Amazon Web Services Inc. is stepping up its video production capabilities as it bids to become the platform of choice for companies focused on creating video-based content.
The company announced early Monday at itsAWS re:Invent eventin Las Vegas that it’s expanding the scope of its popular AWS Elemental Media Services suite with five new services designed to enable the end-to-end processing of video content. They’re among the first of many new services and features expected to be introduced at what has become one of technology’s most important events.
AWS Elemental Media Services is Amazon’s software suite for executing video processing and delivery workflows. The service, which was created after Amazon acquired Elemental Technologies Inc. in September 2015, allows content creators to quickly, easily and economically scale and optimize video operations ready for distribution. The main idea is to make high-quality video content creation more accessible by eliminating the need to invest in expensive production equipment and software.
With the updates announced today, Amazon is delivering new capabilities that enable customers to create what it calls “end-to-end” workflows for creating live and on-demand video that can quickly and easily be distributed across a range of platforms, including connected TVs, set-top boxes, smartphones and tablets. The new services also give customers the ability to integrate personalized advertisements into their video content, providing them with an additional way to drive revenue.
They include AWS Elemental MediaConvert, which enables video-on-demand content to be formatted and compressed for easy delivery to just about any device. MediaConvert also features high-quality video transcoding and broadcast-level features. AWS Elemental MediaLive, meanwhile, is designed for broadcasters to encode live video for TV and other devices such as smartphones. With the new service, broadcasters can easily deliver live video content to their viewers.
Complementing these are the AWS Elemental MediaPackage service, which enables live video streams to Internet devices with rich playback features. Then there’s the AWS Elemental MediaStore, which enables easy delivery of video from high-performance storage media, the company said.
Using these services, Amazon reckons that video content creators can complete projects such as standing up 24/7 live broadcasts or converting video-on-demand libraries into assets ready for distribution in a matter of minutes. Previously, such projects were a mammoth undertaking that took “months or years,” Amazon said.
On top of these services, Amazon also announced its new AWS Elemental MediaTailor service, which is a piece of software that allows users to insert personalized ads into their videos.
Essentially what Amazon is doing is making it possible for anyone to create premium-quality video content by removing the need to invest in extremely expensive infrastructure, explained Alex Dunlap, general manager at AWS Elemental.
“For the better part of six decades, professional grade video workflows were limited to a few major industry players who could afford to build and maintain customized infrastructure that would be updated only once or twice each decade,” Dunlap said. “We built AWS Elemental Media Services to let customers focus on delivering top-quality video reliably to any device, everywhere, without the undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing infrastructure. This not only helps traditional video providers innovate faster, but it also opens up new opportunities for startups, government agencies, schools, and multinational enterprises that, before today, had limited access to premium-quality video technology.”
The new features in AWS Elemental Media Services have already been in trials at a number of major media companies, including British Telecommunications plc., FOX SPORTS Australia Pty Ltd., and Amazon’s own Amazon Prime on-demand TV service.
“AWS Elemental has played a key role in our TV and Sport platform evolution over the past few years,” said Ian Parr, BT’s director of TV and broadband infrastructure. “The new AWS Elemental Media Services are a natural extension of media workflows to the cloud. The ease of use of these AWS console-based services for end-to-end workflows will provide a level of flexibility and efficiency that will be a game changer for our industry while providing a flexible option that can coexist with legacy on-premises live and on-demand infrastructures deployments.”