market.


EMGlogo© 2023 EMG Italy – Presspool PressOffice RobertoLandini


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