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Backlight’s 2024 iconik Media Stats: The Impact of Rising Media Consumption on Media Management

New insights from 351 million assets, 152 PB of data, and 18 industries. This edition of the Media Stats report presents media management data along with wider media consumption trends for a broad view of the world’s relationship with media today.

Creative Professionals , Broadcast Operator , Content Distribution , Marketers Agencies & Social Media
Backlight01.30.2418 min read

The way media is consumed has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Increased demand fuels the creation of new channels, and fresh media soon follows, inspiring a wave of content creators to join. Media management serves as a constant source of stability throughout this evolution by preserving the history of organizations and enabling each asset to reach its maximum potential by keeping it visible for creators.

This year’s data illustrates this for us well.

The world's population has passed the eight billion mark. Across the globe, 64% of humanity has internet access, with the average person spending 6.5 hours a day online and three hours watching content. Netflix reported that its users viewed nearly 100 billion hours of content on its platform in the first half of 2023 and YouTube reported that its users consume one billion hours of video per day. YouTube creators alone upload 720k hours of new video daily!

The demand for content is clear, so creators and organizations are answering the call for more. 

Your organization is probably creating more video than it did five years ago—and it all has to live somewhere so it can be found. Each year, the Media Stats report reflects increased demand for media management in enterprises and mid-market businesses across a growing list of industries—and this year is no different, with more users evaluating their media management strategy, implementing Backlight’s iconik technology, and managing more media than ever.

This year, the report will view media management data along with wider media consumption trends for a broad view of the world’s relationship with media today. 

TL;DR:

  • Data is migrating to the cloud and needs to be remotely accessible. Iconik customers store 35% of their data on-premise while 65% is stored in the cloud
  • Data is growing rapidly and needs to be managed. Iconik data has grown to 152 petabytes, +57% YoY. Scalable cloud-native solutions facilitate rapid media growth.
  • Demand for video and other rich media is rising. Iconik manages 328 years of video (+41% YoY) and 208 years of audio (+50% YoY)
  • Sports organizations that use iconik have an average of 230k assets and 260 terabytes of data

📊 You can download this report at the bottom of the page.

Welcome to Backlight’s 2024 iconik Media Stats Report!

As of the start of 2024, Backlight has indexed and managed 351.4 million assets in iconik! In this report, we'll review trends in media management. As a cloud-native product that offers customers insights about their media in on-premise and cloud storage locations, iconik is uniquely positioned to present this data to the market. This annual Media Stats report is unique—it’s the only public presentation of media management data. Historically, data like this has been scarce in the media-tech industry, but once again, Backlight has made this data available to help identify media trends and to see how industries are changing. 

This report is based solely on Backlight’s iconik data, but it reflects trends in the wider market. This data is shared for the benefit of all as the media industries grow and evolve. 

To offer insight into how this data is presented, here are answers to common questions about the methodology for this report.

Media Stats Methodology Q&A

Q: What assets are counted? 

A: Only original assets added by customers are counted in the data—proxy and other files are excluded.

Q: Is an asset the same as a file? 

A. No, not always. Assets like video, images, and audio files are a container that consists of at least two files. A single asset can include:

  •  A container
  •  An original file
  •  Various formats of that file, e.g. proxy, mezzanine, etc
  •  Technical and user-defined metadata (both on the asset and time-based level)
  •  ACLs (access control lists) and permissions
  •  And other files

Q: How are industries defined?

A: Industries are defined by the GICS model with an additional layer of definition provided by Backlight.

Now let's dive into the numbers!

Media Asset Stats

Iconik can store assets in the cloud, but that’s not its primary purpose. Its hybrid-cloud technology specializes in indexing cloud and on-premise storage locations. By doing this and adding metadata and smaller proxy files to the cloud, iconik acts as a window into every storage location, helping users to easily access their media in one place from wherever they are. 

