FEED Winter 2020/21 Web

Outsourcing elements of media infrastructure used to be an easy decision. Now, making the right choices takes good planning and good partnerships

f there was one watchword for the entire business world over the past year, it would be ‘transformation.’ The challenges that Covid-19 has posed have taken centre stage, but those challenges have often revealed It’s becoming clear that few companies can manage these essential transformations alone. It’s just not realistic for a company to build and manage its own infrastructure, troubleshoot all its own tech issues and still be able to focus effectively on its content output. A new report from Red Bee, Redefining Outsourcing in Media, looks at the opportunities these harried companies have to outsource their technology infrastructure to specialists, freeing up capacity to solve the real business problems that lie ahead. other issues that, in truth, businesses have delayed addressing. “A major impact that Covid-19 has had on our customers is the acceleration of digital transformation,” observes Red Bee’s chief marketing officer, Margaret Davies. “For many companies, it has confirmed what their technology strategy needs to be, but it has also required executives to do wholesale reviews of their strategies, so they can re-baseline their business and recover, whether it’s dropped ad revenues, or the revised economics as we head into 2021. And outsourcing is a real business enabler.”

According to Red Bee’s report, outsourcing media services is no longer isolated to big broadcasters that have handed over playout deployment, media management and access services to a managed services provider. There are new entrants in the video space that have little or no expertise in media technology or operations. They need to keep their focus on their audiences and monetising content. There are also still commercial and public service broadcasters across the world that, until now, have little or no experience – or even interest in – outsourcing parts of their operations. Rights owners may want to monetise content by going directly to consumers and setting up their own streaming platforms. For these non-traditional media companies, outsourcing allows them to rely on a dependable, flexible and innovative supplier to support them as they tackle new opportunities or experiment with new business models. This diversification of broadcasting and media calls for a redefinition of what outsourcing means. “The age-old struggle people have had with outsourcing is cost saving versus relinquishing control,” says Davies. “Traditionally, the cost-saving benefits of outsourcing were seen largely up front. Those same cost savings aren’t as big now as outsourcing has evolved. It’s still relevant as a business enabler, but the debate now questions:


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