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Sony Launches Media Cloud Service Company

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CreativeCOW presents Sony Launches Media Cloud Service Company -- Art of the Edit Editorial


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Just prior to the NAB 2013 show in Las Vegas, Sony Corporation unveiled a new subsidiary: Sony Media Cloud Services takes the company not just into the cloud but also into the growing Software as a Service (SaaS) business. NBC Universal has adopted the platform as an alpha customer. According to NBCUniversal SVP, Studio Operations Jeff Mayzurk, it has been easy to integrate Ci MasterSuite tools into the studio's workflow. "The browser-based user interface will enable our teams to access content and collaborate from anywhere on our network," he says.

Sony Media Cloud Services - which officially enters beta today (April 3) and will be prominently featured in the Sony Electronics booth (C11001) -- features both a platform and toolset to enable studios, broadcasters, marketing teams and creative companies and individuals in the video production space to collect, produce, share, manipulate and archive content.

In a conversation with Creative COW, Naomi Climer, president of the new subsidiary, spoke about Sony's decision to enter into this business. "This is a strategic play from Sony," she said. "The industry in general is moving into this connected ecosystem and we need to move there. Some companies can build their own ecosystem but the vast majority of creative professionals can't. Moving into the cloud keeps us at the heart of the industry on the technology side."



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Climer notes Sony's significant presence in the media industry, on the hardware side with cameras and camcorders, and, on the TV and film content side, with Sony Pictures. The new scalable cloud platform Ci (pronounced "see") is intended to leverage this experience, "allowing fast and secure collaboration on a global scale."

Ci features analysis algorithms and anywhere, anytime collaboration to streamline production processes; pay-as-you-go pricing; scalability; and application-based servicing, from a secure browser-based user interface. "This is both the platform and the tools," says Climer. "It can be a game changer because of the working patterns it enables. I think it will unleash a lot of creativity that we've never thought of." She reported that consumer adoption of the cloud has reached 35 percent for the general public. "The assumption is that the professional world is behind that curve but will follow," she says. "We launched the collaborative work space that bring sophisticated tools to video production professionals wherever they are."

Chris Cookson, President of Sony Pictures Technologies adds to that assessment. "The efficiency and flexibility that cloud solutions provide will radically change the way creative professionals collaborate," he says. "Working with Sony's Cloud Services team to further enhance Ci's platform and applications will enable our production and distribution teams around the world to work together more efficiently, without sacrificing creativity or quality."



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Applications available at launch include:

  • Ci MediaBox: Collects, organizes, previews, shares and archives every media type and size using studio-designed cloud storage solution suite
  • Ci VideoLog: Enables logging of frame-accurate events to prepare content for downstream opportunities, distribution and play-out automation
  • Ci AudioSync: Utilizes analysis algorithms and audio pattern matching to reduce non-creative editing work time in content-preparation workflows
  • Ci FrameMatch: Analyzes media files to automatically identify differences and likenesses between two sets of video files
  • Ci ReviewApprove: Enables review, annotation and collaboration on media files across multiple locations in real time, simultaneously
 



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"This isn't what we've just finished, it's what we've just started," says Chief Business Officer John Vickery. The toolset is expected to grow. "At the moment, we're offering the core tools," Climer says. "But we're bursting with ideas. We can see so many places this will go. We need quick, broad feedback from the marketplace. Going to NAB is a starting point."

Vickery notes that Sony Media Cloud Services already has a few pilot customers in addition to NBCUniversal. "We're talking to all kinds of groups - from large scale TV productions all the way through to mastering at the tail end of post production," he says. "Marketing and communications for managing and promos/trailers/box art as well as our stock footage department are looking to leverage this. People with very large files that need to collaborate on a global basis are obvious use cases but we know a lot of others will get value in the marketplace."



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The cloud has been a buzz word for the last several years at NAB, but the reason for its growing popularity is based in the industry's other trends: file based workflows, 3D, HFR, UltraHD. "Our customers are struggling with the kind of capital investment they need for storage," Climer says. "The amount of storage needed is getting a bit ridiculous and it's hard for them to predict the investment. [The cloud] gives them a degree of flexibility to turn things on and off as they need it." From the manufacturer point of view, SaaS is an appealing business model, offering a continuous cash flow for what is essentially a virtual service.

Ci is available within the U.S. and European markets, with plans for additional service capabilities to be launched within the year. Sony Media Cloud Services is headquartered on the Sony Pictures Studio lot in Culver City, Calif., with regional teams based in North America, Europe and Asia.









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