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Avid Supports Al Jazeera Media Network On Its Journey To The Cloud

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With content distribution and consumption, and audience engagement expanding exponentially, media organizations have been forced to adapt to the rapid digitisation of the media value chain and, along with it, new audience control and operational advancements.

By taking advantage of new distribution and monetization capabilities, media organizations can connect with audiences in more powerful and profitable ways than ever before. As a result, they are deploying comprehensive cloud-based media production, whether on premise, in a private data center, in the public cloud, or a hybrid solution.

Among those moving to the cloud is international broadcaster Al Jazeera Media Network, who turned to Avid to roll out its hybrid cloud workflow, building upon its standardization on Avid's MediaCentral platform last year. This marks Avid's first hybrid cloud deployment after unveiling next-generation MediaCentral solutions and cloud-based apps and service offerings with Microsoft Azure at IBC2017.

"As an early adopter of cloud-based workflows, we're establishing a highly responsive and fluid global newsroom environment that better serves and engages viewers across all distribution platforms, including television, digital and mobile," said Mohamed Abuagla, Executive Director of Technology & Operations (CIO/CTO), Al Jazeera Media Network. "We're proving that Al Jazeera is leading the way in developing the newsroom of the future in partnership with Avid, ensuring that it will continue to capitalize on an open platform of common technologies with immense advantages to our journalist and productions teams."

Greater network connectivity and collaboration
Al Jazeera is among the world's largest news organizations with over 4,000 employees and 70 bureaus around the globe. In addition to gathering news in an ever-changing and often volatile world, its biggest challenge over the past few years has been to connect all of its bureaus and emerge as the first news outlet/broadcaster to break stories for its international multi-lingual audiences.

Al Jazeera chose Avid's MediaCentral to power its global virtual newsroom, a central part of its strategy to prioritize collaboration for faster story creation and time to market for its programs. Rolled out seamlessly across the entire enterprise, MediaCentral provides the structural base of Al Jazeera's hybrid cloud, creating a centralised, reliable, and accessible platform for the network's production teams, which in turn ensures a collaborative environment.

Retrieving content easily from the cloud enables Al Jazeera to rapidly assemble, enhance, and distribute productions across the network's television and online properties. Supported by MediaCentral's open, tightly integrated, and extensible infrastructure, Al Jazeera's journalists, newsgatherers, and affiliate bureaus gain immediate access through the cloud to a massive common repository of assets such as content, metadata, and news run-downs.

Extending media production to the cloud
Transitioning to the cloud – in the way that best suits Al Jazeera's unique operational realities – opens the opportunity to increase production capacity. Gaining licensing flexibility and business agility, Al Jazeera was able to align their deployed hybrid cloud solution with the needs of their production environment. By doing so, production teams and journalists can connect and collaborate from anywhere in the world, whether through a workstation, laptop, or mobile device – all while increasing efficiency across every facet of the media value chain.

Al Jazeera's hybrid cloud workflow helps overcome storage limitations and the geographical difficulties that come from being an international production hub. Benefitting from an integrated and unified workflow, the network's move to adopt a fully-scalable cloud solution ideally positions the company to address peaks in demand, whether anticipated or not.

"When media enterprises standardize on Avid tools and platforms, they are prepared to enter the media cloud era and elevate their creativity, delivery and monetization," said Jeff Rosica, President, Avid. "Al Jazeera is a perfect example of how cloud deployment of MediaCentral can erase disparity and silos from even the most distributed media organizations and streamline workflows that span the globe."

Preparing for the future of cloud
Avid has supported some of the world's largest broadcast organizations, such as NBC, ITV, and BBC, on their journey to standardized and unified cloud-based production and has prepared them for greater growth and reach. The flexibility and elasticity of cloud services enables media organizations to maximize the value of their assets by expanding to new outlets. Material can be repurposed to exploit new revenue streams and grow brand affinity across a broader range of viewers by making content available everywhere they want to consume it.

Looking to the future, cloud-based technologies are primed to change media production processes industry-wide due to the cloud's highly scalable, agile, and flexible infrastructure. With a robust cloud investment strategy, international media organizations like Al Jazeera are helping to shape the future of cloud-based media production through global collaboration, operational efficiency and greater storytelling capabilities.

This article also features in the November edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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