Founded in 1877, The Washington Post is a world-renowned news publisher and recipient of multiple Pulitzer prizes. Known for its commitment to political journalism and international coverage with 24 correspondents in 18 bureaus around the world, The Washington Post’s mission is to serve as the first place readers turn for breaking news and investigative journalism. The publisher also differentiates itself as a technological innovator in the publishing industry, including its embrace of the newest digital technologies to drive journalistic excellence and improve the overall experience of its subscribers.
The Post's Arc Publishing platform was developed as an internal suite of tools, initially to bridge the gap between the historical print publishing mission and the new demands created by digital and mobility trends. Showcasing what it takes to be competitive in the news business today, content from Arc is delivered in parallel to print pages, web, mobile apps and a wide range of social media platforms. Over time, the portfolio of tools in Arc has expanded to include management of copy, photos, and analytics, as well as video through the Goldfish Video Management System.
Starting in 2014, third parties began using the Arc Publishing platform and it is now used by the Los Angeles Times, Canada’s Globe and Mail, the New Zealand Herald, and smaller publishers such as Alaska Dispatch News and Oregon’s Willamette Week. These news organizations use Arc to ensure that subscribers get a responsive, reliable experience when they visit a site on a desktop or mobile device while maintaining their own distinct look and feel. In total, the platform routinely supports 95 million visitors with 1 billion monthly page views.
Arc Publishing is now reaching beyond the world of newspapers by licensing its technology to broadcaster Raycom Media, which has relaunched more than 40 of the company’s television and radio stations on the Arc platform. Arc now enables Raycom to bring news, information, and entertainment content in real time to millions of viewers on their preferred devices. Raycom is one of the largest media companies in the U.S., with stations in 44 markets and 20 states.
“The Arc platform enables fast and seamless integration not only for news publishers but also for large digital brands worldwide, and we’re excited to extend this to a major national broadcaster like Raycom Media,” said Scot Gillespie, CTO of The Washington Post. “Arc’s live and on-demand video capabilities, combined with its superior multi-site support, give Raycom a powerful platform suite with which to achieve their digital publishing goals.”
From an early stage, The Post chose to move away from the monolithic approach used by its prior content management system. With the use of AWS, the Arc Publishing platform takes full advantage of a microservices-based architecture with Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) enabling rapid, automated deployment of new features and updates. Utilizing a custom development platform, also built on AWS, Arc Publishing completes more than 50 deployments per day to help media companies continually enhance viewers’ experiences. AWS has also helped The Washington Post expand Arc into a multi-tenant architecture, scale rapidly, and take full advantage of new innovations such as AWS Elemental Media Services.
The Arc Platform’s Goldfish Video Management System heavily leverages the suite of AWS Elemental Media Services and gives system users complete freedom to pick and choose how they want to present both live and recorded video assets in a single, integrated workflow. AWS Elemental MediaLive, AWS Elemental MediaConvert, and AWS Elemental MediaStore enable Arc to support video version management, captioning, and coordination of different video streams across multiple devices.
One of Arc’s key differentiators is its seamless integration of live stream sources and digital publishing functionality which help provide automated workflows for live video distribution. Arc enables easy and efficient clipping, cropping, and publishing of live video stream segments even while the stream is running. For live content, Arc uses an on-premises AWS Elemental Live encoder, which acts as the video source for the AWS Cloud. All Goldfish assets are then published and delivered globally through the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network (CDN).
The flexibility of the platform, including the extensive use of AWS Elemental Media Services, has enabled Arc’s team to create turn-key solutions that can scale up and onboard clients overnight. In addition to powering all of Raycom’s sites in less than six months, Arc launched iOS and Android apps for the same 40 stations in the same time frame.
By offloading the creation of publishing tools and the hosting of sites, media companies can concentrate on journalism and videography rather than the technical requirements of getting content in front of readers and viewers. "Arc’s value proposition is essentially let us run the content management system (CMS) for you. You focus on differentiation,” added Gillespie.
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Pac-12 Networks, the sports media production arm of the prestigious Pac-12 Conference, is on a mission to transform the sports fan experience – reaching more viewers, at more locations, and on more devices. Their new approach takes advantage of AWS cloud technologies, including AWS Elemental Media Services, to re-imagine core master control production workflows as well as content archive, personalization, and monetization. The innovations demonstrate that higher-quality services can bring greater fan engagement and enhanced advertising revenue. By tying together a standardized video encoding source that feeds a comprehensive cloud production workflow and distribution network, Pac-12 Networks stands at the forefront of a fundamental change in how colleges produce sports media.
AWS is powering live broadcasts of 850 games for Pac-12 collegiate sports over the 2018-19 season. By moving the Pac-12 broadcasts onto a standard cloud platform powered by AWS, every aspect of the media workflow can be enhanced and made more flexible for production and syndication. Pac-12 Networks is connecting its 10Gb multi-venue contribution network to AWS using a 1Gb AWS DirectConnect. AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage services prepare all live streams for delivery in Apple’s HLS format to IOS, Android, Web, Chromecast and Apple TV devices.