119 million assets were added to iconik in 2023 for a grand total of 351.4 million, a 52% increase over 2022. Reducing friction from the media ingest process has played its part in this, streamlining how users add media to iconik—nearly 630K assets are uploaded each month via iconik’s file transfer companion app, the iconik Agent.

It’s also notable that monthly unique iconik logins increased 34% YoY as new customers added their media or expanded their iconik usage and brought in more users to manage and use new assets. 

This growth is further confirmation that the four trends that have guided iconik's development are still very relevant today. 

Four Trends Driving Asset Growth in iconik:

1. Data is migrating to the cloud and needs to be accessible

2. Data is growing rapidly and needs to be managed

3. Demand for video and other rich media is rising

4. More teams require remote access to media libraries

“At Google Cloud, we understand the pivotal role cloud-based solutions play in managing the tremendous growth of digital content. We look forward to continuing our partnership with iconik, available on the Google Cloud Marketplace, to provide solutions that address the shifting challenges of the media industry.”
 

Anil Jain, Global Managing Director, Strategic Consumer Industries, Google Cloud

Asset Types Managed by iconik

Iconik was created for video first, but as you can see from the data, only 15% of iconik assets today are video. However, glancing at the chart on the right reveals that although video accounts for a small portion of asset types, it accounts for 75% of iconik’s overall data! 

Much of what is being managed today, such as images, audio, and other types of files, bleeds into what a digital asset management solution (DAM) would traditionally manage. However, in its commitment to solving the basic problem of finding and using media, iconik purposely defies the traditional boundaries of asset management categories (MAM, DAM, PAM). Organizations use powerful iconik functions like metadata, sharing, and access rights to help them manage all kinds of raw assets, assets in production, and final assets in a way they couldn’t with other potential solutions.

This chart shows the total number of assets by type and how much data each type contributes to iconik’s data.

To give an idea of how much media this is, let’s look at the duration. Iconik is now managing 328 years of video (up 41% YoY) and 208 years of audio (up 50% YoY).

Audio Assets Grow

In the past 12 months, audio asset growth outpaced video with 1,700 hours added every day. A correlation to this can be seen in the tremendous growth in the podcasting and audiobook markets over the past years. The global podcast market size reached $17.9 billion in 2023 and is projected to be worth $144 billion in 2032. The audiobook market is expected to be worth $35 billion by 2030 with an expected revenue of $35.05 billion in 2030. It’s reasonable to expect continued rising audio assets trends in iconik as these sectors grow.

Data Stats

Iconik data grew to 152 petabytes (PB), expanding 57% (53 petabytes PB) in 12 months. That works out to be about six terabytes of new data per hour. This growth is due to new customers indexing their archives with iconik and existing customers expanding their usage.

Storage Distribution

The chart below reveals where Backlight’s iconik users are storing their original assets today. Iconik is different from most media management solutions: it does not require customers to buy storage from iconik or rely on that as a core revenue stream. Iconik does offer storage, but users can also bring their own storage and have it indexed in iconik. 

Whether customers use cloud storage, on-premise storage, or a mix of both, they can manage it all in iconik without having to transfer their entire archive. 

The iconik Storage Gateway (ISG) is Backlight’s proprietary technology that manages assets from on-premise storage locations such as a NAS, SAN, or computer. It accounts for 34.8% of the data. All other storage types are cloud storage. As the cost of cloud storage reduces over time, more companies are taking advantage to become more agile in how and where they store their content. 

Before the pandemic, the hybrid cloud split between on-premise and cloud storage in iconik was near 50/50, but only six months into that world-changing event, the split was 30/70 with more storage in the cloud. It has remained consistent ever since. This year 35% of iconik data was stored on-premise, and 65% was stored in the cloud.

The market's preference for cloud storage continues to grow as it becomes more affordable, but what’s visible in the data is that on-premise storage solutions are still very relevant. Organizations prefer to migrate to the cloud at their own pace, and hybrid cloud structures offer the flexibility to move assets back and forth for reasons such as performance, accessibility, security, and compliance.

