In the Press

In the latest installment of our Industry Insights series, we delve into the intricate world of media asset management and media storage. This second discussion, part of a two-part series, gathers a diverse group of broadcast vendors and suppliers to explore the evolving landscape of storage technology.

From the rise of hybrid storage setups to the impact of AI in optimizing asset management, our panelists shed light on the challenges and innovations shaping the future of media storage. Join us as we navigate the complexities of high-resolution content demands, archiving strategies, data security and the role of data analytics in enhancing storage efficiency.

Key takeaways from the Industry Insights roundtable

  • Hybrid storage setups, combining on-premises and cloud solutions, are becoming more scalable and future-proof, leveraging media-aware AIOps for optimal asset tiering.
  • AI is increasingly used to contextualize stored media assets, enabling autonomous discovery of valuable content and optimizing storage costs based on usage patterns.
  • The demand for high-resolution content is intensifying storage requirements, with proxy-based workflows and scalable cloud solutions playing a crucial role in managing capacity and bandwidth.
  • Broadcasters face challenges in archiving large volumes of media content, including cost management, accessibility, and metadata completeness for efficient search and retrieval.
  • Data security in storage solutions is being strengthened through precise permissions, encryption, and integration with security information and event management (SIEM) systems.


Industry Insights: Balancing cloud and on-premise storage, adopting AI and automation

What are the latest advancements in storage technology for efficient media asset management?

Jonathan Morgan, SVP for product and technology, Perifery: While the media and entertainment industry remains full of companies building islands of storage, on-prem or in the cloud, interconnectivity between storage is now more available and more powerful than ever before. Today, hybrid storage setups are not only more scalable and future proofed, they can utilize the power of media aware AIOps to keep assets on the appropriate storage tier with cost and availability top-of-mind. Storage hasn’t been about hardware for a long time — it’s more about the power of software.

James Fraser, VP of U.S. sales, Moments Lab: Combining AI modalities to contextualize and make sense of stored media assets enables the autonomous discovery of valuable content and boosts ROI. We’re now also seeing AI being used to determine the last time a media asset was used by an organization. Broadcasters can set rules so that if a specific piece of media is left unused for a certain period of time, it moves from one class of storage to another to optimize business costs.

Barry Evans, CTO, Pixitmedia: The addition of easy-to-use “single pane of glass” UIs on top of high-performance storage and data management solutions has been a huge step forward — especially for creative teams. With the proliferation of high-resolution data, teams (which are often remote) need to access and retrieve their nearline and archived data in a quick and frictionless way. A simple UI and unified namespace minimize the need for manual “data wrangling” and let teams remain focused on creative work rather than sifting through mountains of data.

Melanie Ciotti, marketing manager, Studio Network Solutions: AI auto-tagging is up there as one of the biggest time savers in media asset management — making your clips searchable in EVO without any human intervention is an absolute game changer. And while not necessarily the latest development as we’ve been doing this for a while, automatic transcoding is a major catalyst for efficiency in media asset management. Automatically generating proxy files using the processing power of the storage server, then previewing your proxies in the MAM to quickly audition your assets, and importing and attaching those proxies directly in your editing software—that’s efficiency.

Josh Mello, senior worldwide storage specialist, Amazon Web Services: Media and entertainment customers are using the Amazon S3 Glacier storage classes to build out intelligent content libraries and preserve their most precious assets. The Amazon S3 Glacier storage classes are purpose-built for data archiving and are designed for 99.999999999% (11 nines) of data durability. Our customers can choose from three archive storage classes that are optimized for different access patterns and storage duration.

Venugopal Iyengar, COO for digital, PlanetcastThe industry is moving to support multiple platforms to meet the needs of today’s audiences, and media asset management tools require a high level of versatility to meet today’s standards of simultaneous video processing and publishing across multiple platforms. The direction of travel for MAM can be usefully summarized as “leveraging flexibility to achieve more with less.”

How is the growing demand for high-resolution content impacting storage needs in media asset management?

Stephen Tallamy, CTO, EditShare: It is not just higher resolutions that are impacting storage capacities. Productions need to track raw content, VFX and renders, multiple edits and many other assets. From the asset management perspective, that means tracking different versions, resolutions, codecs and formats transparently, so users get straight to the media they need without wasting time on technical considerations.

