LAS VEGAS — April 20, 2009 — This week at the 2009 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, Microsoft Corp. will showcase how its software and industry solutions can provide a foundation for media networks to drive down costs while investing in a future where flexibility will be fundamental to success. From video development and management to delivery and the end consumer experience, Microsoft and its partners are helping media companies modernize their existing IT systems and redesign the user experience across multiple screens.
“Because media companies are seeing a shift in monetization models, it’s more important than ever for them to invest in their IT infrastructure in the back end to deliver rich experiences in the front end,” said Gabriele Di Piazza, managing director for Media and Entertainment in the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “Building upon our innovative background in software, Microsoft delivers a comprehensive set of solutions that enable media companies to converge behind the three screens and optimize the entire content life cycle for distribution across an ever-evolving landscape of experiences.”
Managing Behind the Screens
Microsoft is enabling a leading ecosystem of vendors to the cable and broadcast industry to develop robust digital content management solutions using key products such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, FAST, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and Microsoft Silverlight. Key partners in this ecosystem include ANNOVA Systems, Avid Technology Inc., Blue Order, Cinegy LLC, DAVID Systems, Equilibrium, Open Text Corp. and S4M – Solutions 4 Media. Through this collaboration, a number of major media networks are currently using Microsoft technologies in unique ways to manage digital assets, transform operations and integrate business management systems with the production environment.
BBC Worldwide recently updated its IT systems to bridge multiple technologies, including internal Microsoft .NET applications, enterprise resource planning systems and off-the-shelf packages. “We deployed Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 to implement complex business processes including content publication, revenue reporting and customer information for direct-to-consumer online services,” said Gareth Charles, director of Projects and Development at BBC Worldwide. “BizTalk orchestrated key media metadata, transactional sales data and business intelligence information between internal systems and joint venture parties outside the enterprise. The solution enabled us to solve, reliably, the integration problems that would be difficult to address without appropriate tooling.”
Microsoft is showcasing a new, service-oriented-architecture approach for supporting digital content workflows and collaboration. Developed with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner TechPath and industry partners such as the Open Text Digital Media Group (formerly Artesia), Rhozet, Signiant, Nintex USA LLC and Telerik, the architecture is based on core server technologies including Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, and combines capabilities such as collaboration, business process and task management, flexible content workflow, search, and analytics with integrated media solutions for ingest and file delivery, transcoding, and rich media asset management.
MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc., is currently working with Microsoft and Vertigo Software Inc. to redesign its Archive Library Information Access System (ALIAS), using the extensive rich Internet application (RIA) capabilities of Silverlight, powered by the .NET Framework. The redesign will result in significant improvements in performance and overall features of ALIAS, providing an enhanced user experience and more efficient workflow. MTV Networks’ personnel use ALIAS to track more than 2 million archived assets in multiple formats. The system serves all of MTV Networks’ diverse brands, including MTV, VH1, CMT, COMEDY CENTRAL, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, TV Land and LOGO. ALIAS plans to leverage the new H.264 video capabilities of Silverlight 3, enabling MTV Networks to retain its current video proxy with no further transcoding.
“ALIAS is an indispensible tool for our employees to access the vast array of unique production resources that have made our brands, programs and characters some of the most iconic in the entertainment industry,” said Joe Simon, senior vice president and CIO, Viacom. “With the help of Microsoft .NET and Silverlight technologies, we’ve successfully and efficiently improved the user experience and the navigation across the ALIAS application and, as a result, we’re even better positioned to serve our cable, satellite and telco partners.”
Media Prima Berhad, one of the largest integrated media groups in Malaysia with properties spanning TV, radio and print media, needed a better way to get an accurate snapshot of top-line revenue, sales performance and advertiser performance. By working with Microsoft in collaboration with Accenture and Avanade, the company launched an advertiser sales management solution built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The solution provides a new level of business agility for Media Prima Berhad by offering a single repository for customer information and intelligence and providing global visibility of it sales performance and targets. As a result, management reports that previously took four days to generate can now be completed within 45 minutes.
Delivering the Multichannel Experience
Consumers are increasingly expecting easier, more immersive and engaging ways to enjoy content as new experiences proliferate across all the screens they interact with. Microsoft is adding new platform-based solutions that make it easier to create and distribute content across a variety of mediums while breaking new ground on quality and ease of use.
