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Omdia’s ICT Enterprise Insights 2019/20 survey revealed that multiscreen UX/UI personalization, lowering content supply chain total cost of ownership (TCO), time to market, operational excellence, and accelerating profitability are the top five business priorities for almost half (49–55%) of media enterprises in the next 12–18 months. Although these priorities are still vital globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the dynamic toward a focus on embedding media technologies that will enable operational excellence, higher resource utilization rates, and business continuity for the next 18–24 months. This will slightly decelerate growth in traditional capex-based technology investments in the short term, but Omdia believes that the overall ICT spend across the media and entertainment segment will fall to 7.1% and 6.7% of total global revenue for the next two years respectively, against previous estimates of 8.2% and 7.9% made in January 2020. Profitability margins will come under pressure, but the pandemic opens newer monetization avenues across noncore markets such as enterprise video (education, healthcare, government surveillance, and logistics asset tracking), offsetting a sharp downturn in overall media ICT spend due to live-business uncertainty (reduction in sporting events and capex investment in local and regional news coverage).

Workflow orchestration, remote collaboration, content protection, and predictive analytics at the edge to rise
Traditionally, media and entertainment has been a human-intensive segment and has followed a highly conservative approach toward automation and cloud computing. This has resulted in the building of a customized, siloed, architecture-centric content supply chain and in dependencies on internal shared IT teams for day-to-day operations. The emergence of COVID-19 will drastically transform not just media enterprises but most other segments including financial services, education, healthcare, and government, causing them to aggressively push toward enhancing their digital services portfolio. Furthermore, as digital asset consumption exponentially surges as much of the world’s population stays at home, today’s media enterprises need to remodel their content supply chain ecosystem to reduce dependencies on human capital in the long term. Some of the key opex-centric technology investments are as follows:

Workflow orchestration. Automation of multifaceted workflows across the media value chain is essential to lower time to market and to accelerate media preparation volume without offsetting quality. In addition, effective workgroup collaboration, increasing resource utilization rates, and reengineering human capital scheduling will enable the creation of newer monetization avenues at lower TCO.

Remote collaboration. As business continuity and certainty become vital, the development of a contactless, human-free on-site environment will increase the adoption of real-time workgroup collaboration plug-ins to ease media preparation workflow at lower bandwidth along with remote production on IP. In March 2019, Omdia estimated that only 2% of premium content owners today have a fully deployed remote preparation workflow for their time-bound projects. The COVID-19 pandemic might cause this proportion to increase by five to seven times in the next 12–15 months.

Content protection at the edge. As consumption of multiformat TV and video rises enormously in the next 8–12 months, media enterprises are faced with the challenge of converting unconventional pirates into a paying digital user base. Furthermore, end-to-end monitoring and protection of legacy relaunched TV and video titles to expand the in-home entertainment offering is essential to reduce revenue leakages in the long run. Therefore, moving content protection to the edge to reduce identity theft, system hacking, theft of rebroadcasting streams, and virtual private network (VPN) misuse in real time will be crucial.

Predictive analytics at the edge. The rapid launch of local and regional digital services to meet business discontinuity means that risks encompassing both internal (video-based employee, partner collaboration) and external (patient, student, and government surveillance) use cases emerge. Enterprises are pushed toward leveraging an agile digital user engagement workflow. As these enterprises embark on a live-video-first strategy, serverless real-time cognitive services (AI) embedded analytics at the edge become a pivotal differentiator to create niche market positioning in the short to medium term. This not only assists in building personalized experience at scale but also improves resource utilization and reach-engagement rates.

Therefore, as media enterprises adapt to this changing business environment and the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, lowering human capital dependencies by utilizing next-generation operational, content, and audience-lifecycle management technologies remains essential to maintain competitive advantage in 2020.