Microsoft Azure for Industry Podcast

Entering a New Digital Age for Media with Microsoft

Episode Summary

In this episode we discuss how Azure and our partner ecosystem supports the media and communications industries including current applicable trends and technologies. And some of the tech is pretty amazing. 

Episode Notes

In this episode we discuss how Azure and our partner ecosystem supports the media and communications industries including current applicable trends and technologies. And some of the tech is pretty amazing. 

We cover the Azure services media and communications organizations find most valuable and the outcomes experienced by several partners and customers who have used them.

This episode mainly focuses on the Media & Entertainment industry.

SHOW LINKS

GUESTS

Bob De Haven

General Manager, Media and Communications Industries

Bob leads Microsoft’s growing voice in the media, entertainment, & telecommunications industry, providing customers with solutions that make a lasting impact, differentiate them in the marketplace, and transform their long-term success.

He leads Microsoft’s primary strategists with a visionary perspective for media, entertainment, & telco, combining the company mission & principles to act as a champion of digital transformation for industry customers.

Bob on LinkedIn
Bob’s Industry Blog

Jennifer Cooper

Director of Business Strategy, Media and Communications Industries

Jennifer Cooper is an experienced Digital Strategy and Business Development executive with demonstrated track record and history of working in Cloud, SaaS, Consumer Applications & Enterprise software. Deep expertise in Media, Communications, Advertising, Commerce and related industries. Strong Operating, Sales and Marketing leader. 

Jennifer on LinkedIn

HOSTS

Paul Maher is General Manager of the Industry Experiences Team at Microsoft. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

David Starr is a Principal Azure Solutions Architect in the Industry Experiences Team at Microsoft. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Episode Transcription

Paul Maher:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to our podcast today. And as always, we're going to kick off with a partner spotlight. And this week I have a great partner of the year for you.

David Starr:

Who's that, Paul?

Paul Maher:

So, it's upon the called Informatica. And so before we even talk about their solutions, get this: They have 21 offers you can buy in Azure marketplace right now. The key is the partnership with Microsoft. The products enable customers to simplify modernization of analytics to the cloud, accelerate digital transformation, and drive intelligent decision-making. Azure [inaudible 00:00:37] will serve as the new cloud based data warehouse and big data processing for this US-based business. This cloud-based solution provides the clients with the ability to easily scale new business needs in the future while providing things like high availability, elimination of on-premise maintenance tasks, and lower licensing costs.

David Starr:

So, it sounds like their products helped me get my data into the cloud faster and get meaningful analytics running on them right away. Sounds like a win for businesses who want to make sense out of their data swamps.

Paul Maher:

Yeah, David, that's a perfect way to put it. Their solutions are available in the Azure marketplace today. And with that, let's get on with the rest of our show.

David Starr:

Welcome to the Azure for Industry podcast. We're your hosts, David Starr and Paul Maher. In this podcast, you hear from thought leaders across various industries discussing technology trends and innovation. Sharing how Azure is helping transform business. You'll also hear directly from Microsoft thought leaders on how our products and services are meeting industry's continually evolving needs.

David Starr:

Hello, everyone. In this episode, we'll be discussing how Azure and our partner ecosystem supports the media and communication industries, including current applicable trends and technologies. And some of the tech is pretty amazing. We'll cover the Azure services, media and communication organizations, what they find most valuable, and the outcomes experienced by several partners and customers who've used them. Now, our episode today is mainly focused on the media and entertainment industries and our guests today will join us in a future episode to talk about telecommunications specifically. But for now I want to introduce Bob De Haven. Who's the general manager of worldwide media and communications for Microsoft. He's responsible for sales and marketing of Microsoft solutions and products for enterprises in the media and communications sectors.

David Starr:

Welcome, Bob, to the show.

Bob De Haven:

It's nice to be here. Thank you very much, David. It's a pleasure and look forward to a vibrant discussion today.

David Starr:

Absolutely. And we're also joined by Jen Cooper, who is the director of business strategy for media and communications at Microsoft. Welcome to you, Jen.

Jen Cooper:

Thank you so much, David. Really happy to be here.

Paul Maher:

So welcome to the show, Bob and Jen, I think we will have a vibrant and lively conversation. Let me kick things off. What would be super interesting, I think to start the podcast with, would be really, could you share your thoughts, Bob and Jen, on what are some of the interesting trends you are seeing around the media and communication industries? Things like market conditions and perceptions and also, I know from a Microsoft perspective, we have a perspective on really what we call the industry priorities scenarios as we think about the industry opportunity and how we can help. So, I'll split the questions up to both of you, but perhaps Jen, do you want to begin and then we'll hand over to you Bob?

