IBM powers Comic-Con HQ SVOD service, announces cloud video deal with CBC

LAS VEGAS -- IBM is making up ground in the cloud-based online video delivery space, announcing here at NAB that its new Cloud Video unit is providing the platform for a number of on-demand and live video services. That includes Comic-Con HQ, the Lionsgate-owned SVOD service that will launch on May 7.

Additionally, the Canadian Broadcasting Company has signed with IBM Cloud Video to power its upcoming ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) service and related mobile apps.

For the CBC, IBM's cloud-based video delivery will quickly solve a number of concerns for the traditional broadcaster and help it get its streaming service off the ground quickly. "Inherent in that are elements that perhaps aren't as visible, such as being able to put together geofencing and sponsored and branded content, with all the search and discovery capability that you need for a new service," said Steve Canepa, general manager for global telecommunications, media & entertainment industry at IBM, in an interview with FierceOnlineVideo.

But Comic-Con HQ presents an opportunity to drive growth in a highly niche category, adding a dimension to IBM's cloud services. The event allows Lionsgate to "create a next-generation experience where you're linking together events and live streaming capability with subscription VOD capabilities and everything that goes along with making that a compelling experience that's going to activate and inform and entertain the fan base around Comic-Con," Canepa said.

IBM has made some big growth steps over the past year thanks to key acquisitions of Clearleap, which offers a scalable cloud-based video streaming platform, UStream, a service which boasted several enterprise customers from Discovery Channel to NASA to Samsung and more, and other assets such as parts of AT&T's managed services business. The company has spent as much as $30 billion over the past several years acquiring these and other cloud assets and shifting them into place, not to mention its own research and development efforts, and signing on new customers is a key focus at the moment.

IBM's customer announcements here at NAB show that it's in the running with other major cloud competitors such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

But media and entertainment is just one industry that Big Blue wants to address with its cloud unit. The technology strides that are being made with regard to audience-focused online video, in the M&E space, can translate to a number of other verticals, Canepa said. "We see video as a fundamental asset type that's going to dominate going forward -- upwards of 80 percent of the world's data is going to be in video form. So all compute technologies, cloud technologies, core platforms are going to have to be able to handle video in order to be relevant."

For example, "in the automotive industry, in a marketing and communications domain, the ability to seamlessly integrate high quality scalable live video capability is impacting the way that you reach and communicate and activate customers in just a general marketing sense," he said. "So it's kind of representative of what we see happening across industries in embracing live and on-demand video as a key element of the overall application architecture."

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