ZoneTV & Ooyala Team Up With Microsoft To Bring AI To TV Channels

ZoneTV & Ooyala Team Up With Microsoft To Bring AI To TV Channels
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ZoneTV has announced it will utilise media logistics tools from Ooyala and Video Indexer (part of Microsoft Cognitive Services) to automate the curation of content of a first-of-its-kind, customisable suite of linear TV channels, which launches this fall.

ZoneTV has licensed digital-first content which it will curate into specialised channels delivered to pay TV subscribers. For consumers, these channels will initially appear like any traditional linear channel, but ZoneTV’s unique service allows consumers to do more, combining linear, on-demand and customised choices into a new offering called ZoneTV Dynamic Channels.

The company’s ability to curate 6,000 hours of videos on the fly in these channels creates a unique and personalised experience for the consumer.

The content in the specialised channels will be presented in a consumer-friendly, easily discoverable way to viewers. ZoneTV will achieve this using the ZoneTV Programming Studio, which is integrated with Ooyala’s Flex CMS and with Microsoft’s Video Indexer to curate fine-tuned specialised channels.

The combination of these tools features advanced algorithms that characterise content; the platform automatically extracts and analyses metadata to identify video genre and content sentiment, pulls topics from speech and text, translates captions into multiple languages and integrates subscriber analytics.

This provides quick scalability for ZoneTV as it adds additional content, and reduces manual processes that can slow content curation and introduce errors in metadata translation and application.

ZoneTV CEO Jeff Weber said: “We’re building the next generation of pay TV services, so we need next-generation tools.

“With the combination of Ooyala’s platform and Microsoft Cognitive Services, the ZoneTV Programming Studio delivers an unmatched capability to enhance the TV ecosystem and translates into a one-of-a-kind viewer experience.”

Jonathan Huberman, CEO of Ooyala, said: “Ooyala puts a premium on collaboration, which is what our integrated video platform solutions are all about. To be the bridge bringing Microsoft AI innovation to ZoneTV, an exciting North American programmer, is putting us at the centre of reshaping TV for tomorrow.”

In addition, ZoneTV will utilize Ooyala’s Flex Platform (the company’s versatile and customisable solution for video production and distribution workflows) for its end-to-end video workflow for both new specialised channels and its VOD assets.

Flex runs on Microsoft Azure Media Services and can transform assets into any format for distribution to any device with Ooyala’s video platform; and it automates transcoding, packaging and syndication, which gets content in front of audiences faster.

Ooyala Flex is the only workflow tool which can be 100 per cent cloud-hosted, freeing up space in an affiliate’s data centre.

The collaboration features a full-featured workflow solution with both operational dashboards, as well as creative dashboards to allow efficient editing, content review and metadata entry.

Sudheer Sirivara, general manager of enterprise video at Microsoft Corp, said ZoneTV shows what Microsoft Cognitive Services can do for TV programming.

“By integrating their content with Microsoft Azure, they can leverage Azure Media Analytics and Ooyala Flex for automated content indexing potentially driving more value for ZoneTV affiliates and subscribers,” he said.

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