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ZoneTV And Ooyala Join hands With Microsoft To Bring AI To TV Channels

ZoneTV will utilize media logistics tools from Ooyala, a global provider of video monetization technology and services, plus Video Indexer, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, to automate the curation of content of a first-of-its-kind, customizable suite of linear TV channels which launches this fall.

ZoneTV has licensed digital-first content which it will curate into specialized 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 customized 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 personalized experience for the consumer.

“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,” said Jeff Weber, CEO, ZoneTV.

The content in the specialized 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 Video Indexer, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, to curate fine-tuned specialized channels.

The combination of these tools features advanced algorithms that characterize content; the platform automatically extracts and analyzes 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.

“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 center of reshaping TV for tomorrow,” said Jonathan Huberman, CEO, Ooyala.

In addition, ZoneTV will utilize Ooyala’s Flex Platform, the company’s versatile and customizable solution for video production and distribution workflows, for its end-to-end video workflow for both new specialized 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% cloud-hosted, freeing up space in an affiliate’s data center.

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.

“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,” said Sudheer Sirivara, general manager, enterprise video at Microsoft Corp.

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