The media industry has undergone massive changes throughout 2022. The current global recession has seen streaming giants struggle to maintain customer revenue and interest, especially with new streamers such as Paramount Plus, entering the market.
According to Dan Goman, CEO of Ateliere, as we dive headfirst into 2023, we can only expect to see further challenges and more competition within and facing the streaming world.
In 2022, Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) platforms exceeded 1.25 billion subscribers worldwide, and that number will double by 2027. Such a large number of subscribers demands an ever-increasing stream of fresh content. Even with a vast pool of consumers, it is a hyper-competitive market featuring a lot of big players, and high-quality content is the currency that’s keeping platforms on top.
However, with streaming services serving a worldwide audience, each content title can have hundreds of duplicated versions. One of the main reasons for this is the need for localisation into many languages.
Episodes with alternative language audio and subtitle tracks have traditionally needed their own file versions, and particular territories may have laws surrounding background advertising or violent images – in which case, different edited versions are required to comply. All these files can be massive, often adding up to petabytes of costly storage for a single movie or television series.
This is where deduplication comes into its own – streamlining and reducing the amount of storage needed for all the alternate versions. Ateliere Connect is a digital media supply chain platform offering a unique deduplication function that can significantly reduce the amount of storage, often by more than 70%. The savings can add up to millions for an extensive content library or studio.
Cutting the cost of content
Not only do storage costs eat into profitability, but they also restrict businesses from functioning at their full potential. Data storage is expensive—that’s a simple fact—and the ever-increasing demand for new content means storage expenses will continue to grow. For streaming services, increasing competition and content costs mean looking at their internal systems to find ways to cut costs and achieve profitability.
Instead of spending money on excess storage, streaming services could focus on moving content into cost-effective, cloud-based delivery and distribution workflows. Recently, a prominent digital media company partnered with Ateliere to remove duplicated media within 500 episodes. They began with 125TB of stored content, but by the end, they had more than halved their total to 57TB. This reduction cut their Amazon Web Storage (AWS) fees by two-thirds.
Savings of this magnitude are not abnormal. Regardless of their size, many content owners can save significantly by deduplicating their libraries.
A brave new idea
At first glance, migrating an entire content library may seem costly, but the efficiencies gained soon add significant savings to the bottom line. Moving the digital media supply chain to the cloud is an opportunity to transform outdated workflows and practices. The ability to deduplicate an entire content library at scale is unique to Ateliere, as other digital supply chain platforms are yet to develop the necessary technology.
The savings and return on investment in deduplicating your content library are easy to calculate using Ateliere’s deduplication cost-savings calculator. By entering the number of episodes and versions, along with the approximate amount of current storage, users can accurately estimate the savings gained by switching to Ateliere Connect and deduplicating their video content. For some, this amounts to millions of pounds a year, the figures for which are displayed visually through bar charts to drive home precisely how significant the savings are.
How deduplication works
Multiple files are created when content is localised for international delivery, each representing a different language or regional version. In most cases, over 90% of the video content is the same across all versions.
Ateliere’s deduplication process works by creating a common version and removing duplicated content across all the other versions. Unique frames, such as alternate scenes, dubbed audio, subtitles, and credits, are preserved. Virtual files are created to represent the many versions.
Ateliere Connect manages this process through our core Deep Analysis technology, which uses Ateliere’s proprietary FrameDNA artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to scan files and understand which ones contain identical or unique frames. Operators use a timeline-style interface to approve or reflect comparisons, either individually or in bulk, by allowing rules-based procedures to make the decisions.
The platform consolidates the componentised clips into Interoperable Master Format (IMF) packages containing Composition Playlists (CPLs) representing the virtual versions. By storing content as CPLs, users can quickly create and distribute localised versions on-demand.
And with deduplication, the savings continue after the process is complete. Traditionally, quality control between localised versions can often be costly, as each version needs to be checked individually. However, once deduplicated, only the specifically localised frames are different. This process significantly reduces the time quality control takes on each file – whether it’s a person doing the work or automated software.
The streaming market continues to grow and evolve. Whether it’s through Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD), Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) services, or another, new approach, the industry will continue to dominate.
And with cinema attendance still far lower than the industry was experiencing pre-pandemic, there is the potential for a whole new sector to begin establishing a streaming arm, ensuring that current players up their game to stay relevant.
Regardless, consumers, content owners, and streaming services can agree that cutting costs is key to the industry’s long-term success. As with any business, streamlining is critical – and cutting data storage by over 70% is one of the easiest, quickest cuts content owners, streamers, and studios can make.