Welcome John du Pre Gauntt our newest MediaBizBlogger.
Get ready for those dreaded words coming from the c-suite or boardroom in your media or marketing shop – What's our Cloud Strategy?
You saw that movie in the mid-90s with the Internet. You could throw out a few references to packet switching, DNS or another piece of tortured alphabet to establish Internet bona fides and snag some budget. Times were flush. We were fat, dumb and happy enough to talk about Internet-enabled refrigerators emailing Safeway to deliver more milk.
Not so today with cloud computing. Your management will want to fast-forward through the rosy 2015 scenarios in order to ask in direct business terms how cloud computing is likely to impact media and marketing – today.
You might tell them this:
Cloud computing will flip media and marketing from being a forecast-driven, mass-market business to being a demand-driven, mass-customized business. Basically, the cloud injects true e-commerce into media and marketing. In a cloud-native media world, you can forget about having "viewers" or "listeners" or "readers" or "players." You've now got customers who want their media and marketing their way, on their own turf, when they want it, and on whatever device. You'll deal with them under multiple business models. You'll need to pull in a boatload of 3rd party data and services to help configure a media experience as opposed to simply delivering a network signal, a Web page or an ad to an impression. The cloud is how you migrate to that kind of world.
The inevitable follow-up question will be, how does cloud computing pull this off? For now, stick with video. The cloud does two things to video. First, by being able to place nearly all video production, distribution and monetization processes under an OPEX model rather than CAPEX model, cloud computing pretty much negates the question of who can be a broadcast or HD-quality video network. Don't confuse this with having a YouTube channel. With cloud-based Video-as-a-Service (VaaS), we're talking about being able to encode video into multiple formats, target our distribution, guarantee Quality of Service (QoS), harvest analytics, and embrace different business models. It's YouTube with a realistic business back-end.
An OPEX orientation to video is important enough. However, the radical game changer is the cloud's ability to make video act more like software than just a piece of content. By that, I mean that applications will be layered on top or embedded directly with the video content itself. Media providers and advertisers have wanted to make video content "clickable" for a long time. The difference now is that cloud-based media systems make the process far more simple, effective and cheap. For example, Overlay.tv is a Canadian company that allows video producers to introduce annotations, images, widgets and links as a layer on top of digital video. Inside a layer placed on top of a video or still image, there are clickable "targets" that can link out commerce, information and/or educational resources, social network profiles, or even communication functions like chat.
This means that cloud-based video carries with it the embedded ability to transact with the user. You can transact for money, for attention, for ID – basically for anything that makes sense from a social and/or business point-of-view. For marketers, you're able to bake the funnel inside the video experience itself, peeling back layers as needed to move the consumer closer to an event that can be monetized.
Cloud computing is no substitute for a compelling story, with vivid characters and dramatic tension. Cloud computing won't change the need to know who buys, why they buy, or how they buy. However, the cloud changes the context in which media providers and marketers must answer those questions. If you remember that last point, then you're well on the way to a realistic cloud computing strategy.
John du Pre Gauntt is the founder of Media Dojo and is an expert on the business impact of interactive technologies on the media and marketing industries. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.