One of the top reasons companies are adopting drones today is for their potential to save money. In media-based industries such as news, broadcasting, and filmmaking, this is especially true. Drones can enable media companies to reduce reliance on expensive equipment like helicopters, SkyCams, and camera cranes to get unique shots.

Beyond saving money, media companies are also finding new ways to put drones to work. We’ve seen drones transform the way digital media is collected and broadcast.

Let’s take a look at a few ways drones may be able to bring value to media companies.

New perspectives from the air with drones

Let’s start with the obvious: drones can provide unique aerial perspectives. No other camera can seamlessly capture subjects from the ground up to 400 feet in the air with the same ease. Drones are portable, versatile camera systems that unlock new angles on a story, location, or movie.

By now, most media companies have added a drone or two to their operating equipment. But the difficulty lies in scaling up the program. How can larger media organizations make sure pilots are capturing those unique perspectives while significantly reducing the risk of an incident — and being in the news for the wrong reasons?

Skyward helps companies get value from drones by training drone teams, equipping them with drone management software, and promoting ongoing success. If you’re not sure how to get your company’s drone fleet started, check out Skyward’s Program Start package.

Added productivity for media workflows

Broadcasters and other news gatherers often need to get in the air fast when a story is breaking. In the past, this required having a news helicopter and pilot on call. Smaller stations often had to share or outsource their aircraft, which meant the helicopter may not be available when needed.

The relatively low cost and accessibility of drones makes aerial videography much more readily available for smaller media operations. And even for moviemakers on a budget, drones may be a simpler, cheaper option for film shoots that may take weeks.

Having the right software tools is also key for rapid deployments and productive shoots. Skyward’s is an FAA-approved LAANC service supplier, which means that pilots can request access to controlled airspace in seconds through Skyward’s drone airspace map. With a LAANC authorization, pilots can know right away whether they have permission to fly in the airspace when they arrive at the news scene or film shoot.

Improved safety and less risk exposure

Drones can help reduce worker exposure to dangers like working from heights or in risky environments. Reducing risks to your crews makes everyone happier, from safety executives to your insurance provider.

Keeping camera crews out of harm’s way reduces risks to them and can lower your company’s workers’ comp claims. OSHA estimates that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. This includes workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses, and legal services. There are also indirect costs, like lost productivity, accident investigation, and corrective measures.

Drone connectivity for live-streamed media

Drones are great at capturing media for later processing, but they’re also frequently used to live-stream video. That’s a huge advantage for news media companies who want to cover a scene live from the air without putting up a helicopter.

As a Verizon company, Skyward is working to connect drones to Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G cellular networks. Streaming video directly from a drone to the internet is an obvious use case for drone connectivity. Cellular connectivity may also enable operations like remote drone deployments, long-distance flights, and new applications we haven’t even thought of yet.

Want to learn more about the possibilities of drones connected to 5G networks? Check out this article my coworker Francesca Stockton wrote on the topic.

Skyward can help drone programs at media companies

According to Business Insider, drone business services and labor in media, broadcasting, and entertainment were valued at about $8.8B in 2020. The use cases for news collection and storytelling are only beginning. 

Beyond that, the growth rate for the commercial drone industry keeps getting revised upward, with about 14 percent compound annual growth each year until the end of 2025. The latest FAA registration numbers say there are already over 370,000 commercial and nearly 500,000 recreational drones in operation in the U.S. alone. And over 220,000 people have been certified as commercial drone pilots.

It’s important to build your enterprise drones program on a platform that can handle the crowds now flying at low altitude — and take advantage of emerging technology. Find out more about how Skyward’s Drone Management Platform can help you manage a fleet of drones at your media company.

Skyward Drones For Media Guide