Cloud Storage Providers

When looking below at how storage providers grew or contracted through the year, it’s important to know that new and churned customers have the greatest effect on storage usage. Here are the data growth stats for the most popular cloud storage providers in iconik:

“The growth in media over the past year is unmistakable: content remains king—and more people are seeking ways to store this huge uptick in content. It’s clear from this report that organizations want to remove friction from their media workflows and extract the most value from their assets as possible—and we believe that many users are choosing iconik and Wasabi as their storage and management options of choice as these solutions reflect the modern, accessible workflows users need today. Following another year of exponential growth in our partnership with iconik, it is clear organizations are resonating with our integrated cloud-based media asset management platform. With Wasabi hot cloud storage, it’s even easier to use iconik as there are no egress fees or API fees, meaning users won’t incur any additional costs when accessing their content.”
 

Whit Jackson
VP of Media and Entertainment, Wasabi

 

 

Media Management User Stats

Backlight has seen consistent growth in the use of iconik across all of its customers’ industries. The diversity of sectors illustrates why media management solutions must focus on creating intuitive products ito support adoption by organizations that have not historically staffed media operations. 

The data below will offer insights into who these users are and how they use iconik.

Industries Served

Iconik serves 18 industries today. The previous Media Stats reports have relied solely on industry categories using the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) taxonomy from MSCI and Standard & Poor's. However, this did not offer a detailed picture of what kind of companies need media management. This year marks a departure in how Backlight presents industries. Additional research has been done to present a more accurate view of the industries finding success with iconik.

Representing 22.5% of iconik customers, advertising is the largest industry using iconik for media management. It’s important to note that within advertising, many companies in this group specialize in post-production, VFX, and animation. Because their end products are used primarily for advertising, they are classified as such. Movies and entertainment is the second largest at 18.4%, and while looking very similar to advertising companies, the use case of their product defines them here as well. Public and non-profit organizations include charities, houses of worship, and advocacy organizations. At 12%, they are the third largest industry using iconik. These have remained consistent these past four years. 

If there is one industry that has stood out for its explosive adoption of new media technologies and management strategies this year, it’s sports. 

Industry Spotlight: Sports

Backlight customers increasingly use products like iconik and Wildmoka to manage and deliver media for live sports. While esports and traditional sports are different by nature, they have similar media operations needs—including media management.

The average sport/esports customer relying on iconik has indexed 230k assets and 260 TB of data. You can get a deeper view into this in the 2021 iconik case study where the featured customer, THUMBWAR, shared its hybrid cloud workflow for the 2020 Major League Baseball World Series, which captured three terabytes of media each day.

Sports fans represent some of the most engaged and loyal audiences, often following a team or league for decades and wanting comprehensive access to video from different sources as well as archives. How fans watch sports is also changing as more viewers live in broadband-only homes and watch OTT via streaming services, and social media. As a result, the business model for sports publishers has broadened to leverage these new channels creating the need to store more formats, versions, and content.

These were the most viewed sporting events in 2023:

  1. FIFA World Cup—5 Billion Viewers
  2. Tour de France—3.5 Billion Viewers
  3. ICC Cricket World Cup—2.6 Billion Viewers
  4. FIFA Women's World Cup—2 Billion Viewers
  5. Olympic Summer Games—2 Billion Viewers
  6. Olympic Winter Games—2 Billion Viewers
  7. UEFA Champions League Final—450 Million Viewers
  8. NFL Super Bowl—115.1 Million Viewers
  9. Wimbledon Tennis Championships—25.6 Million Viewers
  10. NBA Finals—17.8 Million Viewers
  11. Rugby World Cup—17 Million Viewers
  12. Kentucky Derby Horse Race—16.6 Million Viewers
  13. The Masters Golf Tournament—15 Million Viewers
  14. MLB World Series—14.73 Million Viewers
  15. NCAA Basketball Final Four—14.7 Million Viewers

And Esports must be acknowledged for its dramatic rise, with events that can dwarf traditional sports events in hours of footage captured. Esport live-streaming game audiences are expected to reach 640.8 million by 2025!

