Ten minutes with Ben Foakes, founder & MD, Base Media Cloud

The digital media landscape has seen seismic change over the last few years. Both in how we produce and consume video. Ex-pro BMX freestyler Ben Foakes has been part of this transformation. Having owned video production and post-production companies in the past, he has reimagined the traditional business model and pioneered video storage, processing and delivery as a cloud service through his company, BASE Media Cloud, which covers production, post production and distribution.

Tell us a bit about your path to setting up Base Media Cloud…

It all started when I was a BMX freestyler. This was a fantastic time for me. I got to travel around the world, but this was also when I first moved into the wonderful world of video production. I produced BMX videos on VHS and later DVDs which was the grounding that allowed me to set up my first ‘proper’ post-production company in 2004. We specialised in sports and grew to attract some big clients including World Super Bikes, F1 and even produced the end credits for blockbuster movies including James Bond – Quantum of Solace. I was part of an industry that was changing rapidly and saw that traditional business models needed to be totally reimagined. It is out of this thinking that BASE Media Cloud emerged – a 21st Century online media services company at the cutting edge of the digital media industry’s migration to the cloud.

What made you shift from production to being a facilitator in the production of video?

Video production was growing exponentially – still is – it creates a lot of data. Video post-production, storage and digital delivery equipment is also very expensive. It takes a huge amount of investment in both time and money to set up the equipment and systems needed to produce and share quality video. I could see an opportunity to deliver ‘video facilities as a cloud service’, which would mean studios could be set up almost anywhere and quickly. As a team, we have decades of digital media industry technology experience and so we understand every step of the media lifecycle and how cloud can help improve workflows. This has proved to be a winning formula. We have attracted an impressive client base including brands such as ITV, Formula E, LadBible Group and the Football Association.

How has the industry responded to cloud migration?

In short, many businesses have welcomed it. It has allowed our clients to set up almost anywhere and move into new territories across the world quickly. It goes without saying that trust is a huge factor for our clients – can they trust us to look after their data – the lifeblood of their business. Our choice of technology partners has been paramount in overcoming this. At the heart of our offer is the IBM Cloud platform. This delivers a huge amount of comfort both for us and our clients, that their data resides in IBM datacentres.

What does it mean for your clients?

We have been able to achieve cloud-based storage and workflow covering all aspects of video production, from storage and file sharing, through to media asset management and branded portals, with access to content from anywhere, enabling increased monetisation of content. A cloud-based model allows businesses to respond quickly to production and distribution demands and at the same time work cost effectively, which allows them to focus on the skilled creative work. Of course, it also means they are utilising the latest best of breed technologies at all times without the uplift in investment it would mean using a traditional business model.

What next for BASE Media Cloud?

We’re a relatively young business, established in 2015, so our focus is to keep doing what we are great at and continue to grow sustainably. We have achieved 100 per cent year on year growth since launching and have attracted amazing global clients, as well as some of the best talent in the industry. It’s really important to have great people around you. We will continue to grow our offer and specialise in this exciting area of cloud services for the digital media industry. We have been cloud evangelists for many years, but now a huge proportion of the media market is moving across to online, distributed working, and we are perfectly positioned to serve them.