Digital transformation in the media and entertainment industry

The digitization of content has completely changed how media companies think about the creation, production, marketing, distribution and monetization of content. As their audiences find new ways to consume entertainment, whether it’s through tablets, smartphones, connected TVs, PCs, gaming or mixed reality devices, the competition for attention has never been greater. This evolution has disrupted traditional business models and is driving organizations across the industry to identify new ways in which they can quickly and securely produce and deliver the right content, at the right time to any device – all backed by business insights and projections which can be used to drive future decision making.

More and more organizations in the media and entertainment industry are turning to cloud providers to help manage their compute and storage needs and are recognizing the benefits of flexibility, security and scalability. For these organizations, having the ability to quickly scale up and down processing capacity when needed changes the cost curve for producing content. Once the content is ready, advanced search and smart content recommendations lead to increased consumption. Advances in computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) will drive these changes even further.

From working with NBC Sports to power the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic games livestream across devices, including Connected TVs for the first time, to delivering content storage, media encoding, rendering, advanced analytics and more, Microsoft is partnering with companies across the media and entertainment industry to help enable digital transformation. At the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB 2017), we are excited to announce several new partners and customers who have chosen Microsoft’s cloud to power their digital transformation:

  • Avid selects Microsoft Azure as preferred partner to power their business: Avid is a leading technology and multimedia company that specializes in audio and video; specifically, digital non-linear editing systems, management and distribution services. With this strategic partnership, Microsoft Azure will power Avid and all new joint customers’ content, globally, and we will co-develop cloud-based solutions and services for the media and entertainment industry, powered by the Avid MediaCentral Platform, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media. With a cloud-based offering built on Avid’s portfolio of the industry’s best and most comprehensive creative tools and media workflow solutions, the partnership will enable media organizations and creative professionals to quickly and easily leverage the efficiencies, flexibility and agility that the cloud enables.
  • Verizon Digital Media Services offers integrated Microsoft Azure Storage: We also recently announced with Verizon Digital Media Services that it will make cloud-based storage from Microsoft Azure available to all Verizon Digital Media Services Edgecast Content Delivery Network (CDN) customers. Azure Storage will now power Verizon STORE, the cloud-based origin storage offering on the Edgecast CDN, providing an even more convenient option for resilient, infinitely scalable object storage that is ideal for media and metadata.
  • Crackle, a unit of Sony Pictures Television Networks, selects Microsoft Azure as a streaming service partner: Crackle programs Hollywood movies, popular TV shows, original series and feature films for the world’s connected audience. Azure helps power the streaming network’s services and allows consumers to view content at anytime, anywhere on every connected device.
  • Availability of Skype TX for Radio; new Skype TX hardware integrations with Newtek: Earlier this month we announced the availability of Skype TX for Radio with partner Broadcast Bionics – an industry first enabling delivery of high-quality audio enabling producers to bring on guests from Skype’s network of hundreds of millions of users across the globe – a significant improvement for radio broadcasters and podcasters worldwide. Additionally, one of our innovative partners, Newtek, released the TriCaster® TC1, the first affordable end-to-end 4K IP video production system that offers multiple studio-grade Skype TX channels for adding remote video guests to live broadcast.

The next wave of digital transformation

With a diverse and growing set of ways in which audiences can consume media and entertainment, it is not only important to ease the creation of content but also ensure that data is serving up smart insights about what content resonates with audiences. In 2016, global internet advertising revenue surpassed global TV ad revenue for the first time[i]. As our world becomes more digital, advertisers, content creators and distributors will move past general demographic information and increasingly require more granular customer details for TV like they do for the internet. Over-the-top (OTT) solutions will help here but it is also important that there are end-to-end monetization strategies that go with it. At NAB some of our customers and partners are showing off how they are evolving their businesses to take advantage of intelligence to create more meaningful connections with their customers.

  • Ooyala, a Microsoft partner and leader in premium video platforms, media logistics and advertising, demonstrated how Ooyala Flex, their media logistics platform, integrates with Microsoft Cognitive Services to simplify metadata capture by extracting transcripts, detecting faces within videos, and analyzing text to detect key topics. Ooyala then uses that rich metadata to recommend relevant videos to viewers and to deliver targeted advertising.
  • UFA GmbH (UFA), one of Germany’s oldest and most distinguished entertainment brands, is a highly efficient creator of entertainment content. UFA already had this long-term vision pioneering a cloud-based production workflow. They now have brought their archive and the content distribution into Microsoft Azure – with the aid of the Microsoft partner Interlake and Using Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, UFA is able to make its video content actionable and accessible in completely new ways, such as automatically translating and tagging the content, to see inside the video. The vision is to bring the entire production process into the cloud, from recording to play out.

Join us today

At this year’s show, I will have an opportunity to meet many of our partners, customers and attendees in the media and entertainment industry and discuss how we can help empower their digital transformation. If you’re attending NAB Show 2017, I would encourage you to tune into my keynote presentation on digital transformation in media in the Las Vegas Convention Center in rooms N262/N264 followed by a panel discussion. We are investing in new innovations and improvements across our media services, which you can learn more about in Sudheer Sirivara’s blog. You can also stop by our booth SL6710 to learn more about Microsoft’s cloud media services and see demos from several of our partners. If you are not attending the conference but would like to learn more about our media services, check out:


[i] Source: Global Entertainment and media outlook 2016-2020, PWC, Ovum

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