Striving for Sustainability in the Media Business
Like any other industry, the media and entertainment industry needs to demonstrate social responsibility for its share of impact on the environment. These days, measuring carbon footprint should be an essential component of any corporate strategy. Whilst many digital organisations may find that their core operational emissions are low by comparison to other industries, taking a closer look at the carbon emissions which occur across the media value chain can help to further reduce our environmental impact as an industry. And if reducing environmental impact on its own wasn’t enough, it’s highly likely that implementing such measures will reduce bottom line expenditures as well.
For pre-recorded content, at various stages in the content chain, extensive media processing is required to make the content comply with the various playout and streaming platform requirements. The most common process is transcoding of files which is a very compute intensive part of a media supply chain.
Whether ingesting content from archives or cameras, editing, or encoding of multiple versions for delivery to VOD, OTT and broadcast platforms, encoding and transcoding tasks consume significant amounts of electricity in the media business. In addition to powering the servers, it’s also necessary to power the air-conditioning to keep them cool. This is a power-hungry business.
One of the ways to process media more efficiently is to use GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) instead of the traditional CPUs (Central Processing Units) found in all computers. GPUs can more efficiently handle the math involved in these processes and do more tasks in parallel than the normal CPU. This leads to getting more things done with less compute resources which saves time, money and energy. A purpose-built server Telestream Lightspeed, applies the massive parallel processing power of GPUs, in conjunction with dual multi-core CPUs, to accelerate the most demanding media conversion processes. The latest generation (G10) uses Intel 6248R CPUs with nVidia GPUs.
In common broadcast and media workflows, a Lightspeed Server is between 2x to 3.5x more efficient than a COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) server with the same CPU specification. As an example, let’s consider a server that has is, at average, 3x more efficient, which is the efficiency gain seen when encoding from an HD broadcast format to common OTT packages with multiple layers of h264.
- Other assumptions in this illustration include:
- Average cost of industrial electricity in Germany: € 0.18 per kWh
- Air Conditioning efficiency: 0.20 watts per BTU
- Co2 produced per kWh electric power: 475 g
For a typical broadcast media workflow that can utilize the capacity of a Lightspeed G8 Server to 80 %, the power calculations and comparisons with COTS servers are –>
–>For any company that processes a reasonably large volume of media, using GPU acceleration can dramatically reduce their overall power consumption, leading to the financial benefit of reduced electricity costs and the social benefit of a reduced carbon footprint.
Adding just one Lightspeed Server in place of 3 generic servers can save almost 3 Tons of CO2 per year, along with a saving of over € 1500 in electricity costs.
For larger workflows, system scaling and operational periods, the benefits can be proportionally higher.
Telestream can calculate cost and CO2 savings estimates for any customer workflow