Duncan Beattie, product manager for storage, Rohde & Schwarz: MAM can greatly assist with performance by implementing a proxy-based workflow. However, this can place additional demands on storage, since both original content and proxies must now be stored. Modern storage needs to be more reliable and flexible than ever, with built-in tiering strategies that enable the use of NAND-based solutions alongside more affordable spinning disks and/or the cloud.

Aaron Kroger, product marketing manager for media workflows, Dalet: The escalating demand for high-resolution content, alongside considerations like bit depth, data rates and HDR, is intensifying storage requirements around capacity, bandwidth, access and collaboration. To accommodate this surge, scalable solutions like cloud storage are essential, yet the hybrid approach strikes a balance, addressing concerns regarding egress and efficiency for optimal workflows. As more and more processes move fully to the cloud, this will become less of a concern, but we are still in a reality today where we can benefit from a hybrid approach.

André Rievers, VP of operations, OpenDrives: The evolution of content creation, focused on 4K and 8K content as well as HDR (high-dynamic range) and HFR (high-frame rate), demands higher performance, modularity and scalability when it comes to storage solutions. From a MAM perspective, high-resolution content management requires more than just capacity; the adoption of flexible and scalable solutions as well as “zero points of failure” are primary points of concern when it comes to reliability, accessibility and responsiveness. Additionally, you must consider cost management as you revisit usage patterns and retention policies.

Philip Grossman, VP of solutions architecture, DigitalGlue: Increasing resolution and framerate has a direct impact on the amount of storage being required by organizations. Each increase in resolution (SD to HD or HD to UHD) can require up to four times the amount of storage. Advancement in codecs does help to reduce the overall storage required for distribution formatted content, but there is no way of getting around the increase in production content (content that is in a codec optimized for editing).

Barry Evans, CTO, Pixitmedia: Just as the industry adapted to 4K, 8K went live, 16K is on the horizon, and there is no end in sight for enhanced media quality — especially with AR and VR. What’s become clear is that the standard practice of buying more storage boxes (and hiring more people) to accommodate increasing file sizes is too expensive and inefficient to truly scale and smart companies are building storage infrastructure that will scale with them. That means creative uses of data management and optimization of storage tiers to manage storage TCO and keep creative teams on task.

Melanie Ciotti, marketing manager, Studio Network Solutions: Proxy workflows are on the rise, and finding a storage and MAM solution that facilitates proxy editing can speed up a workflow. For example, EVO can automatically generate proxies, and with its built-in MAM, you can import and attach those proxies directly in a video editing application. This workflow takes away the strain of editing high-resolution footage, while preserving the link to that 4K or 8K source media when ready to render.

Andrew Ward, business development manager, Cinegy: Although higher resolutions clearly require more pixels, newer codecs require less bytes to encode them; UHD may be four times as many pixels as HD, but careful encoding will generate a file “only“ twice the size. As a result, more storage will be needed, but perhaps not as much as had been feared, and disks are cheap these days, even if storage admins aren’t.

David Rosen, VP of cloud applications and services, Sony Electronics: Higher resolution means bigger files. Compression technology can help reduce file sizes for distribution but storing uncompressed source files for future use is incredibly important for future monetization opportunities. Having a storage solution that can seamlessly manage both high and low resolution files is a must have for media companies.

Sam Bogoch, CEO, Axle AI: Axle AI is seeing two key trends resulting from this growing demand, which is driving storage needs towards petabyte scale at many sites. One is an unexpected trend towards storing archives on location, rather than in the cloud, for easier ongoing access rather than the “deep archive model” of most cloud storage, as well as lower costs in many cases. The second is a drive towards better cost efficiency in both cloud and on-premise storage selection, simply because at the larger scale of archives with 4k and 6k content, the cost per terabyte of all archival options is much a more visible driver than before.

What challenges do broadcasters face in archiving large volumes of media content?

Abe Abt, senior product consultant, AJA Video SystemsLosing data and simply not being able to find it are major bottlenecks in media archiving today. Another is the mismanagement of storage, which leads to unnecessary storage purchases or improper use of costly, high-speed storage where lower-cost archival storage is needed. Given these challenges, rapid, global search-ability is one of the most valuable tools any facility can adopt today.

