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IBC 2014: Sky & ITV could no longer operate ‘without cloud’

At IBC 2014, Amsterdam

In a fascinating round table discussion at this morning’s IBC, entitled “The Cloud and Broadcast TV,” attendant representatives from ITV and Sky conceded that it was no longer possible to maintain necessary levels of distribution without the cloud.

“It’s not an option anymore if we’re going to meet the demand of ours customers,” said Matthew McDonald Director of Broadcast Services at BskyB. “We’ve got 5.5 million registered users of Sky Go.”

Paul Clark; Technology Controller, Online, Pay and Interactive, at UK commercial broadcaster ITV, concurred.

“For distribution no,” he said. “You couldn’t do it. And from running your business generally, from an economics point of view, to be efficient economically, you have to use the cloud. To get the benefit of shared services without the cost of being a single tenant.”

Later Clark alluded to cloud dependent plans for the broadcaster.

“We’ve got big plans to roll out ITV Player across many more devices over the coming months and years,” he explained. “The only way we can do that reasonably and efficiently from a cost point of view is to use the cloud.”

Both Clark and McDonald however eschewed the suggestion that the modern ecosystem left them uniquely dependent on the likes of Akamai (whose CEO Tom Leighton was also on the panel), pointing to the long history of outsourcing in broadcasting.

“The implication that using a supplier is inherently more risky isn’t necessarily correct,” McDonald added. “For me, if I’m using a company such as Akamai to distribute content that is a form of risk mitigation. That is what they’re good at. That is their specialism. And that’s risk I can pass on to them.”

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