NAB 2023 MESA Round-Up: Ateliere, MetaBroadcast, VIDA, Amazon Web Services, Blu Digital
LAS VEGAS — More than 50 MESA members exhibited during NAB. Here’s what a few of them had to share at the show.
Ateliere Creative Technologies
Adrian Goman, pre post sales engineer for Ateliere, sees a shift happening in an industry that’s looking for more insight into what they own, and do so by moving away from spreadsheets and into orchestration platforms that accept whatever tools you’d like to plug in.
“This is about meeting you where you’re at, and tying things together,” he said at NAB. “Cost is a big theme, ‘How do I get to the cloud without breaking the bank?’”
That was what Ateliere delivered at NAB, showcasing its latest innovations in cloud-native media supply chain management, covering all corners, including localisation, automation, and data analytics, all with the goal of helping clients move to the cloud and expand their operations.
Levering cloud resources without scaling up entire operations and or productions is what Ateliere is all about, with a host of new announcements. There were updates with Ateliere Connect, the company’s cloud-native media supply chain offering, now enabling clients to prioritise jobs and target them for particular delivery platforms; a new Usage Forecasting feature (part of Ateliere’s data analytics suite) predicting trends in acquisitions and deliveries based on past usage; a new clipping feature for the assembly of trailers and packages on the fly.
Ateliere also showed off its flexible disaster recovery services, which includes options for fully redundant setups and partial failover which remains dormant until needed. And Ateliere was a big part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) demonstration of how to manage creation, sales, and fulfilment for localisation workflows across multiple vendors.
And, of course, Ateliere’s white-label OTT solution, Discover, was a hit at the show as well, proving that a fully branded streaming service with targeted audience analytics is made easy for anyone to get off the ground.
Ateliere also had major personnel news to share coming into NAB, with the appointments of Ryan Kido as CTO and former CTO Arjun Ramamurthy as M&A technical advisor to the CEO.
If you want the right piece of content made available on every possible device, metadata is the way. And doing that means accessing automated metadata solutions that aggregates content from numerous sources, with billions of data points processed every day.
“There’s an increased desire for better metadata in their systems,” Jamie MacKinlay, CEO of the company, said of content owners and service providers. “We’re here to take the pain away from metadata management, consolidate it, help companies make the most of it.
“We have a data mess, and we’re here to help. If data is the new oil, it needs a refinery. MetaBroadcast offers that refinery.”
The result of that refinery is automated and enriched metadata that powers content discovery and insights for more than 70 broadcasters and 310-plus channels and manages close to 70 million content records. The company’s automated metadata cloud platform Atlas, with its aggregated sources of content data, ensures that clients can maximise audience awareness of available content. Built on AWS, the SaaS platform acts as the central database and depository for all ingested metadata, and allows for managing and editing text, image, or schedule related metadata, and indexing and searching of MetaBroadcast’s data warehouse.
MacKinlay sees metadata as the solution for any sort of content aggregation or distribution issue a content company faces, whether it be in the SVOD, AVOD or purchasing space. If you’re going to retain subscribers and keep people on your service, you better be paying more attention to descriptive metadata and the results of content discovery.
“Our solution pays for itself in months, and optimising your metadata strategy pays more dividends than people realise,” he said.
Visual Data’s VIDA
As crucial as many of the technologies displayed at NAB are for media and entertainment, there aren’t too many that literally make you say “Wow!” when you demo them.
Symon Roue, managing director of Visual Data’s advanced cloud-based SaaS platform and Media Asset Management solution VIDA Content OS, got used to it as the NAB Show went on, as he and his crew demonstrated AI-powered integrations that basically do a lot of the work for you.
“The AI functionality enhances your assets, the searchability of content, automates your asset workflow,” Roue said, as he demonstrated how VIDA can now offer an entire TV series summary on its own, with users only having to choose the tone and theme of the description. “And it can localise the synopsis in different languages using GPT. Normally to do this someone needs to spend all their time watching every episode. Using AI, it’s done automatically, then send to your buyer, your VOD platforms.”
Not bad for VIDA’s first time on the NAB Show floor.
VIDA’s AI-enabled features cover all audio and visual analysis including text file conversions, language translation, cue detections and recognition, and more, all geared toward helping helps content owners simplify their management and broaden the reach of content libraries.
