Consumers content and cloud media industry white paper


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Consumers content and cloud media industry white paper

  1. 1. WHITE PAPER: Mobile Content Delivery for Media IndustryConsumers, Contentand Cloud: What ITleaders in every mediaorganisation should know Table of Contents 2  edia study: two sides M 7  t’s the message, not   I of the coin  the medium 4  he two must-haves T for media providers: a robust cloud platform and application performance monitoring tools 
  2. 2. As the internet has made it easier than ever to access mediaservices, consumers are at the forefront of a digital revolution,leaving many content providers’ traditional revenue modelsstruggling to keep pace.The media industry is evolving. It’s not just digital technologies but an emergingparticipatory media culture, fuelled by blogs, user generated content and socialnetworks that are transforming the relationships and practices through which mediaorganisations have historically operated and created value. As readership figuresand advertising revenues in printed publications dwindle, established contentproviders are to seek a sustainable, profitable business model for the internet age:one that can satisfy consumer appetites for rich media at increasing volume andvelocity, support a first-class user experience and be successfully monetised.What challenges and opportunities does this present for media organisations in adigital, device-driven world, and what tools and technologies can be harnessed toconquer today’s trans-media landscape and create compelling experiences?Media study: two sides of the coinThere are two discrete trends disrupting established media industry principlesand practices, demanding the reconfiguration of the content value chain:technological and people.TechnologyInnovations in communications, devices, platforms and delivery have turnedpassive consumption into active participation and brought unprecedentedpersonalisation to mass media. Equipped with increasingly powerful mobiletechnologies, users consume content whenever and wherever they want, andacross multiple devices. They flit between a desktop PC, laptop, smart phone andtablet depending on the context — time of day, location, purpose or even frame ofmind — and expect the transition to be seamless.While the traditional ‘wired’ market was dominated by a single standard andbusiness-driven, the ‘wireless’ market is heterogeneous and consumer-driven. Mobiledevices change so rapidly, they are perceived more as fashion accessories than tools,and multiple operating systems and versions are in concurrent use. The BlackBerry,once the corporate stalwart, is no longer the de facto device for business users,especially since Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have enabled otherdevices and operating systems to gain a legitimate toehold in many organisations.This means content providers cannot afford to restrict their focus to a singleplatform, but must instead be device-agnostic by default. Mobile applicationdevelopment strategies must take into consideration multiple operating systemsand support current, past and future releases.Meanwhile, technologies like Adobe Flash are turning developers into designersand vice versa. This is enabling a new interplay of creative, commercial andtechnological skills, and it is anticipated that the latest HTML authoring tools willultimately do the same in the mobile space. 2
  3. 3. PeopleFor any content provider, a change of mindset is required when it comes to theuser, who is, in essence, in charge and at the centre of everything. The boundariesbetween B2B and B2C audiences are increasingly blurred, as all content isconsumed by individuals with wants, needs, preferences, values and variableattention spans. Traditional media and content companies are having to reinventthemselves as consumer businesses, serving two types of digital experience orstates of mind, rather than two discrete audiences:• n Lean Forward mode, users tend to have a short attention span and scan rather I than read, actively looking for content, perhaps multi-tasking — most commonly seen on the desktop PC• he Lean Back experience is more immersive, with the user in consumption T mode, characterised by a longer attention span — analogous to print or television and frequently seen in smart phone useThe tablet is the first device that attempts to cross the boundaries bysupporting both types of user experience, a phenomenon increasingly referredto as “curl-up computing”.No longer prepared to be dictated to by linear media schedules, people arebecoming active information-seekers. In fact, many consumers no longer regardtraditional content providers as their go-to sources of insight and instead wait formainstream and niche news to be filtered through social channels, via links sharedby people or brands they trust and respect.Digitisation of content has arguably led to commoditisation, anddigital natives’ expectations of a ‘free lunch’ have spawned