Data Management for Digital Media and Entertainment

The expansion of broadband internet connections and powerful mobile devices has transformed the way organizations think about digital media. Today’s consumers expect to be able to access the media content they want quickly, easily, and cheaply. Companies that fail to make the investment in technology infrastructure that allows them to meet those demands will find themselves falling behind competitors capable of delivering a better digital experience. Good data management and reliable connectivity that minimizes latency are essential elements of a successful digital media strategy.

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Growth of Data Usage in Digital Entertainment and Media

Streaming digital media is fast becoming one of the primary ways that Americans are consuming entertainment. A 2021 study by Nielsen found that while 64 percent of television time is still dedicated to network and cable broadcasts, streaming services now make up over a quarter of total viewing time. That trend is partly being driven by the accelerating trend of “cord-cutting,” or households making the decision to cancel their traditional cable or satellite TV subscriptions. In fact, just a few years after paid TV services reached an all-time high in 2014, the number of subscribers saw the steepest one-year drop on record in 2020, plummeting 7.5 percent and leaving 23 percent of households without subscription services.

But the trend has implications far beyond the television industry. Deloitte’s study identified a number of digital media trends among Generation Z consumers that could prove incredibly disruptive to the media landscape in the coming years. Only 10 percent of this cohort ranked television and movies as their favorite entertainment option, while 26 percent identified video games as their primary choice. Video game usage also increased among Millennials and Generation X during the pandemic, with 46 percent saying that games now take up a larger share of their entertainment time. 

The transition to more data-intensive media has led to a massive spike in broadband usage and consumption. According to a study by OpenVault, the average US broadband subscriber is projected to use 600-650 GB of data per month in 2021, up from the previous year’s usage of 483 GB. While some of the 2020 increase was driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth was also due to ISPs making faster speeds available to more customers and a small percentage of “super users” consuming more than 1 TB each month.

How Businesses are Using Digital Media

Many of today’s businesses operate in a digital-first landscape, even when their core products or services have little to do with digital media. Whether it’s marketing content, online learning material, or interactive mobile applications, organizations rely on various forms of digital media to engage with audiences and deliver a compelling consumer experience that helps them stand out from their competition.

For dedicated digital media companies, streaming and online content offer endless possibilities for growth and connecting with new markets. That’s why so many organizations are aggressively expanding their digital entertainment footprint. While established players like Amazon Prime and Netflix continue to lead the market, a wide range of niche services are looking to create content delivery platforms that are both scalable and profitable.

Why Data Management Matters for Digital Entertainment and Media

The explosion of streaming providers, online video game services, and media-based mobile applications has profound implications for data management. While the obvious concerns about where the data associated with these operations are a bit overblown, the related questions about how to deliver that data efficiently is incredibly important. Without the right infrastructure in place to support their digital media strategy, organizations can find themselves suffering from server downtime, high latency, and low bandwidth.

Poor digital media data management can quickly undermine even the most outstanding content and services. That’s because today’s consumers expect a seamless experience when it comes to digital platforms. They expect services to be available on demand, with no delays, inconsistencies, or problems. A video game company that can’t deliver a lag-free online experience, for example, will struggle to find success in a market filled with games that offer seamless gameplay. Streaming services that sputter frequently and take several seconds to buffer will similarly have a difficult time winning and keeping customers who can freely pick from a wide range of alternatives. Getting digital media data management right the first time is all the more crucial because consumers have long memories. Once a platform gains a reputation for being unreliable, it can be difficult to shake.

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How Colocation Data Centers Can Improve Your Data Management

Building and maintaining a reliable infrastructure capable of managing digital media data is a massively expensive undertaking. Not only does it require a rock-solid data center facility designed from the ground up for power and cooling efficiency, but also consistent access to the ISP connections needed to stream data to customers. But even with high-uptime infrastructure and sufficient bandwidth in place to accommodate demand, digital media services can still perform poorly or inconsistently if the servers hosting their content are too far away from end users. That’s because latency has little to do with bandwidth or processing power and a lot more to do with physical distance.

By placing servers within a colocation edge data center that’s situated close to their intended customers, digital media companies can deliver faster, more reliable services. They can also manage their data more effectively, since information can be gathered, stored, and even processed at the edge of the network rather than forcing it to travel back to the core. This frees up bandwidth for other services while still allowing companies to draw insights into how customers are engaging with their content. Carrier-neutral colo facilities also provide easy access to the world’s leading cloud providers, which makes it easy to scale capacity and storage as it’s needed to keep pace with growing consumer demand.

Ruben Harutyunyan

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