ViacomCBS Migrating Entire Broadcast Footprint to Amazon’s AWS Cloud (EXCLUSIVE)

ViacomCBS has inked a broad, multiyear agreement with Amazon Web Services under which the media conglomerate will put its entire global broadcast TV operations into the AWS cloud.

The companies touted the partnership as among biggest cloud-based initiatives in the media and entertainment industry to date. As part of the agreement, ViacomCBS plans to migrate operations for its entire broadcast footprint, spanning 425 linear TV channels and 40 global data and media centers, to AWS.

The new cloud-based hub will help ViacomCBS spin up new channels faster, optimize delivery over any distribution channel, add image and video analysis to applications, and automate workflows, said Phil Wiser, the company’s EVP and chief technology officer. And, he said, the move to AWS will reduce costs by double-digits compared with its previous infrastructure.

“This is letting us rethink how to run a large-scale media company,” Wiser said.

The big change is on the linear distribution side, from on-premises hardware solutions to the cloud. The full transition of ViacomCBS’s broadcast infrastructure to AWS will take several years, Wiser said. The media company also is moving nonlinear video processing to the Amazon cloud and will look to tap AWS for remote productions and post-production functions.

ViacomCBS selected AWS as its “preferred” cloud provider because “we expect their focus and interest in the media and entertainment space to continue to grow,” Wiser said. In addition, given that ViacomCBS operates in 184 countries, AWS’s global scale “was really important to us.”

It’s been just over one year since Viacom and CBS officially completed their merger. “One of the opportunities of doing a merger of this magnitude was, we could go in to see how we could transform the core technologies running the business,” Wiser said. “The move to the cloud on many levels was a top priority for the merged company, to enable us to get global scale for many of our digital businesses.”

ViacomCBS will employ multiple elements of AWS’s cloud capabilities, including serverless computing, containers, databases, media services, analytics, and machine learning. Those include AWS Elemental media services, Amazon Rekognition (AWS’s service that adds image and video analysis to applications) and Amazon SageMaker (AWS’s service for building, training, and deploying machine learning models). Another benefit the companies called out: AWS will help ViacomCBS in producing and streaming dynamic content and enabling efficient national and local news distribution on CBSN, CBS News’s 24/7 digital streaming service.

“We are excited to deepen our relationship with ViacomCBS to redefine video delivery of media and entertainment content for global audiences across any platform,” AWS VP of worldwide commercial sales Greg Pearson said in a statement.

News of the ViacomCBS-AWS pact comes a day after Amazon announced a multiyear deal with MGM to migrate its film and TV content library (as well as SAP workloads) to AWS to distribute content across multiple platforms.

AWS provides more than 175 services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), and other applications. Other media and entertainment customers of AWS include Netflix, Disney, the NFL, Discovery, the BBC, Comcast and Fox Corp.

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