M&E Daily

NAB 2017: OpenText Enhances Media Management; AVS Touts New Studio; Azure Touts Avid Pact

At the NAB Show, OpenText shared what’s it’s doing to help companies deliver content experiences that engage audiences at every moment of interaction, including the latest offerings that are part of its OpenText Media Management version 16 and Media Management Cloud Edition digital asset management platforms that the company said “create, curate, manage and distribute digital media for the entire enterprise.”

V16.2 of OpenText Media Management includes several significant enhancements that John Price, senior solutions marketing manager-customer experience management, said the company previewed to customers at NAB ahead of its May 2 general release. OpenText received “great traction” among clients from a few of those additions, he told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) at the show, adding customers were “real excited” about the enhancements.

One major new addition is intelligent storage management that Price said allows customers to choose whether they want to store very large-sized media files that would consume a lot of storage space on site or on any of the public clouds instead. “It allows you to maximize and really optimize the way that you need to store your files, and we can manage that” through the OpenText Media Management system, he said.

Also new is enhanced marketing and agency collaboration, Michael Snow, senior product marketing manager of media, told us. “There is a lot of content that companies go back and forth with” with the agencies they work with to get approvals on, he noted. “Previously, unless they basically had some other kind of workflow dealing with that, it was done in a very ad hoc manner,” he said. Enhanced marketing and agency collaboration, however, “ties media management to review and approval with their agencies” and allows users to “assign jobs and tasks to different people internally and externally,” he said, adding the new feature “allows you to really control the workflow.”

OpenText Media Management already offered an adaptive media delivery service for customers to deliver URL-based assets to other parties that needed them, Snow went on to say. The latest release, however, adds integration with content delivery networks also, providing a “much faster experience, he said.
A lot of user experience improvements were also made in version 16.2, at least partly based on customer suggestions, he told us.

Snow explained that OpenText is covering the digital asset management process on a truly “end-to-end” basis – “basically from creation to consumption and distribution.” The company is “focused on media assets and all of the different uses those may have in the enterprise for a media company,” he said, adding “every company now – even outside of the broadcast industry – is a media company and needs to be able to manage these assets across their lifecycle.”

As an example of the latter, Snow said energy drink maker Monster is “becoming a hell of a media company right now” because it’s sponsoring extreme sports and other events, and it’s creating content around such events. Monster became an OpenText customer because it didn’t have rights management in place to control the use of assets, “so that exposed them essentially to potential litigation,” he said.

Also at the NAB Show:

Advantage Video Systems

The “big news” for Advantage Video Systems (AVS) at NAB was the new, 85,000-square-foot studio that it built in Los Angeles, CEO and owner Jeffrey Stansfield told MESA at the show.

adnab AVS previously had a 15,000-square-foot studio in Burbank, California. The new studio has five stages and three floors of offices, Stansfield said, adding: “It’s been a dream of mine for 20 years to create a Disneyland for tech people.” When people attend trade shows, they get glimpses of how technology works, but the cameras, lights and servers at those events aren’t typically set up to actually work the way they would in an actual studio, he said. On the other hand, everything will be up and working at his new studio, so visitors can actually see how everything functions together, he said.

“We’re also going to rent the studios out,” for companies to host events there, for example, he said, adding he moved into the new space 10 days ago. He projected it will take another 30-60 days for it to be up and running, but said: “It’s never going to be finished” because the plan is for it to keep growing.
For now, AVS has a five-year lease for the new studio, but he told us: “We’re going to probably be buying the property. We have an investor we’re talking to.”

AVS, which has built numerous VFX houses, production and post facilities and has completed more than 250 TV stations nationwide, also worked with numerous vendors to host a mega raffle at NAB.

