During the NAB shows in 2018 and 2023, Cloudian surveyed over 375 media and entertainment industry IT professionals about their media archive storage. The goal was to learn about the archive challenges faced by post-production professionals and how these challenges are being met.

The results were surprising, indicating an industry very much in transition. And we spotted a few trends, which we worked into a cool infographic here. Workflows are demanding more from media archive storage, driving capacity and search challenges. And media owners are now responding by migrating away from tape — towards new disk and hybrid cloud solutions — and integrating advanced solutions to accelerate search.

NAB 2023 Survey Infographic_Storage Capacity

Capacity Management Challenge with Growing Media Archive Storage

Capacity management is a growing challenge with 4K media now pervasive and 8K media well on its way. Furthermore, producers now want to capture and keep every bit of the shoot. Cameras are on all the time, and every bit of that footage now gets archived.

In our 2018 survey, the average archive size was 1.2PB and 52% of respondents reported ongoing capacity challenges. In our 2023 survey, the average archive size was up to 1.4PB and a whopping 85% of respondents reported ongoing capacity challenges.

NAB 2023 Survey Infographic_Media Search AI ML

Media Archive Storage Search Headaches Increasing*

*But solutions are on the way!

A majority of respondents (52%) reported ongoing problems with finding assets. This admission was heard more than once: “It’s sometimes easier to re-buy stock footage rather than find the footage we already have.”

Search tools are not always as advanced as you might hope, with nearly 30% of respondents saying they still use a combination of Excel sheets and labels on media. More surprisingly, that figure was true for archives of all sizes, even those over 500TB. Furthermore, users employing MAMs or other databases still had challenges with time-consuming management.

The good news is that help is on the way. A popular topic at the show was metadata, and how it can help with media archive storage search. 67% of respondents seek AI and machine learning tools that can enrich metadata to boost search intelligence.

NAB 2023 Survey Infographic_Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud Combines Best of Both Cloud and On-Prem Media Archive Storage

Respondents indicated significant interest in hybrid cloud, with 63% indicating an interest in moving to hybrid cloud within 3 years, up from 50% on hybrid cloud today and just 16% using hybrid cloud back in 2018.

A hybrid cloud combines on-premises storage and cloud storage in a single management environment. The combination provides the quick access and security of on-prem storage with the utility of cloud storage. In this setting, the cloud might be used for disaster recovery copies, content distribution, or with cloud-based applications for transcoding or metadata enrichment.

Tape Is Going Away

Tape as an archive medium appears to be on the decline, with 52% of tape users saying they plan to move away from it in the next 3 years. The reasons given are:  too much management overhead (a tape lasts only 7 years, according to Steve Anastasi, VP of Global Media Archives at Warner Bros), too much physical handling, unreliability, and slow to find and retrieve assets.

Comments from Media Professionals

Speakers at NAB continue to echo these same themes. Media archive storage is in a transition that will make it easier to store, find, and protect your company’s most valuable assets. Learn more about how Cloudian helps the media and entertainment industry here, and download the cool infographic here.


Listen to Shane Miner of WGBH (Frontline, Nova, Antique Roadshow) talk about his move from tape here:


Listen to Sarah Semlear of Vox Media (SB Nation) talk about her move from tape here:


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