By Taras Bugir, worldwide managing director, Media and Cable

Make a quick mental checklist of all the ways you receive news or entertainment content this week. Then, compare that to a list of the ways you received information just five years ago. The difference between the two lists is an immediate demonstration of how drastically the media landscape has evolved in recent years. Today, people have a steady stream of new methods and new devices to find a growing universe of programming content – through both legal and illegal means. These massive changes in the media industry have spurred companies to find new ways to deliver content to their audiences and establish new revenue streams. Cloud computing provides a cost-effective way for these companies to keep up with today’s content demands and also develop long-term strategies for capturing and maintaining loyal audiences of consumer and advertisers alike. Today, at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2012 conference, Microsoft – along with our partners - introduced new tools to help media companies ensure they stay both relevant and profitable in this new landscape.  

The new cloud-based Windows Azure Media Services is designed to make creating, managing and delivering media to any device easier than ever by offering a comprehensive set of ready-to-use first- and third-party media technologies. With Windows Azure Media Services, Microsoft gives content providers and media partners the nearly unlimited capacity of the cloud to cost-effectively handle a huge volume of digital media and make it available in the format that customers want, when they want it. Windows Azure Media Services’ ready-to-use services allow customers to simplify the creation of complex media workflows built on Microsoft Media Platform and third-party technologies.

Microsoft introduced the Broadcast Reference Architecture to help media companies make key business decisions and deliver technologies that allow them to transform their businesses and meet ravenous customer demand. Microsoft developed its comprehensive Broadcast Reference Architecture to outline the criteria for success in many different media markets and to help companies navigate specific business challenges, such as how to select new technology platforms they’ll use to engage with their audiences.

 The architecture offers a broad approach to managing all major aspects of today’s ultra-competitive media environment, including the following: 

  • Media business management, which provides media companies with guidance to make critical business decisions related to financials, logistics and resources to drive the success of creative endeavors as they delve into new channels.
  • Business intelligence for media and cable companies, which offers business insights for adapting content to ever-changing market and audiences demands.
  • Digital content management, which assists companies with decision-making to secure, preserve and transform content, from beginning to end of the content lifecycle.
  • Digital marketing and experiences, which support companies as they evaluate and select a variety of channels and devices to distribute content and services to consumers.

Using the Broadcast Reference Architecture, media companies can establish a way forward based on three key components: a clear vision for the future, a path to accelerate content delivery via new technologies, and a business development strategy for innovation and profitability now and in the future.

These new tools are designed to help media companies shape their future with new possibilities available in the cloud. For more guidance on transforming your media business, download the Broadcast Reference Architecture white paper or visit Windows Azure Media Services. More information about Microsoft’s presence at NAB 2012 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/telecom/media.aspx.