Adapting to today’s media production landscape through new and innovative approaches in the cloud
By Keith Buckley, President & CEO at Xytech Systems
We’ve seen a lot of change in media production and operations over the last 35 years. Helping operational teams at some of the world’s best media and broadcasting companies create great content has been a roller-coaster. The birth of the Internet, the rise/fall/rise of free- and pay-TV, the innovation of on-demand services, and the unbridled thirst for content from increasingly global audiences that seems to never cease are some of the drivers.
Our industry has been at the forefront of innovation and growth, but from a media operations standpoint there have been challenges. The list is long, but two that stand out are that media operations have become more complicated, and teams are under pressure to do more with less. Often, these two trends have gone hand-in-hand. Take, for example, the surge in remote production in recent years – a trend accelerated by the pandemic – which has prompted companies to find new and more flexible ways of working that distribute people, equipment, and assets in disparate places – while utilizing technologies such as the cloud and IP networks to create workflows that can be more efficient.
State of Media Operations Report
These two trends were noticeable in our talks with partners and customers during the NAB Show in Las Vegas in April of this year. They were also echoed in our recent STATE OF MEDIA OPERATIONS report. More than 150 Media and Broadcast experts and executives contributed. The report spanned the breadth of customers in our industry (including Disney, Netflix, the Associated Press and Marvel Studios), across workflows (from breaking news to Hollywood blockbusters), and service providers (like Encompass and Ericsson) – all very different types of media operations but all facing these dual drivers of managing complexity, while doing more with less.
Our survey uncovered some key findings, such as how more agility and the need to better predict costs are both critical factors for success. Moreover, the process of talking candidly with so many of our customers and partners is helping us to shape our future – making sure it aligns with what our clients need and where the industry is heading. One of the most significant changes for us is our switch to providing the benefits of becoming a ‘SaaS platform’. This process is fundamental to where we are heading and, more importantly, why we’re heading in this direction.
You may find yourself asking why the transition from legacy software to SaaS? When Xytech started, it was founded from the perspective of the producer, because we were part of a production facility. There was a need for a solution to help our facilities and media operations teams do a better job. So, Xytech built its software, initially for Xytech. But we realized its applications could benefit a much larger group and as a result we adapted our software slightly to the larger group’s unique circumstances, it was widely accepted as a valuable tool and organically took off. As people naturally moved around the industry, they brought us into their new organizations. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and now we’re embedded in nearly every media touchpoint at the highest value and most demanding media and broadcasting production companies around the world, such as CBS Television City, Viasat, NBCU, and many others!
Our development teams have continually built features that help customers solve problems, adding new capabilities, and integrating the software with evolving technologies. Yet our success also brought several challenges. Our software became highly customized on a customer-specific basis. That was a positive, but it also created capabilities that weren’t available to our entire base of customers. Why? Because features essentially became bespoke elements. We have hundreds of integrations with third-party software, systems, and platforms, but not across every client – again, because some don’t require this integration or because their codebase is subtly different and would require complex development to add a feature – that at the moment – they don’t need or even want.
Our next step forward
While our whole ethos was centered around enabling teams to do more with less… we were doing the opposite. So, we took a bold decision last year to re-energize our end-to-end Media Operations Platform™ through standards-based APIs in the cloud, allowing every customer the ability to gain access to all the features they need, along with an expanded pool of potential integrations. Essentially, the move to a SaaS-based platform allows us to better align with the needs of both our clients and the pace of development in the M&E industry in areas like remote production, cloud adoption and software-driven workflows.
But it became clear that some of our customers were simply happy with the status quo. They wanted to retain our software within their own infrastructure, and that’s OK. We come from a production background, and we understand that companies have strategic requirements, so we will happily continue to deliver the features they need, as and when they need them.
It might seem subtle, but as a platform, we can truly deliver a critical base tool that’s able to serve small innovators, enterprise customers and massive global entities with the same rich feature set that will continue to grow in tempo with our industry. As a SaaS platform, updates and innovations are made available at a regular cadence – to every client – everywhere! In fact, going forward, our Media Operations Platform™ will upgrade in four seasonal releases per year in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, so watch this space…
NAB Show 2023
This year’s NAB Show was a very successful one for us as we got to hear again from both our customers and industry partners about what Media Operations will look like over the next decade. In fact customers continued to communicate to us the need to adapt to an ever-changing industry—doing more with less. We know that the global economic effect on Media Operations has required businesses of all sizes to become nimble. We understand that the need to predict costs while reducing time waste is critical to everyone. But we also know that things can change in an instant and will continue to change as media consumption increases and usage expands.
Here at Xytech, we continue to push towards our goal of enabling creative teams to do more. We are passionate about our industry and the teams on the ground that deliver media content, and ultimately, we want to continue to grow together with you…
Keep an eye on our website and social media for our next events, and if you are interested, we’d love to chat with you!