Duncan Beattie, product manager for storage, Rohde & Schwarz: Broadcasters, similar to any content creators, face significant pressures due to the exponential growth of media files. Archive solutions need to leverage the considerable amount of metadata available, alongside the media files, to enable fast search and restoration, content preview, and, where possible, monetization. Careful consideration should be given to on-premises and off-premises options to ensure that the archive/restore process is efficient and easy to manage.

Eric Carson, executive VP of strategic growth and sales, VubiquityArchiving is always a tradeoff between three items: (1) anticipated accessibility of the media elements (how quickly do we need to be able to retrieve these elements?), (2) cost of storage (is the cost of operating this archive worth it, considering the value of the underlying content?), and (3) integration of the archive into the distribution needs of the organization (can I easily move media in and out of the archive to serve the existing media supply chain?). Volume only amplifies these concerns, especially cost. However, we’re seeing best practices develop to assess content’s monetization potential to identify tiers of assets ahead of an archive strategy

Aaron Kroger, product marketing manager for media workflows, Dalet: Broadcasters today encounter significant challenges in archiving large volumes of media content, primarily centered around balancing costs, performance and accessibility. While the cloud offers cost-effective solutions, effective management of egress and performance remains critical for maintaining operational efficiency. In the near future, we will see end-to-end cloud solutions implemented that will alleviate all of this, but today, optimized, distributed, hybrid architecture remains a key solution to this challenge.

André Rievers, VP of operations, OpenDrives: Cost, usage and shelf-life. Largely dependent on the type of content you’re focused on, content retention needs engagement on different tiers of storage (online, near-line, archive) to definitively identify your specific challenges. The shelf-life of your content and its impact on your strategy (or vice-versa) will essentially define your archiving needs, help determine your retention policies and answer two questions: Where should this live?” and “How long do I need to keep this?

Tom Pflaum, VP of product management for Vantage, Telestream: Broadcasters have been grappling with the challenge of storing and archiving large media libraries for many years now, but the adoption of high-resolution formats like 8K and HDR has added even more complexity in the forms of accommodating the larger file sizes, supporting wider color spaces, and generally ensuring that media does not degrade in quality at any point in the capture-to-archival process. What’s more, as these broadcasters’ media libraries continue to grow, searching through these libraries for the right asset in real-time becomes an increasingly difficult (though mission-critical) task.

Jonathan Morgan, SVP for product and technology, Perifery: Even in this day and age, some broadcasters measure their archives not in petabytes of storage but rather in acres of tape storage on shelves! Not only is there a massive, ongoing challenge in how to digitize content for both historic and new content that is being generated, there is also a challenge in how to keep that content in systems that are open and non-proprietary. Many have found that while public cloud promises ease of storage, the additional costs of using someone else’s service, along with the egress fees and vendor lock-in, means that the only sensible way forward is based on private clouds.

Philip Grossman, VP of solutions architecture, DigitalGlue: There are several challenges faced by broadcasters when it comes to an archiving strategy. The first is organizational structure and metadata completeness. A lot of time archiving is an afterthought and as such when they undertake an archiving project the amount of time required (and cost) to effectively identify and “tag” content is underestimated and many times is the cause for the cancellation of the archiving project.

Jochen Bergdolt, global head of MAM, VizrtBecause broadcasters are faced with the challenge of managing ever-growing archives that are now largely file-based, they must balance the need to ensure 24/7 access to libraries with the cost of maintaining the systems and solutions required to support this. It’s also important that media is well catalogued on entry — then automated rules can be applied to split content into archivable media and temporary assets, and that ultimately the right assets are prioritized for restoration. The right MAM solution balances these needs at any scale: from departmental image libraries to meeting the needs of a national archive.

James Fraser, VP of U.S. sales, Moments Lab: Typically, it’s a challenge to migrate large volumes of media archives to the cloud as it is a costly and time-consuming process. However, with high transfer services readily available on the market, and most solutions now being cost competitive, large archives are no longer a concern for broadcasters as they seek ROI. Choosing what to archive while seeking ROI, or knowing how to maximize the potential of content is another challenge for broadcasters.

