Why Caribbean Media Companies Should Consider Microsoft Azure

When your major advertisers start building their own media companies, it’s time to pay attention. Tom Foremski puts it this way: Every company is a media company. In other words, shareholders, your competition these days is (gasp) everyone.

Digicel’s recent investment in Loop should be a wake-up call for Caribbean media companies like One Caribbean Media, Guardian Media Limited and Barbados-based Caribbean Media Corporation.

The linchpin of this highly competitive industry, based on MFO and other surveys, is the ability of players to serve high-quality content to customers, wherever they are, without service interruption.

Those who build the largest, most engaged audiences win. Those who don’t eventually go out of business.

Digital video is enjoying sustained ubiquity. This is where Facebook, Google, Bloomberg and others are putting resources and video is what needs the most attention across the region. How do you plan to scale video?

Ultimately, the main stage is mobile, responsible for the single largest slice of traffic and content consumption for most publishers. Meanwhile, TV studios are losing audiences to the Web, but aren’t doing enough to get them back. Nobody’s worried yet because the ad sales are still coming in — for now.

With high mobile phone penetration and record levels of media consumption in Trinidad and Tobago in particular, quality and content delivery should have far greater priority today than even five, six years ago.

Media companies in the Caribbean that respond to these developments by favouring on-premise IT systems will find themselves tasked with upkeep, scalability and infrastructure support issues that will prove expensive over the long run.

And putting this burden on staff is likely not the best best idea.

With its end-to-end support and media-friendly capabilities, Microsoft Azure is, hands down, a better investment.

Live streaming and storage

Most regional media companies have not graduated beyond basic streaming. Yet the demand for video and audio is higher than ever.

Azure does a few things better than anybody: It offers unlimited storage for your content via a network of managed datacenters around the world and it lets media companies stream live from the cloud. It also allows you to index all of your assets with amazing agility and ease.

Beyond this, Azure can take you to the next level by letting you bring more production in-house, leveraging the cost benefits and economies of scale of cloud technology. Local content that’s profitable? It’s possible.

The way media managers approach news production will also be upended in Azure. You could say goodbye to dated workflows for newsgathering. Finally.

Getting your content in front of audiences will continue to be your bread and butter. Azure allows you to reach them where they are, regardless of the device they are using.

Best of all — you only pay for what you use and your content enjoys the most robust security available today.

Available everywhere

Microsoft Azure is flexible and native across mobile, PC and other environments. Imagine a world where your content actually follows your audience wherever they go. Not too difficult, was it? That’s probably because you own an iPhone. You’ve already seen Apple do this well with iCloud.

Your music, photos, and videos are available on your phone, iPad, TV and in the car. Your playlists aren’t broken from device to device. Your content settings and preferences are baked into all your tech.

Well, this is the next logical step for Caribbean news media. Using the cloud to make their content and audiences inseparable. It’s possible because the Azure cloud is always on. Your content, in your audience’s hands, everywhere they go.

Real-time data processing and analytics

Today’s media climate is about building engaged audiences. To do nothing is to watch more and more of your advertising dollars pay for Facebook and Google campaigns with the approval of marketing managers who are eager to reach as many people as possible.

Azure offers Caribbean media houses real-time data analytics as you build and grow your media properties. Built-in analytics helps you to make quick decisions about the kind of content that’s working or not working for the audiences you’re targeting and then helps you to groom them for ad sales.

A safe, hybrid solution

The cloud is an investment in collaboration. It gives unprecedented access to tools that let content producers innovate and grow business value.

Azure is particularly good as a hybrid cloud because it gives you the scalability and tools you need while integrating your in-house IT systems. Some cloud providers do not offer this integration.

It gives media companies with tons of content the peace of mind of adequate storage and backup systems and safeguards against natural disasters and cyber attacks. It lets you stream live from the cloud and re-engineer production workflows across the enterprise.

Media, at its core, is a technology business. It would be counterintuitive to ignore Azure.