Capping IT Off

Capping IT Off

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

Flexing the infra muscle - A new service for media publishers

For many in the broadcast or publishing industries, IT infrastructure conjures up the idea of racks of servers locked away in a well air-conditioned room often hidden away in some part of the company building.  I would reckon that in most cases outside of the technology group it would be hard to find anyone who actually knew where their infrastructure existed.

Despite this relative obscurity, the infrastructure support services have become more and more important for TV, radio and   publishers.  With the shift to digital and a stronger IT focus, the operational infrastructure has now become the nervous system of the business.  This is a position that was once claimed by broadcast studios, printing presses and editorial systems.  This change has led to a continual growth in fixed infrastructure capacity to cope with the complex media and entertainment business needs.

Now this is all changing with the dramatic disruption hitting the industry and old revenues continue to be challenged. In print publishing and traditional TV advertising media, companies are searching for far more flexible approaches to manage their infrastructure and shifting from a Capex-heavy ownership model across to a managed service and more cloud-based solution.
The new model makes sense, as the infrastructure needs can be continually optimized, giving agility for competing in new markets, switching priorities away from less profitable activities and combining merged assets.

The recent partnership with Bauer Media and Capgemini Australia, is an example of the growing trend. As Stephen Haddad, Director of Technology at Bauer Media Group , said in the CIO Magazine  “Previously, we would acquire all our disk up front and consume it over a period of time,” he said. “We would need to make a capital purchase of physical hardware and house that disk array or a storage facility – we would buy 100 per cent and consume 10 per cent in the first year and consume away, but we have made the initial capital outlay up front.
“In this model, we are purchasing based on ‘resource units’, so as you use, you pay. What we are purchasing is not only the physical infrastructure but the infrastructure braced by a set of services.”
The Bauer Media Group is an interesting case.  As Australia’s largest magazine publisher, they are publishing in print and digitally across a wide range of magazine titles in multiple genres including food, fashion, lifestyle, sports and classifieds.

With their production process, they have smartly brought together certain key activities, like photo shooting and food recipe testing into a centralised infrastructure, whilst ensuring the editorial teams stay as diverse and independent as expected by the readership.

Having seen both areas in action, it is impressive how the studio production flow is managed. With food for example, there are 10,000 recipes being published per year, which need to be created, crafted, cooked, refined and then shot in a very glossy way. Each one has to reflect the branding and expectations of the editorial style of the individual magazine or book.  That is no easy achievement.
The technology infrastructure realignment fits into this approach. There is support across many activities, including desk top, that serves the diversity of the creative activities, whist giving a variable cost solution based on a consistent process and delivery model.

For the media and entertainment industry as whole, if these trends continue, the days of fixed assets to manage the infrastructure needs of the technology services within the business, may well be numbered.  The ability to have an agile variable cost structure, across a whole range of technology and business activities, will allow more traditional players to adapt well to compete against the new entrants into their marketplace, and focus on their creative Media and Entertainment capabilities.

On the side of stability, for many creative and editorial teams, not knowing where the rack room of servers is, will stay just as unconcerning as it is now!  For many in the broadcast or publishing industries, IT infrastructure conjures up the idea of racks of servers locked away in a well air-conditioned room often hidden away in some part of the company building.  I would reckon that in most cases outside of the technology group it would be hard to find anyone who actually knew where their infrastructure existed.

Despite this relative obscurity, the infrastructure support services have become more and more important for TV, radio and   publishers.  With the shift to digital and a stronger IT focus, the operational infrastructure has now become the nervous system of the business.  This is a position that was once claimed by broadcast studios, printing presses and editorial systems.  This change has led to a continual growth in fixed infrastructure capacity to cope with the complex media and entertainment business needs.

Now this is all changing with the dramatic disruption hitting the industry and old revenues continue to be challenged. In print publishing and traditional TV advertising media, companies are searching for far more flexible approaches to manage their infrastructure and shifting from a Capex-heavy ownership model across to a managed service and more cloud-based solution.
The new model makes sense, as the infrastructure needs can be continually optimized, giving agility for competing in new markets, switching priorities away from less profitable activities and combining merged assets.

The recent partnership with Bauer Media and Capgemini Australia, is an example of the growing trend. As Stephen Haddad, Director of Technology at Bauer Media Group , said in the CIO Magazine  “Previously, we would acquire all our disk up front and consume it over a period of time,” he said. “We would need to make a capital purchase of physical hardware and house that disk array or a storage facility – we would buy 100 per cent and consume 10 per cent in the first year and consume away, but we have made the initial capital outlay up front.
“In this model, we are purchasing based on ‘resource units’, so as you use, you pay. What we are purchasing is not only the physical infrastructure but the infrastructure braced by a set of services.”
The Bauer Media Group is an interesting case.  As Australia’s largest magazine publisher, they are publishing in print and digitally across a wide range of magazine titles in multiple genres including food, fashion, lifestyle, sports and classifieds.

With their production process, they have smartly brought together certain key activities, like photo shooting and food recipe testing into a centralised infrastructure, whilst ensuring the editorial teams stay as diverse and independent as expected by the readership.

Having seen both areas in action, it is impressive how the studio production flow is managed. With food for example, there are 10,000 recipes being published per year, which need to be created, crafted, cooked, refined and then shot in a very glossy way. Each one has to reflect the branding and expectations of the editorial style of the individual magazine or book.  That is no easy achievement.
The technology infrastructure realignment fits into this approach. There is support across many activities, including desk top, that serves the diversity of the creative activities, whist giving a variable cost solution based on a consistent process and delivery model.

For the media and entertainment industry as whole, if these trends continue, the days of fixed assets to manage the infrastructure needs of the technology services within the business, may well be numbered.  The ability to have an agile variable cost structure, across a whole range of technology and business activities, will allow more traditional players to adapt well to compete against the new entrants into their marketplace, and focus on their creative Media and Entertainment capabilities.

On the side of stability, for many creative and editorial teams, not knowing where the rack room of servers is, will stay just as unconcerning as it is now! 

About the author

Paul Whybrow

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