HITS Fall: Cloud-Based MAMs Enable Live Coverage of the Future, AWS Says

Despite the many changes we’ve seen in the pipeline and screens that audiences use to watch video content, live events will always be core to the viewing experience.

And cloud-based media asset management systems (MAMs) offer the scale and flexibility needed to leverage global talent, production and supply chains for broadcasters to produce real-time highlights and coverage for in-game production and social offerings, according to Ian McPhersonsenior partner development manager for media and entertainment at Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Broadcasters stand to be helped, in general, by “combining cloud technologies,” artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), MAMs and digital asset management systems (DAMs), along with “other networking and downstream and content acceleration technologies,” he said during the morning breakout presentation “How Cloud-based MAMs Enable the Live Coverage of the Future – The Fox Sports World Cup Coverage Case Study” at the Oct. 4 Hollywood Innovation & Technology Summit (HITS) Fall event.

“When I look at the landscape, especially when we start looking at entertainment and drilling down into sports, we see a lot of companies who have started to take the combination of content and data, and make faster decisions and more personalized content decisions, using AI, ML [and] using cloud technologies,” he told attendees.

He added: “We see the ability to take metadata, as it relates to clips” that are “automatically generated by companies” including AWS with its SageMaker platform, GrayMeta and Veritone, and “use that information to provide users a different personalized experience [and] second-screen enhanced experiences.”

What we’re seeing is that sports owners, broadcasters and rights holders are “realizing that fan engagement’s more than just being able to stream that content anywhere – it’s enhancing the content, it’s enhancing the experience, enhancing it with information, it’s enhancing it with offers, it’s enhancing it with feedback,” he said.

This enhanced content experience is being provided largely via over-the-top (OTT) streaming applications, often on mobile devices, he noted. “By taking some of that content and moving it to the cloud for processing and distribution, we’re able to look at” achievements that include Indian digital and mobile entertainment platform Hotstar recently attracting “almost 11 million concurrent viewers” for a streamed cricket tournament, he said.

The “ability to scale and be elastic with on-demand capacity, as well as a pay-as-you-go model…makes it possible for [companies] to spin up an environment, host 11 million users, and spin it down, and turn off all the resources they don’t need once the event is over,” he explained.

Fans are engaging with that enhanced content experience and it’s “driving increased subscriptions because you can enhance more than just what the linear playout experience looks like over a mobile device,” he said, pointing out you can add “overlays and you’ve got data enhancements.”

When looking at the trends being seen across sports, he went on to say: “We see that 50 percent of the people” viewing sports “are now looking for enhanced either second-screen or enhanced personal experience.”

Much of the discussion focused on one use case: Fox Sports’ coverage of this year’s Russian World Cup that used AWS and Levels Beyond as core enablers to bring together live production across 10 stadiums, 32 sites and three media locations (postproduction in L.A., studio in Red Square, and onsite operation at the IBC).

For that World Cup coverage, there were 384 people editing the content and there were no proxies, but instead actual live streams coming in from the stadiums, McPherson said. In all, there were 1.9 petabytes of content delivered, nearly 2,000 separate live feeds and 29,000 clips were generated during the course of the entire event, he said.

HITS Fall was sponsored by AWS, Box, Microsoft Azure, Ooyala, TiVo, Cognizant, DXC Technology, Gracenote, LiveTiles, ThinkAnalytics, Wasabi, Aspera, EIDR, MicroStrategy, the Trusted Partner Network, human-I-T, Zaszou IT Consulting, OnPrem Solution Partners, and Bob Gold & Associates, and was produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), in association with the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), the Smart Content Council and Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH).

Click here to download audio of the presentation. Click here for the AWS presentation slide deck.