Tag: Media

Sold on SSAI

Sold on SSAI

This article originally appeared in FEED Magazine, Issue 12.

Server-side ad insertion is becoming a more valuable way of delivering advertising – and with cloud-based tools, one that’s becoming easier to implement

The great benefit of targeted advertising is the ability to offer the viewer something that is going to be attuned to his or her interests useful. Cloud-based technologies are enabling better methods for targeting messaging and for making sure that messaging gets to the right person.

The difference between traditional and targeted ad delivery environments is the shift from the collective viewing experience of broadcast TV to one centered around the viewer and their personal devices. The personal experience is highly tuned to the time and place the individual determines is right for them rather than the scheduling system of the broadcaster.

Poor implementations of ad-targeting, with a bad quality of experience (QoE) and poor video quality, degrade that personalised experience. For linear TV, the rise of DVRs created a generation of ad-skipping consumers. In the internet world, there is a cat and mouse game between video providers and consumers, with viewers finding ever more creative tools for circumventing ads, including ad-blockers.

The goal is to devise an architecture that enables the management of premium-priced targeted advertising within individual video delivery paths, which can provide clear delivery metrics, protect against ad blocking and maintain a consistent quality of experience for the consumer. This provides a higher QoE for audiences, as well as relevant ad content so less incentive to block. There are a host of technologies enabling this transformation being refined all the time.


Insertion markers: adverts are rarely hard-coded into a programme’s source video. Instead, the video includes markers that indicate where advertising can be placed. A special splicing marker is inserted into the compressed video information to signal the start and stop points for an ad break, based on a standard called SCTE 35. These markers are designed to be preserved through each successive step in the video processing workflow and enable frame-accurate splicing between video stream sources and ad material.

Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) Streaming: ABR divides actual video stream into a series of short segments described by a distinct manifest file. Each segment is complete in itself and made available in a range of bit rates to create different segment file sizes. The consumer’s video player’s actions are driven by interpretation of the manifest file and the relationship of available video delivery bandwidth to the bit rates of the video segments. The power of this approach comes from the additional information that can be included in the manifest file, opening the possibility for playing alternative video segments at the insertion markers – and without breaking the integrity of the video rendering.

Ad decisioning: the video stream’s insertion markers become the triggers to not only insert ad content, but evaluate what content should be inserted. This evaluation role is designated to a service external to the video processing architecture, known as an Ad Decision Server (ADS).

The ad insertion marker initiates a protocol exchange defined by a standard known as video ad serving template (VAST). This is complemented by the video multiple ad playlist (VMAP), and the video player ad-serving interface definition (VPAID) protocol. These ad serving protocols are all maintained and published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

When an insertion mark is detected in the stream, available client information is sent to the ADS to determine which ad to insert. Parameters used for ad selection could be as basic as the location of the requesting device, determined by its IP address, or could be far more detailed and personalised if the viewer happens to be signed in on a client device or has prior tracked web activity. The ADS responds with the ad information and with tracking beacons for reporting ad impressions.

Cloud DVR and Trick Play: audiences expect advanced features from OTT providers, including time-shifted, start-over and catch-up TV. This offers advertisers prolonged content availability and opportunities to refresh targeted advertising so ads remain relevant. An ad for a promotion that ends on a specific day of the month, for example, runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. It is important that video operators have the ability to replace this specific ad when the new month starts, to ensure relevance and to continue generating revenue.

Delivery reporting: the business end of digital advertising depends upon counting ‘impressions’, discrete consumer views reported from the client to the player.

If there is no way to positively confirm that an advertisement has been played on a specific device, then no money is due from the advertiser to the service provider.

In fact, the more detail that can be collected on the viewing profile of a given advert, the more potential value the impression will command. Reporting mechanisms depend on beacons generated in the video playback process that indicate partial or completed viewing of the advert. The triggers for the beacons are part of the data inserted into the stream by the ADS. The beacon process is designed to be transparent to actual video viewing.


Initial implementations of targeted advertising were built substantially around client player functionality. This is client-side ad insertion (CSAI). Incentives to adopt this approach were the increasing sophistication of client video players, the scalability of the solution and the potential for enhanced interactivity.

More recently, video services have shifted their focus to added functionality in server-side subsystems – often cloud-based. The impact of this change on advertising is a new consideration of the merits of server-side ad insertion (SSAI). Unlike the CSAI model, in SSAI the call to the ADS is done upstream of the CDN and delivery to the client. The ADS call is triggered by the same ad insertion markers, but these markers are detected by the server-side video pipeline.

SSAI processing creates a single, packaged stream that contains program and advertising content deliverable to clients, with each client seeing a personalised manifest file. This format simplifies the requirements of the player at the target device, which enables lighter-weight apps and reduced demands on web players. This, in turn, means a service can be deployed faster because there is no need to develop and maintain player technology for each and every platform and operating system.

Typically for SSAI, it becomes the responsibility of the video service to create the reporting and metrics on delivered advertising. There are some nuances to this in individual implementations, but overall the approach can prove less vulnerable to ad blocking.


Amazon Web Services provides support for complete ad insertion workflows. For SSAI, AWS Elemental processes content for delivery in a mezzanine format. At this stage, the source video should have the SCTE 35 ad insertion markers added by the source content provider embedded in the feed. If it does not, these insertion markers can be programmatically inserted at this stage by AWS Elemental using an API interface.

