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Monetizing By Digitizing The Print Media

This article tells the story about a software company that enables media companies to publish online and market their content.

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | February 8, 2011

The print media industry in India, dawned in 1780, is one of the largest in the world. Considering newspapers alone, more than 300 print dailies in 16 languages are circulating in the country, plus an overwhelming 65 newspapers online.

Despite the enviable state of India's print industry, the continual growth of broadband coverage and access in the country are laying solid foundation for vibrant digital media growth. This inevitably challenges the sustainability of the print media industry, hence the question that is close to the hearts of all media practitioners and journalists: Is the news media already a sunset industry?

This article tells the story about a software company that provides online management for the print and media industry in India. Using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, media companies can publish online and market their content in different cloud-based channels. In turn, they benefit from increase content circulation and better tracking of its readers' profile.

SaaS-based media management

Mediology Software is a one-year old startup with 35 employees. Based in India, it focuses in a niche space of content digitization for the print and media industry with a core emphasis on cross-media management.

Running on a Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-based IT architecture, Mediology develops SaaS-based solutions to help media companies organize their workflow, and enable them to build marketing channels for their content, using social media and email marketing. In turn, media companies benefit from increased content circulation, better tracking, monetization, and obtain essential insights into the demographic classification of their reader base.

Manish Dhingra, one of the directors and board members at Mediology Software, takes up a diverse role comprising sales, technology and product architecture at the company. One of his latest missions is to "evangelize the cloud among our customers while introducing them to the new paradigms of content digitization and service delivery."

100% cloud-dependent

"The nature of the media business is built on the sole premise of 'economies of scale,'" said Manish. "Hence during the initial period [of launching Mediology's business], which was more of a transitory and that of accepting the changing paradigms, we had to face challenges which any niche, new idea faces. That is one of acceptance.

"With this in mind, and the fact that we have to provision for SaaS-based services, we wanted to ensure we can provide those economies of scale and flexibility when the idea gains traction, without investing large capital expenditure in the computing hardware."

Appreciating the scalability of flexibility of cloud computing, Mediology pinned down AWS to help resolve its key infrastructure challenges right from the start. "Yes, we are completely dependent on AWS, not only for our production servers, but also for staging and development servers," Manish said.

To support its needs for SOA (service-oriented architecture) and SaaS, Mediology has architected its solutions to take almost all of the AWS services: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon CloudFront, Elastic Load Balancing, Elastic IP, Auto Scaling and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). To cater the needs of its local readers in India, Mediology opted for AWS' data centers in Singapore, which covers the Asia Pacific region.

Break and fit

Being a "core tenet of SOA," Mediology broke its service architecture to fit the various AWS services into each of the elements of the company's own architecture when implementing its solution stack.

"For instance, if storage is one aspect of our solution, we ensure we architect it in a way that Amazon S3 is being used for object storage. Similarly if we need data persistence in our instances, we use Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) backed instances," explained Mridul Kashatria, Mediology Software's product architect, DigitalEdition.

Quick instance scaling

Part of Mediology's core digitization stack is to enable its customers to process their pre-press PDF files in a quick turnaround time. Hence the ability to scale its instances to match those response levels was a key business challenge.

"The elasticity of AWS cloud platform has effectively addressed this time-critical requirement, providing us the business agility to meet our customer's expectations. In fact, we will like to take further advantage of the AWS innovative pricing model, for example, the Spot instances on the incumbent tasks and spot pricing to further reduce the total expenditure," said Manish.

Return on investment

Without using cloud computing, Mediology would have to purchase hardware, spend time setting up its own servers in a data center or rent server space on a yearly basis from IT vendors.

"Both of these options would have been sub-optimal to our requirements as it would mean locking us in long-term data center contract that would have cost at least US$20,000 of capital expense to provision those servers, redundant storage even before launching our business," said Mridul.

"For a data center rental of 42U space with 3 KVA redundant power, cooling and bandwidth would have cost us US$2,500 per month itself too. In addition, the time lag associated with the procurements and dependency on a fixed infrastructure would have made it highly improbable to scale our business as we grow," Mridul added.

Without using cloud computing, it would also mean expenditure on data center space, power and cooling that would have cost Mediology US$30,000 per annum. "The time spent to set up and maintain those servers would be around 24 man-months which is equivalent to another expense of US$20,000," Mridul said.

"AWS helps us to avoid incurring capex in the old model of IT, and turn that into opex using the cloud. The total estimated cost avoidance by starting our business immediately with AWS cloud platform is about US$70,000 per annum (measured linearly). More importantly, it is the business agility to scale as we grow and channelizing the precious funds, human resource and time to developing our core business," he said.

Virtual private cloud

Manish reiterated that the company is currently 100% on the cloud (AWS). Moving forward, "We hope to utilize Amazon Virtual Private Cloud in the future too, to even reduce our desktop requirements in the coming months or years."

Article sourced from Asia Cloud Forum.

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  • pragya dash- 9 years ago

    tell me ur address