Technology Record - Issue 22: Autumn 2021

162 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E T he media landscape has been experiencing an almost unprecedented period of change. The shift towards streaming, already in full flow before the pandemic, has accelerated even faster than anticipated, while the gaming indus- try has brought entirely new ways of creating and delivering content into the wider industry. The influence of these disruptive forces within media is challenging organisations to rethink the way they work, as Simon Crownshaw, chief technology officer for media and entertainment at Microsoft, explains. “What you see is companies looking to reima- gine their workflows because the lines between media types are disappearing,” he says. “As our physical world blends with the virtual world, the entertainment reality is changing as well. These transformations are ramping up at an amazing rate. I don’t think we’ve yet seen a full disruption of media workflows, but what you’re seeing is a legacy challenge of tried and tested processes and the industry is having to think about how it can leverage technology to do things better and faster.” As with many industries, the challenges cre- ated by the pandemic for the media industry has led to a questioning of traditional ways of work- ing. Technology has provided an answer to the unrelenting demand for content in this difficult new environment. “When you think about the impact of Covid-19 on the industry at its peak, it’s shut down produc- tions anddisrupted live events across all elements of themedia industry,” says Crownshaw. “But it forced them to rethink those experiences. How could they continue to create content as quickly as possible when working with a geographically dispersed team or to provide unique customer engagement opportunities? They have had to rely on the cloud and invent technology to make those things work faster than they probably ever thought.” The need for isolation and physical distancing has also meant that more people have turned to streaming platforms to consume their content, accelerating a trend that was already reshaping the industry. “We saw streaming viewership increase expo- nentially on every platform, with mobile users BY A L E X SM I TH As new forms of media bring profound disruption to the traditional broadcasting landscape, Microsoft’s Simon Crownshaw discusses how the industry is turning to technology and the cloud to help power new ways of working and modernise media processes evolution The of entertainment