The compressed mezzanine stream is sent to AWS Elemental MediaLive, which compresses the live video to the adaptive bitrate streams designed to play back on client devices. MediaLive uses ad cue markers to ensure the output streams have manifests that retain the start and end of the potential ad breaks. MediaLive uses the ad cue markers to put an instantaneous decoder refresh (IDR) frame into the encoded output after the ad break is complete, so audiences get a broadcast-like experience when streams switch between ad and primary content.

The ABR encoded streams and the manifest with ad markers are published to AWS Elemental MediaPackage, a just-in-time packaging and origination service that prepares video for delivery over the internet. AWS Elemental MediaPackage creates a templated manifest for the personalisation and monetisation service AWS Elemental MediaTailor.

These templated manifests include discontinuity tags at the start of ad breaks to identify start and duration of the potential insertion. AWS Elemental MediaTailor is then brought into the workflow as the origin point for the personalised manifests, receiving targeted information from a client device at each ad break, which it uses to make a request to an ADS. The ADS responds with the ad selection for that particular viewer at that time, as well as information tracking how impressions will be measured and reported for that ad insertion.

The ADS response includes a reference to a high-quality mezzanine version of the ad that MediaTailor can use as a source to transcode to ABR segments that match the format, resolution and bit rate of the viewer’s primary content. This ensures audiences don’t see any jarring transitions in quality or aspect ratio when switching to and from ad content.

Pointers to the compressed ad content are stitched into the final manifest file. Even though the ad segments are not originated from AWS Elemental MediaPackage like the primary content stream, they are delivered using the same CDN host names. MediaTailor ensures the manifest contains both content and ad video references that are structured in the same way and play back without buffering discontinuities.

Reporting ad impressions is a vital part of monetisation. AWS Elemental MediaTailor offers server-side ad impression reporting by default, using Amazon CloudWatch logs and Amazon metrics to determine impressions. An API enables clients to determine where ad breaks occur and supports client-side reporting, as well as any advanced playback features such as ad timer countdowns or disabling scrubbing for ads with on-demand content.

SCALING UPWith its cloud-based video-streaming platform, powered by AWS and AWS Elemental, Amazon Prime Video streamed 11 NFL games to a total of 18.4 million football fans in 224 countries and territories across the globe during the 2017 NFL regular season. Fans watched the games via the Amazon Prime Video app on more than 600 types of TVs, mobile devices, game consoles, set-top boxes, and connected devices. The average minute audience (AMA) watching games for at least 30 seconds was more than 310,000, with those viewers watching an average of 63 minutes per game. Amazon Prime Video offered its own live commentary in three languages and streamed live commentary from the broadcaster in US English.

Amazon Prime Video used MediaTailor to insert ads in real time, based on which region viewers were in. Amazon Video also used Amazon Kinesis as part of its infrastructure to collect quality-of-service metrics from devices worldwide. MediaTailor surfaced ad-viewing data to Amazon Video systems, which then reported the data to advertising partners.

After a successful experience streaming NFL games, Amazon Prime Video streamed the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in November 2017 and recently launched CBS All Access, which gives Amazon Prime Video subscribers access to hundreds of live local channels across the United States. Winston says, “We have a lot of confidence in the AWS Cloud and AWS Elemental, and we look forward to using these technologies to broaden our reach in the future.

Targeted advertising offers huge benefits over static advertising with a cost per thousand impressions valued many times greater than static advertisement. Both CSAI and SSAI have been deployed successfully, but the potential for SSAI to improve QoE and mitigate blocking issues makes it an attractive alternative to prior technologies.

from AWS Media Blog

Washington Post: Arc Lights the Way for Digital

Washington Post: Arc Lights the Way for Digital

This article originally appeared in FEED Magazine, Issue 14.

One of the leading press institutions in the world, The Washington Post, has an impressive legacy of print newspapers. But the digital offerings it’s been developing over the last two decades also continue to break new ground – not only journalistically, but technologically.

As The Washington Post developed its online presence, it kept running into problems with vendor-provided systems for digital publishing that didn’t satisfy the needs of The Post’s journalists or technical teams. This was particularly the case when it came to some of the digital press workflows The Post newsrooms were transitioning to, which comprised a mix of not only of written, but also photo and video journalism.

The Washington Post’s head of product for Arc Publishing, Matt Monahan, explains: “We realised we had a first-rate engineering team that could sit with the journalists in our newsroom and focus on building something superior.”

That something superior is Arc Publishing, a digital publishing platform developed in-house at The Post, which is now being used widely by newspapers, institutions and, increasingly, broadcasters.

“It started out as an experiment,” continues Monahan. “When we launched Arc Publishing as a commercial offering four years ago, we began with university newspapers. Following this, we’ve grown to dozens of customers worldwide: broadcasters, news publishers, legacy and digital media, digital first news publishers. Today, we’re powering hundreds of sites worldwide, and video has become a really big piece of our portfolio.”

The Arc Publishing content management system (CMS) was designed for ease of use, with a userfriendly interface that accesses a suite of integrated digital tools. Ellipsis is a web-based digital storytelling tool for teams to create high-quality news and narrative content. The tool also anticipates multiple authors and editors working side-by-side. Anglerfish is Arc’s photo management system and offers control over image libraries, no matter the format, size or origin. Anglerfish includes the ability to automatically extract metadata, edit captions, location and photographer information and easily apply resizing and cropping. Arc’s video CMS, which has been getting more and more traction, is called Goldfish and has tools for enabling video version management, captioning, variant testing and coordination of different video streams across platforms.

