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Microsoft Announces New Partners, Customers and Programs at IBC2007 to Further Its Digital Media Strategy


This week at IBC2007, Microsoft Corp. is announcing new customers, partners and programs that further underscore the value Microsoft provides to organizations in the media and entertainment industry. Through its broad range of solutions, Microsoft enables media and entertainment companies to create and manage nearly endless varieties of media and deliver stunning entertainment experiences to their customers.

Microsoft is highlighting updates, including new customers and partners, for two solutions launched in April at NAB2007: Microsoft® Silverlight™ and Microsoft Interactive Media Manager (IMM). In addition, Microsoft is detailing new customer and partner adoption of the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder software developer kit (SDK) and is announcing the Microsoft Mediaroom™ Interoperability and Qualification Lab (IQ Lab) for digital video encoders. Microsoft is also outlining collaborative efforts with KT Corp. and SBSi, a subsidiary of SBS Media Group, to create a digital content and syndication hub for suppliers and distributors of content.

“The continuing changes in the media and entertainment industry signal the need for solutions that help companies simplify the complexities in creating and managing content and delivering an enticing user experience whether on a television, mobile phone or PC,” said Michael O’Hara, general manager of the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “The new customers and partners that are lining up to support solutions such as Silverlight, IMM and VC-1 Encoder are just a few examples of the positive reinforcement we’ve received from the industry that show our strategy is on the right path.”

Content Creation

Microsoft continues to develop the foundational technologies that help media companies create rich media content easily, quickly and cost-effectively.

At IBC2007, Microsoft is announcing broad industry support for the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK, a commercial offering first announced in April. Leading product vendors are taking advantage of the substantial quality and performance improvements delivered through the new technology and are building next-generation products that efficiently produce exceptional video imagery for a variety of distribution and consumption scenarios. Consequently, major content providers, recognizing the benefits of faster encoding and the value of delivering best-of-breed video quality to their customers, are also adopting the new VC-1 Encoder technology through these new tools.

In the broadband and mobile content distribution segments, Red Bee Media Ltd. has chosen tools based on the VC-1 Encoder from Anystream Inc. to rapidly repurpose and streamline the delivery of high-quality, bandwidth-efficient video content for the BBC’s innovative new iPlayer service.

Managing Content

The amount of data produced for digital media is increasing exponentially, and to add to the complexity, there are a vast number of data types and formats that must be supported. Microsoft is working with its partners to help ensure that all this content can be used productively as an asset, rather than presenting a challenge for broadcasters.

This week at IBC2007, Microsoft is announcing a new early adopter customer and expanded partner ecosystem for IMM. Italian broadcaster RAI has joined the Technology Adoption Program for IMM, which will enable RAI to manage the media workflow process as it digitizes assets for viewing over the Web through a variety of screens and devices. In addition, Microsoft is bringing an expanded set of capabilities available to media companies in conjunction with IMM through new partner relationships. To deliver these capabilities, Microsoft has forged relationships with independent software vendors including FileCatalyst, Marquis Broadcast Ltd., Rhozet Corp. and TeleStream, and system integrators such as Accenture, Ascentium Corp., The Computer Merchant Ltd., Intellinet, SpeakTECH and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

Also being highlighted at IBC2007 this week, Microsoft, KT, Korea’s leading communications service provider, and SBSi, a subsidiary of SBS Media Group, are developing Global Media Hub, a digital content and distribution point in Korea. The partners have come together to address the challenges and opportunities faced by suppliers and distributors of content with an eye on cross-border services and worldwide access to content, rights management and rights technology. The Global Media Hub aims to be the content owners’, aggregators’ and service providers’ platform of choice for their online delivery strategy.

Global Media Hub will have a multiplatform asset management and distribution system that provides an integrated service which enables one-stop convenience for buyers and sellers in trading and managing digital media content distribution across multiple platforms. Global Media Hub will utilize Microsoft Connected Services Framework as an aggregation engine that uses Web services to streamline content management and distribution.

Improving the Content Experience

Microsoft is continually enriching the consumer experience with new platforms that make content more engaging and enjoyable, and new services that make it accessible to a wider audience. At IBC2007 this week, Microsoft TV announced the Microsoft Mediaroom IQ Lab for digital video encoders, a program that will help enable the ongoing interoperability and compliance of encoders used in deployments of the award-winning Microsoft Mediaroom Internet Protocol Television and multimedia software platform. IQ Lab-compliant encoding vendors will become recommended Microsoft Mediaroom ecosystem partners. As the Microsoft Mediaroom software platform continues to gain momentum around the world, encoding partners will be able to capitalize on this growth by enabling their solutions to seamlessly integrate with the platform to deliver fast and smooth deployments by service providers.

Several of Microsoft TV’s encoding partners, including Envivio Inc., Harmonic Inc., Motorola Inc., TANDBERG Television and Thomson, have already signed up for the IQ Lab. Each of these companies has also completed the qualification of one or more encoders, which are now in use by several Mediaroom customers.

More than 19 of the world’s leading service providers have selected the Microsoft Mediaroom platform for their digital TV offerings. Commercial deployments are under way with 11 providers. On Wednesday, Microsoft announced the release to Web of Silverlight 1.0, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering richer user experiences on the Web, and Expression Encoder 1.0, a tool that makes it simple for professionals to encode, enhance and publish rich media content to Silverlight. In addition, Microsoft announced it will work with Novell Inc. to deliver Silverlight support for Linux, called Moonlight, and based on the project started on Microsoft also unveiled new customer experiences on “Entertainment Tonight,” HSN, World Wrestling Entertainment and, and the Silverlight Partner Initiative, which includes more than 35 companies that have committed to supporting Silverlight and taking advantage of a broad range of marketing and technical benefits the program offers.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


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