Barry Evans, CTO, Pixitmedia: There is the challenge of pure volume: with increasing resolution, a single episode may require as much storage as an entire season of older content. That volume issue gets compounded by the challenge of access, as in the example of when a recap or a flashback calls for old footage. Teams require visibility and access to their archived data with the power to call it back at a moment’s notice, which requires strong indexing for searchability.

Sam Peterson, COO, Bitcentral: It varies depending on the amount of media content and the format; for instance, newer entrants may have a comparatively light task of a few years of content that can be readily ingested, catalogued, and indexed into the cloud. However, legacy broadcasters with decades of film canisters face a far greater challenge and will gain more from the assistance of AI tools with metadata enhancement capabilities. Essentially, metadata enhancement makes content searchable after it has been ingested, and this makes the content far more valuable for distribution.

Jonathan Solomon, partner solutions architect in media and entertainment, Amazon Web Services: The first step is to make sure older data has the ability to have AI run against it to determine what’s in there. Then you can decide what things to keep. The biggest challenge is starting; organizations who migrate content to the cloud now, even if they wait to evaluate it later, will be much better off.

Andrew Ward, business development manager, Cinegy: In our view, fewer and fewer, although sizing will always be with us. Cinegy’s Archive provides a full toolkit for managing petabytes of storage and leaves the choice of that storage entirely to the customer, allowing (for instance) different strategies to be designed for basic and premium content and storage tiering.

How are media organizations ensuring data security and compliance in their storage solutions?

Stephen Tallamy, CTO, EditShare: Security is only viable if it is actually used, and production and post facilities will almost certainly have existing SIEM (security information and event management) systems for individuals to log in to the facilities they need. EditShare Guardian, the analytics platform for EFS and FLOW, provides a direct link with typical SIEM systems, giving users a single secure log on. We have also introduced SAML (security assertion markup language) to carry the single sign-on authentication through workflows to other applications.

Nick Anderson, Creative Space product manager, DigitalGlue: One key characteristic that organizations should look for to protect their data from accidental or even malevolent deletion, such as ransomware attacks, is a copy-on-write architecture. Since files are virtualized, filesystems such as OpenZFS are able to protect and restore deleted and/or modified versions of files in backups called snapshots. The storage is also self-healing as hardware slowly dies, replacing lost data from dead drive sectors with new copies.

Melanie Ciotti, marketing manager, Studio Network Solutions: Organizations are cracking down on media security, and for good reason. In today’s digital world, there’s nothing more important than protecting your data. Incorporating precise permissions and access control, data integrity checksums, encryption, file and project locking, RAID protection, regular software updates, an automated backup plan spanning multiple locations, and, notably, user auditing and monitoring, all contribute to the safety and security of your stored media assets.

Venugopal Iyengar, COO for digital, Planetcast: The sweet spot for media companies consists in getting the most out of collaboration (which makes accessibility a prerequisite) while also ensuring rock-solid data security. Centralized storage with assignable control permissions is one way that media companies meet these needs.

What role does data analytics play in enhancing the efficiency of media storage systems?

Abe Abt, senior product consultant, AJA Video SystemsData analytics play a valuable role across all levels of an organization, especially in how teams interact with their data and storage. It helps creatives find their assets and managers track projects. IT departments can also use data analytics to better manage their data, including where and how it’s stored. Proper data analytics provides efficiency and cost-savings that are almost immeasurable given how rapidly the sheer amount of data is growing.

What future trends are emerging in storage technology for media and entertainment industries?

Duncan Beattie, product manager for storage, Rohde & Schwarz: The use of AI in storage monitoring and production learning could be one of the biggest advances we see in helping to deal with the unpredictability of production. Many storage solutions have fantastic reporting features, and potentially using AI to allocate resources, maximize performance, and predictably tier data could dramatically change, for the better, how the storage is utilized.

André Rievers, VP of operations, OpenDrives: 4K, 8K (and beyond), the evolution of hybrid and cloud-native solutions and the inevitability of AI are primary trends. The “Remi” model, emerging technologies, innovation, interactive content, the exponential global proliferation of talent, the evolution of collaborative workflows and the continuous breakdown of limitations to creativity are consequential. Modularity, scalability, flexibility and interoperability of comprehensive media solutions are absolutely necessary.