Other tools include WebSked, a tool for scheduling, budgeting and newsroom planning; PageBuilder, a web page development tool; Bandito, a variant testing engine; and Darwin, a tool for testing a site’s UX by managing and running parallel A/B tests.

“These days, broadcasters representa significant portion of our growth,” says Monahan. “There are a number of features we’ve added over the past year that have a particular focus on broadcasters who are looking to make the transition to the digital space first. I think many of them were using vendor-provided CMSs, or something they built themselves that was poorly integrated with their broadcast systems. So digital was this sort of afterthought. It was a bolted-on component downstream from what they were working on in broadcast.”

At first, one of the product development areas Arc focused on was making it easier for live streams coming from a broadcast to be automatically converted into the requisite video on demand (VOD) clips, or clipped while streaming into VOD, which could then be used on a customer site.

“Previously, a lot of broadcasters had a workflow where they waited for the broadcast to finish, then had to wait to replicate the file from a broadcast system to digital system. It meant that whatever they were trying to publish online took place hours after the broadcast finished.”

Arc Publishing’s tools allow for live clipping of a live stream as it happens, including cropping the aspect ratio for delivery to different social platforms. The Washington Post had been a long-time partner of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which collaborated with them on building the new video tools. “What’s been good about that partnership is broadcasters were already speaking to AWS quite a bit”, says Monahan. “The company understood this idea of moving a lot of traditional broadcast workflows to the cloud. Then, with our tools, we’ve been able facilitate some of those new workflows using AWS Elemental Media Services, making it easy for producers working at a TV station to tell their stories and make updates a lot faster than they were previously.”

Arc is on the verge of shipping a number of new features, including script integration with broadcast systems, allowing producers to more easily create stories around their online video. Dynamic ad insertion will soon be available and, further down the line, features for live streaming from mobile applications, which will allow correspondents or remote producers to create live streamed content entirely within the platform.

“What we see quite a bit of is reporters who work for broadcast stations, out in the field, wanting to create a quick live stream separate from the broadcast segment they’re producing. At present, they reach for other platform’s tools, like Facebook Live. But our goal is to help our broadcast customers better monetise the video assets and have them produced natively on their own platforms,” says Monahan.

“AWS is a great partner to work with, and its specific products have been perfect for the work we’re trying to do. Especially at the beginning, with some of our use cases, we were bringing more usage and more users to AWS than it had previously had. AWS was great about stepping up and helping us work through those use cases, really scaling up the business.”

Learn more about the Washington Post in this case study.

from AWS Media Blog

AWS Partners Showcase Media Solutions and Innovation at IBC 2019 – Part 2 of 2

AWS Partners Showcase Media Solutions and Innovation at IBC 2019 – Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of this blog post, we identified 17 AWS partners showcasing products on the AWS stand (5.C80) at the annual IBC conference and exhibition at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam 13-17 September. In this post, we present the breadth and depth of AWS partner solutions to see across the show floor that help customers innovate and differentiate their new media workflows.

In addition to the 17 AWS Partner Network (APN) partners featured on the AWS stand (5.C80), 48 other AWS technology partners highlight solutions for machine learning, content creation, media supply chain, and content delivery at their respective stands throughout the RAI Convention Centre.

Featured Technology Partner Demonstrations

Learn how these APN partners help customers innovate to deploy media workloads in the cloud by leveraging a wide range of AWS services:

Accedo (14.F08) presents its live sports solution running on AWS, featuring API integration with AWS Elemental Media Services, to deliver high-quality, personalized user experiences and powerful AI-driven business intelligence.

Arvato Systems (3.B36) VPMS EditMate, running on Amazon EC2, is a simple, scalable Production Asset Management system (PAM) for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Bitmovin (14.E12) demonstrates how content owners can deliver targeted and personalized ads to nearly any viewing device using Bitmovin Player and AWS Elemental MediaTailor for server-side ad insertion.

Brightcove (5.69) features Brightcove Live, a broadcast-grade, cloud-based live-streaming solution using Amazon Elasticsearch, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon CloudFront services to elastically scale and stream live events to millions of viewers around the world.

castLabs (14.A14) demonstrates ultra-low latency live streaming using PRESTOplay video players, and how to secure content using its DRMtoday multi-DRM licensing service running on AWS.

Coralbay.tv (5.B48) features coralPlay, coralFlow, and coralMAM, cloud applications that use Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 for storage, workflow management, and playout of TV channels.

Crafter Software (Pods.P17) showcases Crafter CMS along with its native API integration with AWS Elemental Media Services and AWS AI/ML for building smart, personalized, multiscreen OTT video experiences.

Crystal (at Make.TV 14.A24) demonstrates how AdConnect delivers frame accurate markers for all ads in a linear feed to AWS Elemental MediaTailor with delivery using Amazon CloudFront for full inventory activation and personalized server-side ad insertion.

Dalet (8.B77) demonstrates Dalet Galaxy five and Ooyala Flex Media Platform, cloud services that use Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Container Service, and Amazon CloudFront to automate media preparation, storage, workflow management, and multi-platform distribution.