Jen Cooper:

Certainly. Happy to do so. Thank you so much, Paul. Media and entertainment industry, very similar to other industries, has been undergoing some tremendous changes, not withstanding what is happening with COVID at the moment. The biggest change that we're seeing is the effect that COVID is having on remote work and in particular on production of content. A lot of that production has been shut down and a lot of our partners across the ecosystem are very eager for us to work with them and leverage the cloud technologies and collaboration technologies to actually help people get back to work.

Jen Cooper:

So, as we think about how we can solve for those issues at the moment, and what is driving a lot of the transformation in media and entertainment right now, is guided by our point of view across the priority scenarios that we're seeing emerge, as we say left, or right. We're working with customers to help them accelerate this set of capabilities. By leveraging the cloud, our customers can begin to resume some of the normalcy in the production capabilities as they bring the global workforces together in these trying times.

Jen Cooper:

Our first priority scenarios is helping them accelerate that production. As the creative collaboration comes together, we see the need to deliver that content across every platform and every format. We call that delivery from camera to blast. And so, as we think about optimizing the delivery, things like understanding your audience, how to personalize those experiences, how to monetize those experiences, come into focus. So, our priority scenarios summarized then are: Focusing with our customers in accelerating content production, helping them to modernize collaboration, helping them think about optimized delivery. And then by harnessing the power of audience intelligence, monetize those experiences as they come through on every glass and every format. A lofty goal, but we're very happy to be on this journey with our media customers.

Paul Maher:

Thanks so much, Jen. And then Bob, same question to you.

Bob De Haven:

I'd be happy to, obviously COVID has become the new chief innovation officer for most of the world right now. And as people have retreated to working from home, there's been a fundamental increase in productivity over that period. And that's largely been enabled by the telcos and by the carriers of the world. So, there's this rapidly evolving customer needs where they need to get network access out to the suburbs so that they can control traffic volume. They need to be able to align their customers to specific outcomes, whether that be quality of service, video calls, voiceover IP, these kinds of things have turned the telco space into the hero industry that's kept most of these economies, afloat.

Bob De Haven:

Remarkably, most of the global stock markets bounce back rather quickly once the, the initial impact of COVID hit. And it's really quite remarkable if you think about that kind of volume, the whole world, going home for four months, business effectively stopping the way we used to do things, with minimal impact on productivity. In fact, an increase in productivity, and that's largely been underpinned by the carriers in that space. So, I put that in the frame of tech intensity, data intensity, the carriers have become so critical to that tech intensity effort and their partnership with the global carriers has also led to a rather successful rebound and a go forward strategy.

Bob De Haven:

And it appears like COVID is going to be with us for a lot longer than any of us had originally thought, which means there's a dramatic acceleration of transformation across all industries. And the carriers are the key linchpin in making that happen. The industry scenarios that we're driving are modernizing the effect of workplace, things like teams and Office 365 or Microsoft 365 to make things happen easier, bringing AI and all that technology into business support systems to streamline operations and allow carriers to do things like distribute network from a website so that it doesn't require a ton of personnel to be involved in in that transaction. And all of this leading to transform customer experiences so that we don't miss a beat like we haven't in the middle of COVID.

Bob De Haven:

So, those are the biggest issues I see going on in the telco space, in addition to the physical network changes that are happening with 5G. We're going from a fundamental technology of 4G, which was obviously voice and data at an extreme rate, and now we're jumping that exponentially to a 5G environment where things like latency will effectively go away. And so you'll be able to do more with your existing devices than you could in the past.

Paul Maher:

Thanks, Bob. So, we've seen a surge of companies moving to the cloud lately in media and communications. Can you talk a little bit about what that looks like and maybe share some stories?

Jen Cooper:

Certainly. What we're seeing with respect to more media and entertainment companies moving to the cloud, there has been a big surge of companies, and media companies obviously as enterprises, have been looking to move their CapEx to their OPEX. But we've also seen a surge of consumer demand driving content availability everywhere. Your mobile device is now your TV. So wherever you are, the consumer expectation has been, "I need to make sure that I have content availability wherever I am, whenever I need to be able to consume it." So, media companies, studios, and broadcasters, news and sports organizations, have been for quite a while thinking about how to adapt to that consumer requirement.

Jen Cooper:

So, a lot of companies have started to think about how they change their consumer relationship from just serving content on linear television or just serving content in physical venues like theaters, for instance. How do they bring the digital ecosystems together to support consumer demand?

