Another of the panels that was developed during the last Nextv Series Mexico’s virtual edition was titled ‘The impact of Covid for cloud TV production’. The main discussion topics of the debate were focused on TV production in the cloud; artificial intelligence and analytics for TV production; and the impact of the pandemic on migration to the cloud.
The industry executives selected by Dataxis to star in the debate were Cesar Sabroso, Senior Vice President of Marketing at A+E Networks Latin America; Guillermo Franco, General Manager at Multimedios Television; Diego Rodriguez, Vice President of Operations at AMC Networks International Latin America; and Ricardo Ortiz, Business Development Manager Media & Entertainment Latam at AWS.
Regarding what items were noted as a global trend in TV production during the pandemic, Ortíz assured that ‘it has been very interesting to live a new normality. We notice two very important trends. There were people who wanted to continue working as they had been working and believed that the pandemic would last a short time, while the other great trend that we noticed is that there were people who found in the pandemic an opportunity to do something totally different, stating that Covid is not only a pandemic situation, but an opportunity to move forward and break paradigms; make new productions; achieve access to talent anywhere in the world and gather different audiences. Things that we previously saw as very innovative, have now become part of the normality’, said the executive, and later added that ‘at AWS we currently have 1,600 channels broadcasting in the cloud. These are not trial versions, but rather channels that are in production on the AWS cloud. We have a lot of content production in the cloud. We see companies that are having very positive results, because they managed to adapt quickly, or they had already been adapting before, thinking about a different way of doing things. We believe that this was just the beginning, and that plans to transform ourselves technologically and have access to tools towards the cloud have definitely accelerated’, the executive reported.
‘The sports part was the one that suffered the most during the pandemic’, Franco assured. ‘By not having access to the stadiums, people became very disconnected from the teams and that continuity was lost. Sports programs, both on TV and radio, are those that have lost the most audience, and the part that has gained the most audience has been based on news’. In the same way, Rodriguez reported that some of the productions of AMC Networks International Latin America have been delayed by the pandemic, and in the company, in his words, ‘we bet heavily on eSports, and we had to virtualize the tournaments that bring together thousands of fans. The tournaments, held 100% virtually, were a success and had hundreds of thousands of reproductions’. The executive also assured that another of the company’s great successes was based on the launch of podcasts. On the other hand, according to Sabroso, ‘we have rediscovered how to do things well or better, and how to do them in a different way. And that is part of reinventing ourselves every day. With so many years in the industry, it is a luxury to be able to reinvent ourselves. Now we realize that together we are more, and we are being guilty and responsible for people consuming more TV content than ever’, he said.
Regarding production in the cloud, Franco assured that ‘we produce 130 hours of content a day and a large amount of content for newscasts. Uploading and downloading that amount of information to the cloud every day, with the bandwidths available in Mexico, is not something feasible today’, said the executive, and then added that ‘for the product that we make, producing in the cloud is not functional, although for fiction and other types of content, it is beneficial’.
Similarly, regarding the problems that exist to be able to produce systematically in the cloud, Ortiz stated that ‘in Latin America, we see a lack of experience and a lack of local talent development to do these things. It is very relevant to develop a very large experimentation and to be able to make small trials to see what can and cannot be done. If companies start experimenting, they can start to feel more comfortable with the solutions and see what works and what does not’.
Regarding his vision of new technologies in TV production, such as artificial intelligence or analytics, Rodriguez assured that ‘artificial intelligence enriches the sports field; as well as for everything that is real time and post real time; and it is also very rich for everything that does not include live sports or live events, because it enriches the metadata and the way to index all the information that we have in the information at the data level, and the power so that improvements can be found in the offer of content, or relationship in the recommendations and customizations that users require as part of the business’. In the same way, Ortiz assured that ‘these tools were previously only available to the big studios or the big leagues, and now they can be used in Latin America in a much more holistic way’, and Sabroso said that ‘despite the advance of technology, we need to know more about users, because the measurements we currently have are very basic’. The executive also assured that at A + E Networks Latin America he is working ‘on a new tool that allows us to know the sum of all the screens. We need the sum of the screens to understand and see where users are and how behaviors, trends and preferences add up in an aggregate and homogenized way on all screens. This type of user intelligence is what we need right now in all screens and markets, even more so in Latin America’.