Dell Technologies (7.C39) shows nPVR capabilities using Dell EMC Isilon scale-out NAS with the InsysGO OTT platform from Insys Video Technologies and video processing and delivery software from AWS Elemental.

The EditShare (7.A35) “Cirrus Initiative” brings collaborative workflows to AWS, including Flow MAM and remote editing, QScan automated QC, and high-performance EFS media-engineered shared storage.

Evertz (1.D31 & 1.F29) showcases Mediator-X, Overture, and EVERTZ.IO, which use Amazon Aurora, EC2, and AWS Elemental MediaConnect to unify media and playout workflows to any broadcast, VOD, or OTT platform.

EZDRM (14.D09) demonstrates Universal DRM, a fully-managed DRM as a Service on AWS, with native SPEKE API integration for AWS Elemental MediaConvert and MediaPackage to protect VOD and live workflows.

Friend MTS (1.A58) shows its Distribution iD watermark service with AWS Elemental MediaConvert and AWS Elemental MediaLive, enabling content owners and broadcasters to identify the networks from which pirates are restreaming content.

Grass Valley (9.A01) demonstrates the format flexibility and creative freedom of EDIUS running on Amazon WorkSpaces with rapid XRE Transcoder showing quick, direct transcoding via Amazon S3.

GrayMeta (7.D25) showcases its ML/AI metadata services now integrated into the Iris QC platform, driving increased customer efficiencies leveraging Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Rekognition Video, and the Rekognition Video Moderation API.

iconik (7.D67) shows its video collaboration hub, iconik, which features API integration with Amazon Rekognition, Amazon S3, and AWS Elemental MediaConvert to enable global collaboration and sharing of media.

Interra Systems (7.C09) demonstrates ORION-OTT for end-to-end content monitoring of streaming media and BATON for automated, hybrid QC of file-based content, which are both interoperable with AWS Elemental MediaLive, MediaPackage, and MediaConvert.

Intertrust (5.A55) showcases the ExpressPlay DRM, a cloud-based multi-DRM service integrated with AWS Elemental MediaPackage using the SPEKE API, to secure both live and on-demand content workflows.

Irdeto (1.D51) showcases its Android TV app security, Wi-Fi management, and security for smart homes, and OTT security and media management solutions running on Amazon Web Services.

Kaltura (2.B41) features its Kaltura TV platform, running on Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3, including API integration with AWS Elemental Media Services, helping companies launch a robust and scalable cloud TV service.

Make.TV (14.A24) highlights how its cloud-based solution for live video makes it easy to rapidly acquire, curate, and deliver content at scale from any source to any destination via AWS.

Mjoll (8.C10) demonstrates Mimir, a video AI tool for journalists & editors with API integration featuring Amazon Rekognition Video to detect faces, celebrities, and labels, and Amazon Transcribe for speech-to-text.

NAGRA (1.C81) showcases end-to-end content monetization with OpenTV and scalable service protection with NAGRA’s security platform, NAGRA cloud.SSP, along with NexGuard watermarking and detection, Conax GO Live, and TVkey Cloud, all running on AWS.

Net Insight (1.B40) shows the new Nimbra 400 encoder and transport solution, enabling secure cloud ingest using standardized RIST (Reliable Internet Stream Transport), RTP, RTP FEC, and Zixi protocols with AWS Elemental MediaConnect to AWS Elemental MediaLive.

Object Matrix (6.C30) provides media focused hybrid architecture solutions for the global media industry. The solution set joins on-premises workflows and storage with Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier, with media asset management from ingest to archive.

Piksel shows how Fuse Metadata Manager is using AWS to modernize media supply chains and turn disparate datasets into powerful and coherent editorial content.

Pixit Media (7.D69) shows PixStor running on Amazon EC2, bringing scale-out high-performance NAS to AWS. PixStor enables caching for burst render and persistent storage for cloud-based workflows.

Qumulo (5.A15, 7.A55) delivers high-performance enterprise cloud file storage for editorial, rendering, and transcoding workflows, enabling burst to AWS to instantly scale compute, or move entire post production workflows to a complete CloudStudio.

Red Bee Media (14.D26) shows the Managed OTT platform for temporary events, Nucleus Media Management platform and Realtime Captioning, utilizing AWS Elemental Media Services, Amazon Lambda, and Amazon API Gateway.

Ross Video (11.C10) demonstrates its production workflow tools running on AWS including Inception, a browser-based newsroom computer system and social media manager; and Streamline, an asset and work order management system.

SDVI (14.H16) features its Rally Media Supply Chain Platform on AWS, which enables customers to rapidly respond to new business opportunities by dynamically deploying applications and infrastructure to provide technical agility and operational efficiency.

SeaChange (1.F68) demonstrates the Framework, a complete Video Delivery Platform providing linear, VOD, and TSTV with simplified content discovery using Amazon Personalize, Amazon S3, and Amazon EC2.

SES (1.B51) presents SES 360, a unified media platform running on AWS for managing and delivering linear and non-linear content to any broadcast, VOD or OTT platform

SHIFT (Pods.P10) demonstrates SHIFT, an API-based media management and secure video sharing platform, with integration to Amazon S3.

Signiant (14.B23) demonstrates how their SaaS solutions, Media Shuttle and Jet, are used by media companies to transfer media assets to AWS Elemental for video processing and delivery.

