We live in interesting and entertaining times. No longer can we complain about boredom when we carry our entertainment around with us. Our viewing screens fit into our pockets, purses and office bags, to offer entertainment during our free time. Indians are consuming media and entertainment (M&E) content in rapidly increasing amounts and in a pattern that is drastically different from even a few decades ago. From an era where media was consumed via print (newspapers), audio (radio) and later video (TV) during fairly set hours (mornings and late evenings) and usually in family or group settings, we now consume M&E any time and from any device. From a time when the family or maybe even the neighbourhood clustered around a TV set, the pendulum has swung towards individuals watching content of their choice, on devices of different sizes, in a setting that could vary wildly — the bedroom or on the bus to/from work.
While the spotlight usually focuses on the smart, portable devices that are responsible for this transformation, the unsung hero behind the scenes is storage. Advances in storage technology that produced powerful, light and robust flash memory led to computers becoming smaller and lighter. Portable devices released users from their desktop computers and their fixed TV sets. With the rate of smartphone and internet penetration, it is no wonder that the M&E industry is undergoing a digital disruption. Today TV viewing is happening, but not necessarily on TV.
This is not the only place that storage is making a difference. On-demand media streaming services are gaining in popularity, serving up a range of viewing options that include movies, documentaries, serials, sitcoms, standup comedy and more. And audio isn’t far behind with music streaming services, as well as digital radio stations that connect users to their preferred listening content. Supporting millions of concurrent viewers, each doing their own thing, requires a powerful technical infrastructure at the heart of which is high-performance, high-capacity and failsafe storage.
It is not just the large M&E houses that are benefiting from advances in storage. Producing M&E content has become much easier, thanks to cloud-based video hosting services. Anyone with a smartphone camera and an internet connection can create and upload content to video sharing websites. Artists no longer have to wait to be discovered; they can produce content to showcase their talent on a small budget, upload it, share it on social media and wait for it to go viral. Expert home cooks no longer cook for just friends and family — they have monetised their talent with cooking channels online that allow them to reach a global fan following.
Some statistics indicate that more 300 hours of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. Using a simplified calculation, this translates to more than 3 petabytes (3000 TB or 3 million GB) per day! That much storage is added everyday on just one popular hosting service! How do online video sharing websites scale so much daily? It is thanks to storage technology that works steadily and efficiently behind the scenes to store and serve up content, to be shared and viewed from any corner of the globe.
Storage technology has been evolving at an incredible pace, packing more and more into smaller and smaller devices. Today there is a range of high performance and high capacity options that can be mixed and matched to fit most budgets. Flash and HDD drives can be combined in a manner that suits the content and cost requirements. And with the evolution of cloud hosting services, M&E enterprises don’t necessarily need to develop their own infrastructure.
The Indian M&E continues its upward trend, and according to a recent PwC report, it is expected to well surpass the global average rate with a 10.55 percent CAGR, to reach $45.1 billion by 2021.3 On this journey of growth, the storage industry will continue to quietly and efficiently support the M&E industry.
-By Vivek Tyagi, Director for India business development, SanDisk Commercial sales and Support at Western Digital, India
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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