“We’ve chosen to go all-in on the world’s leading cloud to drive digital transformation across the entire organization, and to enhance our innovation and workflow processes so that we can bring new offerings and better experiences to market faster,” said Mark Kramer, Vice President, Engineering & Technology at Pac-12 Networks. “Video quality has been absolutely gorgeous during the game for linear broadcast and TV Everywhere audiences. It was a huge positive transition for us – a new level of experience, years in the making.”
Taking the new cloud-centric approach, master control – the brains of Pac-12 Networks’ operation – uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Glacier as petabyte-sized primary archives for all recorded content, and as the basis of an automated ingest workflow. The ability to call on unlimited amounts of Amazon S3 storage as required liberated other aspects of the production workflow, to enable, among other things, the creation of a new live-to-VOD capture feature. Because of the seamless use of this cloud workflow, AWS Elemental MediaTailor now provides a straightforward option to perform server-side ad insertion for both live and on-demand content, creating a whole new basis for content monetization. Other AWS services at play in the Pac-12 cloud infrastructure include AWS IAM, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon EC2 Autoscaling, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) and Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) to provide a secure, highly effective backbone for TV everywhere service delivery.
In the future, automated processing of the same assets with AWS Machine Learning services adds the potential for a whole new range of service enhancements, including automated gameplay highlight clips, and real-time closed captioning for broadcasters. Another potential future application involves AWS Lambda, a serverless application model that uses less compute for processing clip and highlight generation. In this workflow, the second a game is over, Pac-12 Networks would have all assets, such as game highlights, directly accessible for streaming and syndication partners. As a result, a wide variety of highlight options could be made available to fans, offering a much richer post game experience.
“As we standardize on AWS machine learning and media services, we’ll be able to usher in a new era of entertainment for collegiate sports enthusiasts,” continues Kramer. “Our fans will benefit from highly reliable and personalized viewer experiences, even in times of rapid traffic spikes like conference championships or rivalry games, and our internal teams will be able to experiment with ease using AWS services to rapidly test new ideas. The unmatched breadth of functionality, agility, and security that AWS provides has been, and will continue to be, instrumental to our success in the cloud. The way viewers expect to consume games is completely changing. Without AWS, we couldn’t meet our fans’ needs.”
In February, AWS Elemental shared an update from the growing ecosystem of software solutions developed by our technology partners. Since, many more vendors have achieved integration and interoperability with AWS Elemental Media Services, further extending the selection of available tools for building cloud-based video workflows. Following are some of the software solutions recently made available by members of the AWS Elemental Technology Partner Program to support live or on-demand video using cloud infrastructure:
- Videon completed interoperability with AWS Elemental MediaLive for its Greylock and Sonora encoder/decoder products.
- BuyDRM debuted API integration between the KeyOS multi-DRM platform and AWS Elemental MediaConvert and AWS Elemental MediaPackage;
- EZDRM completed API integration with MediaConvert and MediaPackage for its KeyZ server and Universal DRM solution;
- FriendMTS announced interoperability between its Distribution iD watermarking service and MediaConvert as part of an anti-piracy solution;
- Revenue security solutions vendor Verimatrix announced the launch of Viewthority, a new content distribution platform built on AWS with support for the AWS Elemental Media Services.
- For media asset management, Cantemo has completed API integration between its Cantemo iconik cloud video hub and MediaConvert;
- Ownzones delivered API integration with MediaConvert and its media logistics solution, Ownzones Connect;
- Vidispine announced API integration between MediaConvert and the Vidispine API through the Vidinet media services platform.
- Accedo introduced API integration with AWS Elemental MediaTailor and the Accedo One video platform to deliver targeted advertising for augmented reality video experiences;
- Crystal announced integration between MediaTailor and its Crystal Connect solution for dynamic ad insertion and digital rights enforcement;
- Telaria has announced interoperability with MediaTailor and its Video Management Platform to enable server-side ad insertion.
- Espial launched its Elevate Cloud IPTV Platform on AWS along with support for AWS Elemental Live and AWS Elemental Server;
- Insys announced API integration with AWS Elemental Media Services for its InsysPLAY and InsysGO over-the-top video solutions;
- StreamShark publicized its API integration between the StreamShark Encoder Management Solution and AWS Elemental Live for live streaming to social media platforms;
These innovative offerings from our technology partners join a comprehensive set of solutions designed for fast, simple deployment as part of video workflows with AWS Elemental Media Services. This growing ecosystem lets video providers customize their live or on-demand video infrastructure, choosing the products and services that best suit their business requirements and content strategies. To learn more about our technology partners and their solutions, visit https://www.elemental.com/about-us/partners.