Singular (14.B08) showcases cloud-based graphic overlays for SDI, NDI, and IP workflows and dynamic player-side overlays using Amazon Rekognition Video machine learning and live content from AWS Elemental MediaLive.

Sony NMS (13.A10) showcases Ven.ue, a Media Supply Chain and OTT/e-Commerce solution, using Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 to automate storage, content processing, and to support VOD workflows.

StreamShark (14.A10) presents its encoder management solution to automate control of AWS Elemental Live across intranets and the internet via remote configuration, control, and turnkey live streaming to StreamShark and social destinations.

Touchstream‘s (14.A03) live demonstration includes StreamCAM, OTT ABR active live stream monitoring, and StreamE2E featuring cost-effective end-to-end monitoring that integrates any external data source.

Unified Streaming (14.H22) shows how to perform ad insertion for live and VOD streams with AWS Elemental MediaTailor and Unified Streaming software.

V-Nova (14.A07) showcases its technology running on AWS, providing next-generation video encoding for live and VOD with delivery to all devices via Amazon CloudFront.

Venera Technologies (7.A34) demonstrates the Quasar file-based QC and AWS Elemental MediaConvert transcoding, automating and simplifying digital media workflows in the cloud.

Verimatrix (5.A59) demonstrates API integration between its multi-DRM solution and the SPEKE API developed by AWS, eliminating the need for complex integrations between proprietary DRM APIs and ultimately accelerating deployment for video service providers.

aiWARE from Veritone (5.C24) leverages AWS machine learning to empower media customers to generate actionable insights and solve real-world challenges quickly and efficiently.

VisualOn (5.C40) demonstrates seamless server-side ad insertion, tracking, and business logic utilizing its HTML5+ Player leveraging API integration with AWS Elemental MediaTailor.

VITEC (7.C34) showcases its MGW Ace Encoder and MGW Diamond portable IP encoder compatible with AWS Elemental MediaLive, delivering a complete live broadcast streaming solution.

Zixi (14.F11) demonstrates its software and ZEN Master stream management control plane natively integrated with AWS Elemental MediaConnect, to provide the flexibility for media organizations to source, manage, and deliver live video over IP.

AWS also invites visitors to IBC to attend these informative events featuring APN technology and consulting partners. Registration is required to attend these events.

Fri, 13 September 2019

08:00 – 10:00 CEST DPP IBC IMF Breakfast Briefing at Soho House, Spuistraat 210, 1012VT, Amsterdam. The DPP IBC IMF Breakfast Briefing offers practical advice to organizations interested in adopting IMF for Broadcast & Online or developing tools that support the SMPTE TSP 2121 specification. With APN partners Deluxe, Adstream, and Ownzones.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

12:30 – 14:00 CEST IMF User Group “IMF 101” in the Emerald Room at the RAI Convention Centre. The IMF 101 session provides an overview of the uses cases and technology underlying the IMF standard, and a series of tutorials using some of the latest products on the market in the cloud and on-premises. With APN partners Ownzones, Dalet, and Venera Technologies.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

09:00 – 11:00 CEST Modern Content Creation Workflows Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam – South, George Gershwinlaan 101, 1082 MT, Amsterdam. Join Teradici to hear about Modern Content Creation Workflows using Teradici Virtual Workstations on AWS to unleash media creation for pre- and post-production scenarios enabling studio scalability and artists flexibility with up-to 4k content.

18:30 – 21:30 CEST DASH-IF Networking Event at the Heineken Experience, Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam. The DASH Industry Forum brings you an evening of networking to celebrate MPEG DASH – one of the most transformative standards driving the media industry today. Enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres, live DJs, demo tables and an open bar on the top floor of the Heineken Experience, while mingling with executives, architects and engineers from leading entertainment technology companies.

Monday, 16 September 2019

11:00 – 18:00 CEST IBC 2019 RIST Forum Lunch, Presentations, Panel Discussion, and Cocktail Hour in room G106 in the G-corridor, upstairs outside of hall 2 at the RAI Convention Centre. The RIST Forum hosts a full afternoon of free presentations and a panel, free lunch, as well as a complimentary cocktail hour featuring talks and panelists from AWS, APN partners Net Insight, Video Flow, and Zixi.

from AWS Media Blog

AWS Partners Showcase Media Solutions and Innovation at IBC 2019 – Part 1 of 2

AWS Partners Showcase Media Solutions and Innovation at IBC 2019 – Part 1 of 2

More than sixty members of the AWS Partner Network (APN) will demonstrate the innovation, breadth, and depth of media solutions that work with AWS services at the annual IBC conference and exhibition. The show takes place at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam, 13-17 September 2019. AWS will host more than a dozen APN partner kiosks on its stand (5.C80), while dozens of other APN partners will feature media solutions built on AWS across the show floor. Content creators, owners, and distributors use these solutions to deliver great viewing experiences to their customers.

Featured Partners on the AWS Stand

See AWS-enabled media solutions from twelve APN technology and consulting partners on AWS stand 5.C80:

Adstream – Aggregate, quality check, and distribute video advertising content across linear, over-the-top, and social channels with Adstream’s ONE product suite.

Accurate Player, powered by Codemill – A player-based approach for cloud QA and QC workflows using AWS microservices, ML metadata, audio analysis, annotation, review, and approvals.

Deluxe – Deluxe One connects the end-to-end content ecosystem, offering an innovative and seamless way to manage creation, localization, transformation, packaging, and delivery of content.

ftrack – ftrack simplifies production workflows and increases studio efficiency with project management, production tracking, and media review for creative teams.

