Entertainment giant Walt Disney Studios has agreed a five-year deal with Microsoft that will see the company shift a range of production and post-production shift to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which will also underpin content distribution.
The move has been made possible in party by Microsoft’s 2017 contract with media workflow software firm Avid (widely used by Walt Disney Studios), which has rolled out its own Azure-based “MediaCentral” media editing SaaS.
Disney said that by moving its editing processes into a cloud-based environment, project collaboration will be made easier, irrespective of where creators are located. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Modern day film studios over the life time of a project end up creating multiple copies of files that can often be petabytes of data. These files can be damaged when moved in their physical containers or face the risk of theft while in transit. Moving to the cloud will create backups and reduce the risk of copies being physically stolen, (a cynic would note that the risk has, of course, just been displaced from the physical to digital realm).
Jamie Voris, CTO, Walt Disney Studios commented in a release: “By moving many of our production and post-production workflows to the cloud, we’re optimistic that we can create content more quickly and efficiently around the world. Through this innovation partnership with Microsoft, we’re able to streamline many of our processes so our talented filmmakers can focus on what they do best.”
Microsoft and Disney
Microsoft is not the only cloud provider making moves towards facilitating entertainment via cloud infrastructure; Amazon’s AWS platform hosts Netflix and the firm also runs its own content streaming service Amazon Prime.
However, Microsoft have honed in on the nascent market of entertainment industry workflows and creator needs.
Two years ago Microsoft entered into a partnership with American-based media creation platform Avid, whose CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr. noted that the rise of hybrid cloud would “will give our customers maximum flexibility to move at their own pace and orchestrate workflows across on-premise and cloud-hosted environment”
Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft US commented in a release that: “The cloud has reached a tipping point for the media industry… With Azure as the platform cloud for content, we’re excited to work with the team at StudioLAB to continue to drive innovation across Disney’s broad portfolio of studios.”