gloomypredictions for the news and music segments in particular. Thechallenge is to identify innovative monetisation models to ensure Mobility: from ‘nice to have’ tosurvival, rather than a ‘pay for everything’ or ‘pay for nothing’ ‘social necessity’approach. Many media businesses are emulating the economicsof software providers, for whom the cost of creating something 5.1 billion – the number of people onof value is high, but the marginal cost of distributing it to each the planet who own a mobile phone —consumer is low. but only 4.2 billion own a toothbrushHowever, with any content behind a paywall, on-demand spending 68 minutes – the average time itis driven by the quality and consistency of the user experience, takes to report a lost mobile deviceease of access and relevant content. Brands such as Facebook, (compared with 26 hours to report aGoogle and Apple have defined consumers’ expectations for the lost wallet)“it just works” technology experience. Consumerisation has also 3 hours – the average time peopleled to rising expectations in the workplace in terms of simplicity, spend socialising on a mobile deviceusability and elegance — not always the hallmarks of corporate IT. — twice the time people spend eatingTolerance of delays or disruption to the user experience is low, andforgiveness is largely dependent on uniqueness or relevance of the Source: HubSpot Inboundcontent itself or the provider’s brand equity. Internet Marketing 3
  4. 4. Performance and prediction: the primary IT challenges formedia organisations Brands such as Facebook, Google andWhat these trends in technology and human nature mean for the Apple have defined consumers’ set-media industry is that the user experience is almost as important point for the “it just works” technologyas the content itself, and great content means nothing if the experience.user experience is poor. Facebook has undeniably set the barfor performance with response times of just 0.75 seconds, whileLinkedIn and YouTube hold the top two spots for availability at99.96% and 99.91% respectively1. So it’s hardly surprising thatconsumers are increasingly intolerant of slow or unresponsiveservice: according to a survey conducted by Equation Researchand commissioned by Compuware, 74% of mobile phone users willwait five seconds or less for a page to load before abandoning it,yet 77% of top companies’ mobile sites exceed this 5 second target.In practice, three out of five mobile web users will not recommenda slow-loading site to others, and two in five are unlikely to return,resulting in loss of revenue and credibility.Predicting workload is somewhat easier for business content providers — theyare likely to be able to estimate maximum load fairly accurately, based on a finitesubscriber base, and ensure their data centre has the necessary headroom tocomfortably accommodate it. However, this invariably means poor capacityand CapEx utilisation due to over-provisioning. Content providers such as newsorganisations and broadcasters, on the other hand, may be able to predict specificpatterns of demand, such as weekend traffic related to sports or light entertainmentprogrammes, but cannot foresee when a global event or phenomenon will causea huge surge in demand. Unless they have provisioned for the best or worst casescenario — a costly exercise — the servers are likely to be overwhelmed.Orchestrating an ‘anytime, anywhere, any device’ content strategy requires the ITdepartments of media organisations to adopt new tools and develop a new levelof technical fluency.The two must-haves for media providers: a robust cloud platform andapplication performance monitoring toolsThe first objective of any modern media strategy is to ‘get in the game’ bymobilising existing content, preferably through dedicated mobile applicationsrather than via a browser. A shrink-to-fit approach to smaller screens won’t besufficient to grab and hold consumers’ attention. The second phase is to ‘getahead of the game’ by using mobility to provide a differentiated experience thataddresses previously unmet needs. Elements such as contextual awareness,gaming and social integration will become key to developing engaging andimmersive digital experiences.When laying the foundation for any multi-platform strategy, media ITdepartments need two robust cornerstones: the ability to meet peaks in demandthrough cloud enablement and meet customers’ performance expectationsthrough application performance management.1 Alertsite quarterly report, Q1 2011 4