Grabyo (also at 14.D18) – Showcasing the latest in cloud video production, including remote camera sync, frame accurate switching, and digital ad replacement and insertion.

Insys Video Technologies (also at Pods.P03) – Highlighting the new Insys Cloud Video Recorder plus Insys white-label OTT solutions, both integrated with AWS Media Services.

Levels Beyond – API Integration between Reach Engine and the AWS Media2Cloud solution helps customers migrate to the cloud and visualize AI-gathered metadata.

Meta Data Systems, Ltd – Meta is a cloud platform built on AWS that allows customers to manage editorial, technical, rights, and AI metadata about TV shows, movies, documentaries, games, and more.

Ownzones Entertainment Technologies (also at 1.BS18) – Instantly consolidate your media in the cloud and deliver it to any destination in the world with OWNZONES Connect.

Overcast HQ – Media asset management, collaboration, and machine learning tied together with an elegant UI to automate media workflows and streamline business processes.

Veset – Professional SaaS linear TV channel origination platform from content ingest to MAM and scheduling to playout and linear feed distribution.

Vidispine (also at 3.B36) – Vidispine provides a fully managed Media Supply Chain as a Service on AWS, including native API integration with Amazon Rekognition, AWS Elemental MediaConvert, and AWS Elemental MediaLive.

AWS will also showcase a combination of AWS services and partner solutions to create and simplify media workflows.

See how media customers can build a live streaming solution that combines You.i Engine One, a cross-platform app development SDK based on a single codebase from You.i TV (also at 14.H04); Nomad CMS, a content/asset management solution that uses AWS AI/ML services to automatically generate right asset metadata with video transcoding and external data integration for content publishing; together with AWS Elemental MediaLive, AWS Elemental MediaPackage, and Amazon CloudFront to deliver live content worldwide.

AWS will also highlight ultra-low latency live streaming using Videon Central (also at Pods.P49) EdgeCaster encoders to contribute streams to AWS Elemental MediaStore using chunked CMAF for HLS and DASH, with delivery via Amazon CloudFront and synchronized playback using NexPlayer (also at 14.H15) for customer use cases such as live sports, betting, and interactive entertainment.

In part 2 of this post, we will present forty-eight other AWS technology partners on the IBC show floor that will showcase solutions built on AWS or that work with AWS products or services.

from AWS Media Blog

MovieLabs releases The Evolution of Media Creation, a vision of content production in 2030

MovieLabs releases The Evolution of Media Creation, a vision of content production in 2030

MovieLabs and its member studios (Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Pictures and Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment) have published a white paper laying out a vision for the future of media creation technology some 10 years into the future. From the executive summery:

Within this document, MovieLabs and its member studios have laid out a bold vision for the future state of technology in filmmaking during the next 10 years, with a call to action for the industry to collaborate by appropriate means to achieve shared goals and continue to empower future storytellers and the creative community. We describe future technological advances that will enable seismic changes in media workflows with one objective in mind – to empower storytellers to tell more amazing stories while delivering at a speed and efficiency not possible today

AWS’s Media & Entertainment team had the opportunity to read the vision paper ahead of its publishing to provide our perspective. While the whole whitepaper is a great read, we particularly align with the ten foundational principles as laid out in the white paper:

  1. All assets are created or ingested straight into the cloud and do not need to be moved.
  2. Applications come to the media.
  3. Propagation and distribution of assets is a “publish” function.
  4. Archives are deep libraries with access policies matching speed, availability and security to the economics of the cloud.
  5. Preservation of digital assets includes the future means to access and edit them.
  6. Every individual on a project is identified and verified, and their access permissions are efficiently and consistently managed.
  7. All media creation happens in a highly secure environment that adapts rapidly to changing threats.
  8. Individual media elements are referenced, accessed, tracked and interrelated using a universal linking system.
  9. Media workflows are non-destructive and dynamically created using common interfaces, underlying data formats and metadata.
  10. Workflows are designed around real-time iteration and feedback.

MovieLabs invites stakeholders across the industry to read the white paper and work with them to deliver on the future of media creation and continue to empower some of the world’s best storytellers and the entire creative community.

Read the full Evolution of Media Creation from MovieLabs


from AWS Media Blog

SCTE 35-based Dynamic Ad Insertion for Live streaming with Unified Origin and AWS Elemental MediaTailor

SCTE 35-based Dynamic Ad Insertion for Live streaming with Unified Origin and AWS Elemental MediaTailor

Guest authored by: Unified Streaming

The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

By combining Unified Streaming’s Unified Origin for Live with AWS Elemental MediaTailor for server-side ad insertion, you can do DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion) for live OTT streams. This new solution is based on standard industry practices and relies on SCTE 35 markers to signal advertisement opportunities that MediaTailor uses to dynamically insert ads.

This new video monetization solution is the result of Unified Streaming and AWS Elemental engineers working closely together to integrate Unified Origin with AWS Elemental MediaTailor. The collaboration simplifies live stream monetization for existing Unified Origin customers who can now turn to MediaTailor to start receiving ad revenue.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor offers flexibility of implementation, a big advantage compared to alternatives that offer similar DAI solutions. Instead of enforcing an end-to-end closed ecosystem for ads, MediaTailor allows you the freedom to work with an ADS (Ad Decision Server) of your own choosing, enhancing the control you have over your monetization strategy and technical architecture.