Microsoft Azure

The big news for Microsoft Azure at NAB was its partnership with media tech provider Avid under which Azure has become Avid’s preferred cloud hosting platform.

micronab It’s the first time in which the companies collaborated with each other, Joel Sloss, program manager, told MESA at the show, pointing to Avid being, historically, “an on-premises solution.” But now, he said, “with the whole industry moving towards the need for scalable capacity, high security and broad access, it’s a natural fit for a company like Avid … to have the cloud extension and to start moving those kinds of assets into a central repository.” Sloss predicted that hybrid-cloud deployments “will become the standard” for companies.

Avid and Azure agreed to develop numerous Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings, built on MediaCentral, Avid’s collection of creative tools and media workflow solutions. The pact was announced during Avid’s annual Connect conference, held in conjunction with NAB. The multi-year agreement calls for Microsoft to invest resources and funding in Avid-based cloud-based solutions, along with specific Azure-based cloud services for the media and entertainment industry, with Avid supplying Azure exclusive hosting and media services, integrated into its portfolio of cloud-based solutions.

Microsoft Azure also had its latest hybrid cloud tools and resources on hand at NAB, including a free Cloud Migration Assessment, which helps companies discover the servers across their IT environment, analyzing their hardware configurations, and providing detailed cost-benefit reports. Azure Site Recovery is another tool that was showcased.

Oracle

Oracle’s press announcements were reserved for its own NetSuite SuiteWorld Conference that was held in Las Vegas the same week as the NAB Show. At NAB, Oracle spotlighted its portfolio of media and entertainment solutions for the convergence of broadcast and the cloud, highlighting how its digital media solutions enable the media and entertainment ecosystem, from the Oracle Digital Media Cloud Marketplace (where content is created and enhanced), to Oracle’s Hybrid cloud, Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings for Networked Attached Storage (NAS), content management and archiving.

Sony

At NAB, Sony highlighted expanded cloud offerings under its Media Cloud Services (MCS) platform. During a meeting at the show with MESA, David Rosen, VP-cloud applications and solutions at Sony Electronics Professional Solutions Americas, he also pointed to the significance of Sony’s acquisition of Crispin Corp.

Crispin, which will be integrated as a wholly-owned subsidiary into Sony Electronics’ Professional Solutions Americas group, develops master control automation and asset management solutions for broadcasters, cable operators and other TV and media operations. The purchase allows Crispin and Sony to combine their expertise in broadcast and production workflow applications to offer customers a turn-key source for content distribution and management, Sony said.

sonynab Sony previously worked with Crispin on several media solutions projects, most notably the Public Media Management master control and cloud-based distribution service for PBS and TEGNA’s Media Clearinghouse project, which automated the process of distributing syndicated programs across its entire group, Sony said. Both projects relied on Crispin’s master control automation and Loading Dock technologies, as well as “tight integration” with Sony’s Ci media cloud services, as critical components, it said.
 
Sony’s expanded cloud offerings include applications and services running on Amazon Web Services and supporting the entire media lifecycle — from acquisition with XDCAM Air to creation with Ci through over-the-top (OTT) distribution with Ven.ue, Sony said.

Sony’s Instant High Dynamic Range (HDR) Workflow, for example, was designed for lower-scale productions, corporate or event work where delivery time and budgets are issues, it said. Instant HDR Workflow allows for “simple shooting, editing and viewing of HDR content” in the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) HDR standard “without the need for color grading,” Sony said.

The company’s “SR Live for HDR” technology, meanwhile, enables simultaneous production of 4K HDR and HD SDR using the S-log curve to “ensure the highest quality content throughout the entire production process,” it said. Sony has been “working with every leading sports network” in the U.S. and Canada to “streamline” the SR Live workflow, it said.

The newest component of Sony’s SR Live workflow is the HDRC-4000 convertor that it said allows High-Def and 4K signals to enter an HDR production environment. SDR sources “can be up-converted with the appropriate color space to accommodate any flavor of HDR,” and the “versatile technology allows SDR archive, commercials or feeds to be easily integrated into an HDR production,” it said.

One goal of Sony is to help its customers have “much more efficient workflows,” Rosen told MESA at the show while demonstrating the company’s latest offerings.