  5. 5. Harnessing the hybridMedia organisations need to be able to operate, maintain and 74% of mobile phone users will wait 5deliver a “pipeline” of content with a wildly scalable IT environment. seconds or less for a page to load, yetThe elasticity of the cloud can help multi-platform broadcasters 77% of top companies’ mobile sitesmanage both linear growth and great uncertainty created by: exceed this.• he ubiquity of networked devices that have made media access t a core component of their proposition• obile content consumption becoming part of consumers’ daily lives m (YouTube alone accounts for around 25% of mobile data traffic worldwide)• sers cramming increasing volumes of media consumption into everyday life u through multitasking, rather than chronological exposure.The media industry appears to be ahead of the curve relative to other industrieswhen it comes to cloud adoption. Many content providers already have a privatecloud behind their own organisational firewall that goes some way towardsproviding the economies of virtualisation. Others adopt a “rent first, buy as a lastresort” approach to compute resource and have well-established arrangementswith third party infrastructure providers.A hybrid cloud solution, in which the private cloud interoperates with the publiccloud, offers the best of all worlds by allowing extra capacity to be obtained fromthe public cloud (known as “bursting”) during spikes in demand while keepingmission-critical services and data within the organisation’s control. The hybridcloud offers myriad benefits including:• n agile and flexible approach A With operational flexibility, quick start-up and back end serviceability, the hybrid cloud is well suited to highly variable or unpredictable workloads. As a self-service, metered utility, it provides ubiquitous network access for any web-enabled client device on a pay-as-you-go basis. It allows media organisations to build agility and controllability into their back-end IT, without the huge demands on capital expenditure. Its responsiveness enables short-range, tactical planning, eliminating the need to build a data centre for long-term strategies which may be eclipsed by global events, changing consumer behaviours and preferences or technological disruption. The cloud additionally supports the emerging model of “online always, publish sometimes” by allowing media organisations to become digital media centres that also happen to publish a printed edition at fixed intervals.• cost-effective resource pool A The media industry has an appetite like few others for storage, processing, analytics and management resources. Publishers, media buyers and search providers rely on “clicks” as the only consistent, global measure of value in their activities, which means a growing volume of data to be analysed — especially given that the value of media assets can change rapidly over time. The cloud not only offers the compute and storage resources that media companies need to deliver content, but also the ability to analyse massive volumes of data to understand user behaviour and calculate the real value of advertising space — indispensible to a growing number of monetisation models. 5
  6. 6. • platform for innovation A The cloud enables rapid integration of media, applications and The cloud enables short-range, tactical services with targeted distribution channels such as Facebook, planning, eliminating the need to build YouTube and By allowing media to be highly a data centre for long-term strategies targeted in real-time towards a consumer’s immediate needs (and which may be eclipsed by global therefore much more “clickable”), it enables organisation to shift events, changing consumer behaviours from a ‘market of many’ to a ‘market of one’. Once content can be and preferences or technological integrated with commerce, all manner of interesting possibilities disruption. arise for dynamic advertising that can lead directly to immediate action or a purchase. Cloud-native media means the cloud is not simply a cost-effective platform for hosting content, but a business platform for commercialising it.• means of satisfying mutual interests A As traditional media revenue models falter, there is a tendency for some organisations to perceive consumers as ‘the enemy’, as expectations of free content and behaviours like file-sharing have become the norm. However, the real threat for content providers is growing complexity. Consumers are no longer prepared to fit their lives around linear broadcast schedules or someone else’s business model. Social networking has made complex, adaptive demand for media an everyday phenomenon. The cloud, without doubt, offers the best single platform for exchanging and evolving media with multiple audiences, using multiple devices in multiple contexts under multiple business models, in ways that benefit media organisations and consumers alike.Application Performance Management ToolsIt’s not enough to deliver tailored and engaging content — applicationperformance affects the bottom line. Applications don’t always perform optimally,especially with the added considerations of cloud delivery and access via avariety of devices and platforms. Issues often go undetected until end userscomplain. The result is a major hit to adoption, customer loyalty, and the bottomline. Monitoring and testing are therefore essential to delivering a high qualitymobile site and native application experiences.