Microsoft announced that Windows Media Center is now averaging more than 13 million unique users per month, a number that has steadily grown over the past year on the heels of numerous content additions, including the NBC Olympics on the Go service, the MSNBC News portal and most recently the Sports Channel. Studies continue to show the demand for TV on the PC remains strong: A 2008 survey sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Nielsen along with CBS Vision reported that 73 percent of respondents were interested in watching TV on their computer. Windows Media Center is delivering an optimal platform to reach the significant number of Windows Vista users in the market today, with enhancements coming in Windows 7 that make it even easier for consumers to find and access the TV shows, videos and movies they want — all in one place.
Microsoft Mediaroom is now the world’s most deployed Internet Protocol television (IPTV) platform. Worldwide momentum for connected TV services powered by Microsoft Mediaroom continues to build with the number of Mediaroom subscribers expected to hit 3 million next month. In the past 12 months, the number of subscribers has more than doubled, lifting Mediaroom to the No. 1 spot in the global IPTV middleware market, according to new figures from Screen Digest.*
Microsoft is also announcing the release of Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming and demonstrating broad industry adoption for the IIS Media Services platform and Smooth Streaming content delivery for Silverlight 3 by leading media organizations such as CTV, electronic retailer HSN, NBCOlympics.com, TV 2 and RAI. In addition, content delivery networks including AT&T, CDNetworks Co. Ltd., Level3 Communications LLC, Limelight Networks Inc. and Internap Network Services Corp., as well as encoding product vendors including Digital Rapids, Envivio Inc., Grab Networks Inc. (Anystream), Inlet Technologies, Rhozet, Telestream Inc., VBrick Systems Inc., Viewcast Corp. and Winnov Inc., have all announced products and services supporting Smooth Streaming. In addition, to provide the highest level of content protection, leading digital rights management (DRM) application service providers such as BuyDRM, Entriq Inc., ExtendMedia Corp., Ipercast Inc. and iStreamPlanet Co. have announced support for Silverlight DRM powered by PlayReady.
One example of a broad integration of Microsoft solutions and technologies in Web content delivery, search, content protection and online services is TV 2, the largest commercial broadcaster in Norway. TV 2 is using Silverlight, FAST, PlayReady, chat and traffic sharing with MSN for its innovative live and on-demand video service. This service provides access to a full lineup of TV programming, including premium live sports, and is one of the most successful online TV services in Scandinavia. Smooth Streaming and a powerful programming model in Silverlight are two of the main reasons for TV 2’s choice. TV 2 is making use of Windows Live ID and FAST to introduce a new statistics service and a new community for its football fans.
“We compared Microsoft’s solutions for the media industry to the stand-alone applications from other suppliers,” said Helge Høibraaten, director of Web Video at TV 2, Norway. “We were impressed with Microsoft and found Silverlight to be a compelling product. Silverlight enables us to not only deliver TV pictures to the screen but also integrate a dialogue with the user, which is central to creating an interactive user experience.”
Microsoft also announced that CSG Systems and Yacast have joined the PlayReady Service Provider Program, which was announced earlier this month. Content distribution networks and hosting companies participating in the program as PlayReady Service Providers can provide highly scalable PlayReady server-based solutions to other companies, helping them bring content services to market quickly.
Microsoft at 2009 NAB Show
Microsoft and select partners are showcasing a number of products and solutions at the Microsoft booth (SL720) spanning the entire content life cycle. Digital content management demonstrations will be shown by DAVID Systems, Equilibrium, TechPath and Microsoft Virtual Earth. Industry partners Accenture, Avanade, Decentrix Inc., InterDyn AKA/Media Aspects, S4M – Solutions for Media, Siemens and Streamline Solutions will showcase media business management solutions. FAST and Navic Networks (Microsoft Advertising) will demonstrate how to monetize rich media content and services through online search, personalization and advertising solutions. In addition, Microsoft will also showcase how to deliver unique digital content experiences with Microsoft Mediaroom, Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Media Center across multiple screens.
More information about Microsoft’s presence at 2009 NAB Show is available at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/mediaandentertainment/nab2009/default.mspx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
* The data is from Screen Digest’s TV Technology Intelligence service, which tracks operator-by-operator TV technology deployments on a global basis.
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