Azure Media Services expands with new services and partnerships

Kareem Anderson

Beyond offering enterprise solutions, Microsoft’s cloud technologies are being explored by governments, law enforcement, healthcare, education and more recently, the media and cable industries.
At IBC in Amsterdam this week, the discussion of media companies adopting cloud-based strategies stood center stage. More media and cable companies are finding benefits of offloading processing and management of live events, content management, editorial collaborations, audience analytics and ad scheduling to the cloud.
Microsoft took the opportunity at this year’s International Broadcasting Convention to further nail home the importance of cloud technology in the industry as well as announce new services, certifications, and partnerships it has been working on.
According to Sudheer Sirivara, the director of Azure Media Services, Microsoft’s new cloud technologies include:
Live Encoding, which allows customers to send a single bitrate live feed to Azure Media Services. The feed is then encoded into an adaptive bitrate stream and delivered using a broad range of clients such as MPEG-DASH, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Apple HLS or Adobe HDS formats.
Live Sub-clipping and archive extraction are also at customers disposal. Using sub-clipping customers can now take portions of a live stream and begin producing new on-demand assets.
Microsoft has also added support for Google Widevine Modular DRM dynamic packaging. The new update comes alongside Microsoft’s already AES 128-bit clear key encryption and PlayReady DRM content protection services. A new set of partnerships with EZDRM and Axinom also help enable customers to deliver their new Widevine licenses to their devices and browsers as well as delivering packaged multi-DRM streams that use Common Encryption (CENC).
Other new Azure features include Expanded reach for Azure Media Player and Custom Language Models to Azure Media Indexer. Microsoft also showed off an upcoming feature at its IBC booth that would shorten the deployment time of ‘pop up’ channel solutions and channels designated for disaster recovery.
Lastly, Sirivara announced new certifications that are helping Azure gain momentum as a media solutions provider. Recently, Azure obtained Content and Security Associations (CDSA) Content Protection and Security Programs (CPS) certification. The new certification now positions Azure Media Services as the only hyper-scale cloud media solution provider in the market able to provide on-the-fly encryption of on-demand and live streaming broadcasts.
Coupled with the CDSA CPS certification as wells a host of expanding features, Microsoft’s push into media cloud streaming seems to be another sign of the company’s commitment to being everywhere customer need them to be.