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“Moving operations to the cloud allows com-

panies to set up a new programme or even a

new channel in a very short timeframe, without

investing tens of millions of dollars,” explains

Kellerhalls in his blog post. “That elasticity is a

key advantage, and so is the ability to support

the multitude of content formats necessary to-

day across smartphones, tablets, PCs, set-top

boxes and gaming consoles.”

Cloud-based solutions are also helping media

companies to make their programming more

commercially successful, increase their viewer-

ship and generate more revenue.

For example, this September Information Man-

agement Group showcased a cloud-based solu-

tion that combines mined audience data with

information from other sources – such as social

networks – to analyse audience reach and engage-

ment. Not only does this enable broadcasters to

identify which granular details of the programme

need to be adjusted to boost viewership, but it also

allows them to better plan their related marketing

campaigns or consumer advertising schedules.

Preparing, securing, distributing and monet-

ising live and on-demand media content is set

to get even easier as Microsoft continues to add

new functionality to its Azure Media Services

platform. For example, the new Azure Media

Encoder Standard allows users to extract sub-

clips of live streams, while the Live Encoding

feature enables adaptive bitrate streaming. In

addition, Azure Media Player can now play back

multi-language audio and encrypted video con-

tent in Google Chrome with Widevine. Plus,

Microsoft has partnered with cross-platform

players, such as Imagine Communications, to

simplify how broadcasters distribute content

and enable them to stream in to virtually any

type of device, anywhere in the world.

“In the old days when it cost US$20 million to

set up a new broadcast channel and purchase

all the hardware, the satellite dish connections

or the cable lines, the kind of agility we’re seeing

today was simply not possible,” says Kellerhals.

“But now, with the cloud, broadcasters have an

entirely new world of technologies and tools to

work with – and new ways of connecting with

their audiences and monetising their services.”

Mobile apps powered

by Azure Media

Services helped millions

of viewers worldwide

to vote for Eurovision

contestants, resulting

in a win for Sweden’s

Måns Zelmerlöw

Image: Eurovision/EBU and Thomas Hanses Image: Eurovision/EBU and Elena Volotova