MediaTailor’s server-side ad insertion offers improved viewer experience by matching ad quality to the existing content stream, removing buffering and providing a broadcast-grade quality of viewing experience. Since ads are stitched into the stream before the media is delivered to the client (video player), a high quality viewer experience is achieved with no differentiation between original content and ads.

A benefit of pairing Unified Origin with AWS Elemental MediaTailor is reducing complexity for the player that runs on the end-user device. They are no longer responsible for requesting and inserting the ads. Any player that works in a standards-based video streaming setup should work when DAI is implemented. This makes it easier to deliver an ad supported streaming service to the widest possible audience and range of devices.

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The SCTE 35 markers, that DAI for live streams relies on to signal ad opportunities, are standards based and widely used in the digital broadcast industry. They consist of metadata used to mark and signal information related to a certain timestamp or time range in a stream.

When adding DAI to a live streaming workflow, the DASH and HLS client manifests that Unified Origin generates are not served directly to the player on the end-user’s device. Although they could be used to play the stream, advertisements have not been inserted at this stage. With the DASH or HLS client manifests generated by Unified Origin as input, the ad insertion is completed by AWS Elemental MediaTailor’s manifest manipulation service.

MediaTailor inserts ads or other content at the points where Unified Origin has added the relevant SCTE 35 signaling. After ads are retrieved from the ADS, and transcoded to match the live stream, a reference to the ads is inserted into the manifest or playlist which is served to the end-user’s device. Then, in response to requests from the end-user’s device, Unified Origin will handle requests for media of the original stream, and ads are served by MediaTailor.

DAI with Unified Origin and AWS Elemental MediaTailor

SCTE 35-based Dynamic Ad Insertion workflow with AWS Elemental MediaTailor’s content replacement service and a CDN to cache and distribute the stream’s main content.

Customers can further enhance the monetization workflow by introducing a proxy server and a caching layer in front of both Unified Origin and MediaTailor to handle incoming requests, as well as one or more Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver the content as fast and efficiently as possible. Main content and ad content benefit from the caching that CDNs provide, and although the personalized manifest can not be cached, they can still benefit from the CDN’s efficient delivery.

Take it for a spin

If this short overview of dynamic ad insertion for live streaming has left you wanting more, you can check out Unified Streaming’s live demo to see a working example of the integration with AWS Elemental MediaTailor. Of course, you can also contact either AWS (use the contact us link, or live chat link on this page) or Unified Streaming directly to discuss any opportunities for implementing a DAI for live workflow in your own environment.

Finally, to those attending IBC 2019 this September, you’re more than welcome to visit both our stands to discuss your particular use case with one of our technical experts.
Unified Streaming: 14H.22
AWS: 5.C80

from AWS Media Blog

4K 4Charity Events Around the World Race to the Finish Line

4K 4Charity Events Around the World Race to the Finish Line

It’s time to get moving! Please join the nearly 10,000 people who have supported the 4K 4Charity Fun Run and taken an estimated 46 million steps to making positive change across our industry.

The 4K 4Charity Fun Run returns to IBC 2019, hosted on Saturday, September 14 at 7:30am in Amstelpark, Amsterdam. Proceeds raised through the event will benefit Technovation, a global education non-profit that empowers underrepresented young people to become innovators and leaders through engineering and technology. To register, visit: https://4k4charity.com/ibc

Now in its sixth year, this fun run/walk offers show attendees a healthy alternative to traditional networking while helping drive more equity for those people who are underrepresented across the tech industry. To date, 4K 4Charity Fun Run events around the world have raised more than $1 million in overall proceeds. One hundred percent of individual contributions from each event are donated directly to designated nonprofit beneficiaries.

Founded in 2014, the 4K 4Charity Fun Run Series is a 2.49-mile running and walking event held annually to raise awareness and financial support for global and local non-profits that support increased diversity and inclusion initiatives. 4K 4Charity events are also scheduled for SMPTE 2019 in Los Angeles and NAB 2020 in Las Vegas. The SMPTE run/walk will be hosted on October 23 in Elysian Park, with more details to come. Stay tuned for additional updates!

from AWS Media Blog

All M&E-related This is My Architecture videos in one place

All M&E-related This is My Architecture videos in one place

Want an in-depth look at how the most innovative media companies are solving tough problems?

Click here to check out all M&E-related This is My Architecture videos

From advertising and streaming analytics, to rendering in the cloud, to broadcast playout, and everything in between, hear from AWS M&E subject matter experts and customers about how they built their solutions on AWS.

from AWS Media Blog

Entertainment Partners: Studio Systems

Entertainment Partners: Studio Systems

This article originally appeared in FEED Magazine, Issue 13.

The most powerful thing in Hollywood isn’t technology or talent. It’s payroll.

“I know there’s a joke that there are no rocket scientists in Hollywood, but one of our co-founders was, in fact, a NASA rocket scientist,” says Ron Cogan, VP of Communications at industry payroll giant Entertainment Partners. “His brother was in casting and said ‘If you want to apply your software skills to our industry, you should know that there is no standard cost reporting tool that the industry uses. If you can crack that, you’d be set.’ So he came out to Hollywood and created the standard industry cost report and quickly realised wisely that the largest spend in production is labour. He thought, ‘If we can hook up some payroll component to this, that might be really synergistic.”