• eb Load Testing Tools W It’s vital to be able to identify scalability and performance problems across the entire application delivery chain — ideally down to pinpointing the By allowing media to be specific line of code that is to blame. Web load testing tools generate high- highly targeted in real- volume, real-world loads to produce an accurate measurement of response time towards a consumer’s times and the end user experience under load, especially the performance needs, the cloud enables of mobile devices. By being able to gain an “outside in” view of performance, organisations to shift from a problems can be identified with third-party components, such as shopping ‘market of many’ to a ‘market carts, geographical variations in response times, browser-specific issues and of one’ mobile content delivery issues. These tools facilitate collaboration between development, testing and operations, reducing friction and test iterations, and enabling speedier and more proactive resolution of performance and scalability issues before they become apparent to end users 6
  7. 7. • ser Monitoring Tools U User monitoring scrutinises performance from the only point It’s vital to be able to identify scalability of view that really matters — the consumer’s. These tools are and performance problems across the designed to measure the end user experience, performance and entire application delivery chain — traffic metrics directly from the consumer’s browser and mobile ideally down to pinpointing the specific device. Page views and conversion or abandonment rates can be line of code that is to blame. correlated with mobile site and application performance and end user satisfaction. This allows media providers to gain deep insight into how their end users are actually behaving as they view the content and detect/fix problems before users are even aware of them. This means they safeguard their all-important brand reputation by reducing drop- out rates due to frustration with performance issues, and optimise mobile site and application performance. Crucially, these tools also enable applications to be tested under ‘real world’ conditions to ensure they work across all browsers, devices, geographies and networks loads to provide a consistent, truly global user experience.• loud Provider Monitoring Tools C Cloud-enablement is central to an anytime, anywhere, any device media delivery strategy. The trouble is, cloud providers typically measure their own performance in terms of availability, but this is not the same thing as “performance” — the measure by which end users will judge a site or mobile app. Before migration, the media organisation must ensure applications will perform as planned once beyond its own firewall. Cloud provider monitoring tools provide holistic application performance monitoring that allows the media company’s IT department to rapidly isolate the fault domain — whether that is the data centre or WAN, the ISP or the internet, the browser or device, or a third party provider. This helps to ensure that media organisations can enjoy all the benefits of the cloud while minimising any potential performance issues arising from third party components throughout the entire application delivery chain.It’s the message, not the mediumAs a trans-media narrative is becoming commonplace, organisations that used tothink in siloed terms of print, web, TV, radio, music or video are now well-advisedto focus on the message rather than the medium.The cloud has great potential to shape the future of the industry, especially cloud-native media, which offer exciting new opportunities for content providers andbroadcasters to transact in real-time with their audience, socially or commercially.Consider the cloud as the digital assembly line that enables mass customisation ofmedia and advertising services to those in charge — the consumers.That’s why a cloud-enabled media strategy is not just a matter ofhaving the right infrastructure — it’s about delivering the right tools,the right controls and the right user experience. Cloud providers typically measure their own performance in terms of availability,For more information call us on +44(0)207 400 5600, but uptime does not guaranteeemail or visit performance — the measure by which end users will judge a site or mobile app. 7
  8. 8. To find out more about Savvis  visit or  call +44(0)207 400 5600.Global Headquarters Asia Pacific Canada EMEA Germany Japan1 Savvis Parkway 50 Raffles Place 6800 Millcreek Drive Eskdale Road Westhafenplatz 1 7th FloorSt. Louis, MO 63017 Singapore Land Tower Mississauga, ON Winnersh Triangle 60327 Frankfurt am Main Kyodo Building #13-01 L5N 4J9 Wokingham Germany (Jinbocho 3cho-me)Tel 1.800.SAVVIS.1 Singapore 048623 Berkshire RG41 5TS 3-29 Kanda Jinbocho(1.800.728.8471) Tel 1.877.387.3764 United Kingdom Tel +49 69 710456 156 Tel +65 6768 8000 Tokyo 101-0051 Tel +44 (0)118 322 6000 Japan Tel +81.3.5214.0151© 2013 CenturyLink, Inc. All rights reserved. The Savvis mark, logo and certain Savvis product namesare the property of CenturyLink, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. -1-