Jonathan Morgan, SVP for product and technology, Perifery: Metadata has been important for search and video identification for a long time, however, with transcription, AI analysis, and automated tagging now prevalent the amount of metadata is exploding, reaching unprecedented levels. With that, there is nothing more annoying than seeing solutions that grab this metadata and put it into proprietary databases. A much greater emphasis on self-describing assets, and open metadata needs to be seen in the industry, which will only happen if technologists and customers come together and collaborate.

Nick Anderson, Creative Space product manager, DigitalGlue: The convergence of multi-modal and context-specific AI capabilities heralds a new era of content creation. Multi-modal functionality empowers a single large language model (LLM) with nuanced comprehension across diverse content mediums — text, audio, image, and video. Meanwhile, the advent of context-specific scope control amplifies practical use cases by allowing generative models to be finely calibrated to the unique parameters of a production, such as cast members, props, or locations.

Sam Peterson, COO, Bitcentral: Storage is increasingly viewed as a source of value creation rather than a burdensome maintenance task. We hear many media companies considering AI and machine learning tools (enabled by the cloud) to index their content, making it more easily accessible as a resource to create new monetization opportunities. This is not a panacea but an interesting capability; with economic pressures, a competitive market, and the audience’s insatiable appetite for content, the value of archive content appears to be a premium asset going forward.

Venugopal Iyengar, COO for digital, Planetcast: Simplicity and ease of use will be the gold standard for storage solutions in the future. Media companies are constantly working under time pressure, and the danger is that this is compounded by unwieldy solution stacks that need to be simplified for efficient operations. We call this the ‘complexity challenge’: tackling this issue will be a top priority in developing MAM systems across the industry for years to come.

What innovations are on the horizon for media storage and asset management?

Abe Abt, senior product consultant, AJA Video SystemsThe move to a more distributed workforce and proliferation of remote production have led to incredible innovations in cloud storage, shared storage, data curation, and media asset management. For instance, media and entertainment professionals can now easily and collaboratively interact with production quality media assets from remote locations, which we find extremely exciting. The possibilities for innovation are endless, and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

Aaron Kroger, product marketing manager for media workflows, Dalet: There are many innovations on the horizon but I think the most powerful will be the culmination of a complete end-to-end cloud media workflow, from ingest through delivery. We are already seeing so many benefits of the cloud but, at a certain point, you are only as good as your weakest link, so by moving everything to a fully cloud-native and hosted solution, you will enable infinitely scalable and elastic solutions that can instantly change to meet your needs while being conscience of price and environmental impacts. The scalability of cloud infrastructure also ensures that AI applications in media can seamlessly adapt to fluctuating workloads, accommodating everything from speech recognition to caption creation, translation, metadata tagging, clip generation and personalization to monetize content rapidly.

James Fraser, VP of U.S. sales, Moments Lab: The use of AI in storage is set to continue growing in 2024, enabling tasks such as storage provisioning, capacity planning, and even automated backups of content. We expect to see a surge in analytics providers that can offer companies useful insights, such as the amount of storage used per content vertical — including film, sports, news, and more. These insights allow broadcasters to better understand their audiences, including viewers’ wants and needs.

Jonathan Solomon, partner solutions architect in media and entertainment, Amazon Web Services: The first thing we see on the horizon is continued integration with the cloud. Many MAM providers are rearchitecting their stack to be cloud first, given the increase in demand and need to scale as customers gather more metadata. As the amount of metadata in media workloads continues to grow, so will MAM systems, which is why being cloud-native becomes so important, as it reduces operating costs that can go back into production.

Andrew Ward, business development manager, Cinegy: Innovations will come from the transition in IT from disk storage to solid state storage. Although this is already underway (and has been for some years), we shall see benefits in performance, throughput, storage density and energy consumption which on the one hand will translate into new, more efficient workflows and on the other to significant cost reductions over time.

Sam Bogoch, CEO, Axle AI: The biggest innovation that Axle AI sees on the horizon is the advent of immediate searchability for all media, even storage pools that have not traditionally been under the umbrella of an enterprise MAM. Given the power of AI analysis, available both on premise and in the cloud, it’s clear that folders full of cryptic filenames and buckets full of anonymous media will rapidly become searchable.