Studios loved the idea. In the production of a film there are many different fee structures, union regulations and specially negotiated contracts involved that processing payroll on a production by production basis is an accountancy nightmare. A TV series didn’t want to have to hire an actor, then terminate her, then hire her again, then terminate her and so on… they were happy to let Entertainment Partners deal with the entire headache.

The company grew, continuing to acquire production management resources, including Central Casting and the industry standard budgeting and scheduling software, Movie Magic, and it became 100% employee owned. When the founders retired in around 2002, Entertainment Partners was in a position to be the go-to solution for a host of behind-the-scenes processes, including developing a private insurance product which took a load off the studios who were concerned about the bureaucratic challenges posed by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“It was then we realised that the studios are looking to us to keep them compliant and, in fact, to modernise them,” says Cogan. “As much as technology has revolutionised the film industry, it is all contributing to what appears on screen. There are no development dollars going into revolutionising those back office processes that haven’t changed since the days of Cecil B. DeMille.”


Entertainment Partners decided to take up the task of digitising the operation of the industry’s back office systems, from time cards that crew can fill out on their smartphones to calculating carbon offsets for productions.

The need for flexibility, scalability and universal access meant a speedy adoption of cloud-based infrastructure. Initially these were built on Entertainment Partners’ own on-premises servers.

“In our private cloud, we had full control of everything. But as we scaled, it became more and more challenging,” says Darren Ehlers, Entertainment Partners’ SVP of Product Management. “To have the security and other requirements in place became more challenging to manage, and so we made the decision to migrate everything to AWS.” Entertainment Partners’ migration of its entire business to AWS cloud services took about nine months from start to finish.

“It went flawlessly. Our users saw no impact whatsoever,” continues Ehlers. “They left on a Sunday morning and came back on a Monday morning and off they went. They really didn’t notice a difference. In fact, they saw some performance improvements, which is great. Since then we’ve been able to deploy some security changes that we wanted to deploy, and we’ve added some capabilities for disaster recovery.”

Given the big studios’ deep concerns about information security, Entertainment Partners wondered if there would be any objections to the involvement of an offpremises third partner.

“We got no pushback from any of our clients,” says Ehlers. “In fact, a lot of them were happy that we were moving to AWS, away from our own private environment. Some of them had already adopted AWS, so they were comfortable with it. The perception seems to be that AWS is very secure in the market, and customers saw the move as an improvement in security.”


Entertainment Partners has been working hard to guarantee the studios a safe data environment. A leaked script, or even a call sheet, could wreck a shoot, not to mention the reams of contract and financial data generated by a production. Scenechronize was one of the first Entertainment Partners production tools that was placed fully into AWS.

Scenechronize is a cloud-based scheduling and production management platform that works across devices and houses every document generated by the production. Its capabilities include easy script breakdowns, slide creation, watermarking and sophisticated permissions management.

Entertainment Partners’ SmartAccounting is the product most recently being transitioned into an AWS environment. SmartAccounting manages the production accounting process through the whole life cycle of the production and then feeds into the payroll system that Entertainment Partners uses to pay out of.

“Scenechronize and SmartAccounting are the tools and products most used by our customers, and, of course, they’re the largest in the industry too,” says Martin Mazor, Entertainment Partners’ chief information security officer.

Having a system that approached zero downtime was also essential. “We wanted to go from a two-nine to four-nine availability metric: from 99% to 99.99% availability,” says Mazor. “And that fournine model, in the IT world, is an incredibly hard thing to do. A four-nine (99.99%) availability metric is saying you’ve got roughly five minutes of unplanned downtime a month. And we got there based on AWS’s auto-scaling capabilities and a multi-region model.

“To do that, not just the application, but the engineering of the product infrastructure itself has to be built around that four-nine model. For us, both Scenechronize and SmartAccounting are built in two regions in a parallel model. We’re using both US West and US East AWS data centres, and they replicate in real time between themselves. They’re also in two different data centres in each of those two regions. So we’re replicated into four data centres. A lot has to happen before a user is impacted.”

It looks like studio back office infrastructure really is moving on from the days of Cecil B. DeMille. But one Hollywood truism still remains unalterable: when a studio head tells you to make something work, it had better work – or else. Entertainment Partners is definitely making it work.

“All of this may seem like a bit of overkill in some situations,” admits Mazor, “but getting that 99.99 availability metric is paramount for us.

from AWS Media Blog

Inserting SCTE Markers with AWS Elemental MediaLive for Ad Insertion

Inserting SCTE Markers with AWS Elemental MediaLive for Ad Insertion

In this tutorial posted on GitHub, we show you how to insert SCTE markers using AWS Elemental MediaLive’s Python SDK and then insert ads into your live video stream using AWS Elemental MediaTailor.

To get started, you will spin up a MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage channel using the AWS Media Services simple live workflow template, also available on GitHub. Replace the default input used in the template with one provided that doesn’t have SCTE markers. Once the channel is up and running, the instructions walk you through creating a scheduled action to insert a splice insert into the MediaLive channel with a AWS Lambda function. You will then use the Amazon CloudWatch event scheduler to trigger the Lambda at a regular interval. Finally, you will create an AWS Elemental MediaTailor configuration to insert ads into the video stream where SCTE markers are present.

Check out the tutorial here:


from AWS Media Blog