Jen Cooper:

So, before COVID hit, we've seen a big surge of direct to consumer services by every media company. Not just on streaming video, but also to redefine that relationship with the brand to come a lot closer to the consumer themselves. And obviously when COVID hit, and when there was no more immediate opportunity for physical interaction in sports venues or music venues, or even live television for reality content then becomes available those at the theatrical output production, but also for television, for scripted drama, all the way downstream to every place where the content owner wants to monetize content becomes much more streamlined.

David Starr:

To reiterate, our partner ecosystem is really important to here at Microsoft, as you pointed out Jen. And as regular listeners of the show will know, the Azure marketplace and app source, a home basis for some of our most preeminent partners, are very important to us. And I've gone out and looked at many of the solutions that are available in Azure marketplace and app source for media and communications. And there are several out there that can be purchased today. Aside from that, Jen, I wonder if you could speak to some of the partners who are important of mind for you?

Jen Cooper:

We think about the workloads and the actual value chain, left to right. So, at the beginning, there's the content creation process, the very, very creative camera to screen approach. So, to help us there, we've partnered with both Avid and Technicolor. So, Avid obviously is on the forefront of content production, content editorial for news organizations, for broadcast organizations all across the globe. And they have been a staple and a very strategic partner for us as a lot of these broadcast organizations have been moving to the cloud.

Jen Cooper:

And Technicolor obviously has been synonymous with amazing movie-making with amazing post-production video effects, amazing work that they've done and many, many Oscars to their credit. And so what they have realized as well, to keep pace with this innovation and specifically to accommodate their global workforce, they too have moved a lot of their workloads to the cloud. And so we consider Technicolor a very strategic partner in content production.

Jen Cooper:

And of course, as we think about how content is created, how then it is delivered both in the studio, then how does it reach all of us as consumers? So, our partner Media Kind is an expert in taking that video, packaging it up, encoding it and transcoding it so it is available on every device, every format, everywhere. So, we really think about our ecosystem of partners as a critical component to deliver this great left to right value to our media and entertainment customers. All the way from content creation, all the way down to monetization and delivery on every device. Really seen to every screen.

David Starr:

And now let's take a moment out for this very important message.

Osbourne:

Hi, Karen, what are you up to?

Karen:

Hi Osbourne, I'm looking into publishing our solutions on the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace.

Osbourne:

The what?

Karen:

The Microsoft Commercial Marketplace. It's an on-demand software marketplace that allows us to publish Azure based solutions into Microsoft's online product catalog.

Osbourne:

But we are doing just fine selling our products the way we've been doing for years. Why bother?

Karen:

You're right, we're doing really well. But the marketplace can help us do even better. This is an additional sales channel for finding new customers and growing revenue by leveraging Microsoft sales and marketing resources and who doesn't want to grow revenue?

Osbourne:

Okay. Now I'm interested. How does it work?

Karen:

When you publish a solution in the online marketplace, you're gaining global distribution pretty much overnight. New customers can discover our solutions and try them and buy them with confidence. It can simplify purchasing because customers can just add it to their existing Microsoft bill. It can even shorten our sales cycle by leveraging the Microsoft's existing relationships.

Osbourne:

It sounds like a win-win for our customers and for us.

Karen:

I agree. By selling through the marketplace, we can get to Azure IP co-sell status faster.

Osbourne:

Now, what is co-sell status?

Karen:

When your solution is Azure co-sell certified, Microsoft sellers are incentive to sell our solutions as if they were Microsoft's. Imagine that. Plus Microsoft is investing heavily in this marketplace and adding incentives for customers to purchase the solutions they need. So, it will be a competitive advantage to have our solutions on there.

Osbourne:

Well, it's like a no brainer to me. What do we do next?

Karen:

It looks like this page, aka.ms/marketplace, is a good place to start. I'll get right on it.

Paul Maher:

So are there any stories, Jen and Bob, that you can share? The initiatives, perhaps, you've been involved in internally at Microsoft? Or work that perhaps you've been involved with our customers or partners related to COVID-19? I'm sure our listeners would love to hear.

Jen Cooper:

Certainly. As we've been talking throughout this podcast, COVID has had a profound effect on media and entertainment with respect to content production, theatrical content production, as well as episodic and television. But what we have seen, the resilience around innovation, and Bob mentioned this at the top of the podcast, COVID has become the chief innovation officer in every single industry. For us in media and entertainment, we're seeing several examples that I'll talk about. One, what has happened with live sports events? What has happened with live press conferences? What has happened with live music experiences? The show must go on, as we say in media and entertainment. However, there are no audiences.

Jen Cooper:

So, what have we had to do with our customers? We've had to be innovative. We've had to reinvent our collaboration technology. And so if you, like Bob and I, are sports fans and are watching the NBA, we've created a strategic partnership with the NBA where they have been as innovative with us as we have been able to innovate with them. Our collaboration technology Microsoft Teams has been redefined to actually put people digitally in the stadium seats.

