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onsumers expect video on demand con-

tent, such as movies or catch-up TV pro-

grammes, to work immediately. But, if the

content malfunctions, they can simply switch off

and start again. Live broadcasting, on the other

hand, is completely different. Providers can’t

afford for viewers to miss the winning goal in

a live sports match, or the moment a winner is

announced in a live cooking or dancing compe-

tition. To ensure they can provide uninterrupted

access to live video streams and scale content

quickly to meet variable viewer demand, broad-

casters are turning to the cloud.

“Media companies all over the world are adopt-

ing cloud strategies, not just for on-demand

video, but also for live sports events and live

entertainment, content management, editorial

collaboration, audience analytics, and ad sched-

uling – from the back office, through production,

to interactions with viewers themselves,” says

Rainer Kellerhals, senior business development

manager of Worldwide Industry and Global Ac-

counts at Microsoft, in a Microsoft blog post.

Microsoft Azure Media Services, which com-

bines highly scalable cloud-based encoding, en-

cryption and streaming components, is helping

broadcasters worldwide to stream coverage from

live events and share on-demand video content.

For example, HBS partnered with deltatre

to use its Diva solution and Azure Media Ser-

vices to provide multiple live and on-demand

video streams to ten major broadcasters and 25

million fans worldwide during the 30-day 2014

FIFA World Cup. Audiences were able to switch

between the live streams and multi-angle video

on-demand, and display the content in various

layouts on different devices.

“The 2014 FIFA World Cup had the most so-

phisticated online-streaming solution of any

sporting event ever,” says Carlo de Marchis,

chief product officer at deltatre. “The fact that

we could offload the complexity of our process-

es to Microsoft Azure and get a better video

solution at less cost is phenomenal. It helped us

to sell the solution to more licensees and reach

larger audiences worldwide than would other-

wise have been possible.”

HBS and deltatre are not the only companies

using Azure Media Services to quickly devel-

op and cost-effectively operate a live streaming

or video on demand platform. US TV network

NBC Sports harnessed the cloud to deliver a

multiplatform viewing experience for more than

100 million people worldwide during the 2014

Olympic Winter Games, and again in January

2015 to live stream Super Bowl Sunday to 2.5

million viewers. Belgian cable service provider

Telenet used it to build an interactive Play Sports

app. This May, Austrian broadcaster ORF and

the European Broadcasting Union relied on Az-

ure Media Services to manage real-time online

voting apps and transmit video on demand from

the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest to 45 broad-

casters and 200 million viewers worldwide.

We explore how TV networks and broadcasters are harnessing cloud technologies to

transform the way they deliver live and video-on-demand content to their viewers