The top two esports events of 2023 were:

  1. 2023 World Championship, League of Legends—6.4 Million Peak Viewership, 100 Million Hours Watched
  2. M5 World Championship, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang—5 Million Peak Viewership, 72.2 Million Hours Watched

League of Legends by Riot Games and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang by Moonton claimed nearly all of the top ten events!

Team Sizes

What do the teams look like across the Backlight customer base that uses iconik? The data shows a wide range of team sizes, but there’s more to the story. The media asset management (MAM) sector has catered mostly to large, enterprise customers. However, the benefit of new, scalable, cloud-based solutions with flexible pricing is that they can scale to fit the needs of smaller organizations. Iconik accounts with 1-5 users grew the most YoY, with +39% more in 2023. A small user group does not necessarily equal a small organization. Sometimes, large companies only require a few users from one department to manage their media. However, this data and Backlight’s experience demonstrate a point…

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) often have greater autonomy and flexibility in their approach to adopting solutions like iconik. Self-serve processes allow SMBs to get started quickly. In contrast, Enterprise customers tend to have longer sales cycles and adoption timelines due to larger teams and more rigid processes.

Integrated Media Workflows

In 2023, Backlight invested heavily into iconik integrations with Final Cut Pro for post-production, Wildmoka for live-to-archive workflows, and cineSync for Hollywood-standard media review. Before that, however, there was the iconik panel for Adobe—one of the most robust integrations for Adobe Premiere Pro on the market and one way for us to examine trends in integrated media workflows. This Adobe panel integration allows access to all media in iconik directly from within Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Audition and has risen nearly 100% YoY as more teams add the integration to their production workflows.

“At IMT, we’re on the forefront of emerging trends surrounding content generation and media management best practices. The increased appetite to produce and deliver quality content with a quick turnaround requires a well-architected framework of cohesive and sophisticated technology flexible enough to support a wide array of modern workflows. It’s fantastic to see iconik keeping pace with our users’ needs with a variety of creative integrations and customization options. Features like these allow teams of all sizes to easily scale to support projects of all types. Technology, and “the how” should never get in the way of the creative process. Iconik makes the concept of media management transparent to end users while bolstering leading-edge technology to push the boundaries of creative editorial workflows to new heights.”
 

Roy Burns
SVP, Media Solutions, Integrated Media Technologies, Inc.

Since day one, the iconik development team has employed API-first development, meaning that an API was built first, then iconik was built on top of the API. An API, or application programming interface, is a set of functions and procedures that allow you to create applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service. Integrated solutions send API requests to request a service or information from each other. Building iconik this way allows users to build workflows and automation on top of iconik. Many of iconik’s technology partners have created iconik integrations of their own using the same iconik API offered to customers and is used by the iconik development team itself. 

And more users are integrating iconik this way—in 2023, iconik received an average of 550 API calls per second! 

Until Next Year…

It’s Backlight’s hope the data here has offered you some insight into how teams are working with and managing their media today. This report featured some new data that hasn't been in prior reports. If you enjoyed it, follow Backlight on LinkedIn or X to stay informed of the latest trends and developments in media tech. 

About Backlight

Backlight is a global media technology company that is dramatically improving every stage of the video and entertainment content lifecycle—from creation through monetization—with its award-winning, cloud-native SaaS products. Video-forward organizations partner with Backlight to solve their mission-critical business and operational challenges. Backlight’s product lines—iconik, cineSync, ftrack, celtx, Gem, Wildmoka and Zype—provide secure and efficient media management, narrative design, production tracking, creative collaboration, OTT, monetization and hyper-distribution. Backlight launched in 2021 and is backed by $200M in funding from growth-equity partner PSG.

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