Jen Cooper:

We've had to create a feature that we're calling together mode that has evolved out of the necessity to help customers like the NBA to have folks digitally participating in such a tremendous experience as a live sports event. Interestingly enough, the iHeart Radio organization has taken that on and for their live, or semi live performances where they can't have audiences either, they've taken that same page from that playbook and they've delivered using Microsoft Teams.

Jen Cooper:

Music events, they're going to continue to deliver those as we continue to work with them. And what is also interesting is we have had folks come to us from education where we're helping folks get back to school, get back to work. Even in the media and entertainment world, Bob and I were recently speaking with some media executives who are using our Microsoft technology to look at facilities management. How Microsoft AI, how our collaboration technology, like what is happening for live sports and entertainment, how that is transporting into helping folks get back to work, how they're able to leverage data and AI to actually track contact, how they're able to log themselves in. So, COVID literally has been redefined as the chief innovation officer, and we're seeing a lot of amazing innovation across sports, entertainment, and also in the return to work initiatives that we have across the industries.

Paul Maher:

Thanks, Jen. I love that. COVID-19 as a new chief innovation officer. Bob, anything to add from your side?

Bob De Haven:

I'll give you a couple of high level scenarios that we've seen over the past four or five months. One enterprise, and then one consumer. The enterprise one is the obvious one that we've all been seeing around and that is the pure volume increase of video conference calls. We obviously use Teams in most of the enterprises around the world. It's fairly well deployed across most large companies and the volumes that were experienced in March and April were 1200% of what we had ever seen before.

Bob De Haven:

And our partner carriers ran out of capacity and we needed to take core Azure data center capacity and loan it to some of our carrier friends to help them get through some of that stuff. And what was so neat about that is that we had the relationships, we had the networks established, and that we were able to do that in such a way that the consumers or the enterprises didn't even realize what was going on behind the scenes and it was a remarkable partnership. One of the things that came out of it is that the carriers have been recognized as the hero industry that kept business afloat and kept stock markets afloat and kept people working in the middle of a global pandemic.

Bob De Haven:

On the consumer side, we saw the advent of gaming pick up precipitously in the middle of March and April timeframes. And several of our new customers came to Azure to help run database loads or gaming loads in some of our remote data centers in India, some of our remote data centers in Southeastern Asia. And we were able to swap some of those loads across regions, pretty effectively to keep the gamers active and to keep people happy in that space. The carriers, obviously, were very grateful for that. And the global cloud providers have stepped up and it's a unique combination. It just shows you how different the world can be and how we had architected these data centers around the globe to be able to handle a load increase like that when when it wasn't anticipated. So, that's probably the best two stories I have to articulate around that.

Paul Maher:

Awesome. Thanks, Bob.

David Starr:

It's time to wind down a little bit. And before we do, I'd like to offer the opportunity to our listeners to learn a little bit more about your team and your team's work and maybe some resources they might go to to learn about that. And Bob, I wonder if you could mention just a couple of things that maybe we can link up in the show notes and people might follow up with.

Bob De Haven:

That'd be marvelous, David, thank you. We've got a number of sites out there. The best one is probably our Microsoft media and communications website. You'll find the address, I assume somehow embedded in this. Most of the content is available there from scenarios, case studies, videos, success stories, things of that nature. There's a significant amount of detail on the whole edge space and the evolving core networks that Microsoft is beginning conversations based on some of the acquisitions we made over the summer. So, there's a ton of content available on those websites and we'd be happy to have you all click in and take a look at some of that stuff.

David Starr:

And then I understand there's actually an event, Microsoft media and entertainment summit. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Jen Cooper:

So, with all the large events digital this year, NAB, which is a core global event, the National Association of Broadcasters, which was supposed to have taken place last April, did not take place in Vegas. Instead, it took place digitally. So, the media and entertainment summit is a combination of videos, keynote discussions, demos, articles, and information that we pulled together to create a digital venue for our media and entertainment customers, partners and press and others to come and actually have an alternative experience. There are a lot of really, really interesting interviews there and we are continuing to add more and more content as new shows go digital as well.

David Starr:

Bob, thank you so much for being on the show and Jen, you too. It's been a really great conversation.

Jen Cooper:

You're welcome.

Bob De Haven:

Thank you. We really enjoyed it. Thank you for the invite.

Jen Cooper:

Indeed. Thank you everybody.

David Starr:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Azure for Industry Podcast. The show that explores how industry experts are transforming our world with Azure. For show topic recommendations or other feedback, reach out to us at industrypodcast@microsoft.com.