The digital age is providing unparalleled opportunities for media and entertainment (M&E) companies. Whether it’s generating fantastically realistic visual effects in movies and videos, or analyzing consumer data in order to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time, the new capabilities digital technology is unleashing are remaking the industry.

In order to participate in this new business model, M&E organizations are generating, storing, and analyzing huge amounts of data. They have, in effect, become participants in the “big data” revolution.

What Is Big Data?

A simple way to describe big data is to characterize it as datasets that are too big to fit on a single computer or server. Whereas modern computer users may work with gigabytes or even terabytes of data, big data is typically measured in petabytes, exabytes, or zettabytes (a zettabyte is a billion terabytes). Actually, the term encompasses not just the amount of data, but also the ecosystem of tools and strategies used to manage, store, and analyze that data.

Why Big Data Is Important for Media Companies

M&E companies are both producers and consumers of big data. Most of the content produced by media enterprises is now in digital form, and requires massive amounts of data to represent it. For example, a single seven-minute segment of a high definition video translates to a gigabyte of data.

Having content in digital format provides capabilities for creating, manipulating, and transmitting that content that never existed before. From initial production to collaborative editing to post production, media company users are involved with handling big data in every phase of content generation and distribution.

On the other side of the ledger, media companies are using big data analytics to decide what to produce, how to distribute it, and the best ways to monetize it. For example, as a major online destination, Netflix has accumulated massive amounts of user information. They decided to analyze that data to gain insight into what people are looking for in their entertainment. The result was “House of Cards,” their hit streaming video show starring Kevin Spacey. Because of their confidence in big data analytics, Netflix was willing to invest $100 million to produce a show based on what big data told them people wanted to see.

Other media companies are using big data analytics to trigger targeted online advertising based on the actual behavior of their potential customers. Leading edge M&E organizations have learned how to glean information relating to viewing history, reviews and ratings, searches, and social media interactions in order to provide compelling content that customers want to consume. Jonathan Buckley, Sr. VP of Marketing at Qubole puts it this way:

“Big data analytics gives media companies a granular digital view of their customers. Knowing what a customer likes, dislikes, what they are interested in, what social media platforms they prefer, and what they are most likely to consume and buy allows these companies to build personalized connections that enhance the customer’s experience.”

Big Data Requires Big Storage!

The datasets used to manage digital content, or to analyze customer information, are continually growing in number and size. That means the data storage capabilities of M&E companies must expand at similar rates. According to the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, post-production alone already accounts for about 10.6 percent of the total storage market.

Many M&E big data use cases require storage that has large capacity, high scalability, and speedy I/O access. Delivering on those size and performance mandates generally requires a storage infrastructure in which both storage and compute power are spread over many nodes.

Cloud Storage

Cloud-based STaaS (Storage-as-a-Service) vendors provide comprehensive storage services for a monthly fee, freeing customers from the necessity of maintaining their own storage facilities. The use of cloud storage has been demonstrated to result in greatly reduced costs and data management complexity, while allowing for real time collaboration among geographically dispersed users.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloud storage solutions is their almost instant and infinite scalability as capacity needs continue to explode on a daily basis. Plus, because of the focused expertise a good STaaS vendor will bring to the table, cloud solutions can provide levels of data security and reliability that are beyond what all but the largest enterprises can achieve on their own.

Cloud Storage Is Changing The Way Media Companies Operate

Media companies are moving to cloud storage in ever increasing numbers. Many have already discovered that using a cloud storage provider allows them to take advantage of a whole new set of capabilities in the conception, production, and distribution of digital content, without having to make the often massive investments in storage equipment that building their own big data infrastructure would require.

If you’d like to explore how big data and cloud storage can revolutionize your media operations, we here at Zadara can help. Please download the ‘Zadara Storage Cloud’ whitepaper to learn more.