VIDA currently touts more than 2,000 onboarded users and and five-plus petabytes of content securely stored in the cloud since it debuted a year ago. The incorporation of OpenAI GPT could help see those numbers explode by the time NAB 2024 arrives. VIDA also debuted enhanced FAST Channel support for independent and large content owners, integrating Amagi’s cloud-based SaaS technology to simplify delivery of content to hundreds of distribution points.
“We are taking significant steps in enhancing the FAST Channel delivery workflow by leveraging the best in delivery and AI technology,” Roue said when that announcement was made. “To keep pace, content owners must be able to automate routine and repetitive processes so they can lower the cost of managing and monetising video, audio, and rich media assets for collaborative production and distribution. VIDA can make that a reality.”
Amazon Web Services
By the time the show was over, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had won Best in Show awards from both Broadcasting & Cable and TV Tech. If there were awards for Most Prominent Exhibitor, Most Partners, and Most Announcements, AWS would have taken those home as well.
“AWS is doubling down on media and entertainment, with significant investments in what we’re producing,” said Samira Bakhtiar, director of global media and entertainment for AWS. “Like everything, we work backwards with the customers, find out what they need.”
There was the new AWS Elemental MediaConnect Gateway, a cloud-connected software app for transmitting live video between on-premises multicast networks and AWS which “solves to challenges many broadcasters are having working in hybrid environments,” Bakhtiar said.
MediaConnect Gateway ops the operations game for hybrid environments, providing monitoring, security, and management of video feeds from the AWS Management Console, and with MediaConnect Gateway, users can build end-to-end live video contribution and distribution workflows in AWS, seamlessly integrating into on-premises infrastructures.
There was the fact that a year after AWS had eight partners showing off direct product integrations on the NAB Show floor, 2023 saw 83. Yes, 83. “We’re very proud to have such a vibrant partner environment,” Bakhtiar said.
There was the debut of the Virtual Live Remote Production Partner Acceleration Initiative for Media, with the goal of expediting AWS customers’ and partners’ journey to realising their live production in the cloud dreams. Eight AWS partners, including Sony and the Associated Press (AP), are part of the initiative at launch, with more to come.
There was the launch of the AWS Media & Entertainment Competency Partners program, which helps the company’s customers accelerate their camera to screen journey to the cloud via the expertise of AWS Partners, highlighting companies that have a proven track-record of customer excellence, vetted use-cases, and validated cloud solutions.
There was the launch the free digital learning badge for Direct-to-Consumer and Broadcast Foundations, a learning plan created by AWS for M&E solution experts that educates executives, industry professionals, and technologists about the AWS services and best practices to apply to broadcast and D2C workflows in the cloud. By passing a digital assessment, professionals earn a badge verifying their competency as an AWS M&E Cloud Specialist in those solution areas. “We think it will move the industry forward,” Bakhtiar said. “People in this industry with 30, 40 years of experience, we can help them learn new skills.”
There was the unveiling of upgrades to Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS). There was a deep dive into why Sinclair chose AWS as its preferred cloud provider. There were highlights of how Avatar: The Way of Water, Everything Everywhere All at Once and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” leveraged AWS technologies. There was a progress report on the company’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.
AWS, indeed, put on a show at NAB.
Blu Digital Group
For digital media services and software supply chain specialist Blu Digital Group, it was all about cloud-based automation at NAB.
The company came in with the launch of BluQC, an industry first, cloud-based interactive QC solution featuring automation technology that allows organisations to conduct automated and manual reviews of media file packages (like linguistic and technical checks on video and localised audio and subtitles).
Offered as a complete cloud-based workflow environment through its enhanced proprietary interactive video player. Coupled with BluConductor, Blu Digital’s enterprise application that allows hundreds of users to work from a single interface, BluQC equips users with scheduling, assigning, version control, and API integration capabilities.
“Media operations teams have unique needs that standard off-the-shelf systems don’t address,” said George Rausch, chief product officer for Blu Digital Group, when the announcement was made. “Many software run automated QC checks, and even more tools that generate QC reports. But BluQC is the first solution that combines project management, QC reporting, enhanced media playback, and automation into one fully secure system, and completely in the cloud.”
BluQC gives operations teams the ability to review media files in the cloud with DRM, frame-accurate controls, and automated checks, and incorporates automated technical analysis of video, audio, and subtitle files, no human interaction required. Results can be reviewed using the BluQC online interactive UI.
BluQC users can also play back streaming video on up to four screens together for a fully in-sync review of multiple subtitle files.