Technology giant Microsoft announced a collaboration with Eros Now, a entertainment OTT (over-the-top) video platform by Eros International Plc, to build a next generation online video platform on Microsoft Azure targeted at its consumers across the globe.
Microsoft Azure and Azure Media Services will develop a new, intuitive online video platform to provide seamless delivery of content for its consumers across geographies and languages, supported by a robust infrastructure including Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN).
"AI and intelligent cloud tools will be the next drivers of the media business and will impact everything from content creation to consumer experience. We have been working in India across many categories but ErosNow will be using our Azure media services," said Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Microsoft.
Microsoft has a few similar partnerships globally including one with Disney. Eros will work to create new interactive voice offerings for consumers, powered by Azure AI tools, including OTT app video search experiences and voice search for video content across 10 Indian languages. The OTT platform is focused on differentiating itself from the global video streaming platforms with a stronger focus on regional language access.
Eros will create an engine to deliver personalized content recommendations for consumers by leveraging its own user data, combined with Azure AI, analytics, Cloud Data Warehousing solutions and Azure Media Services.
Currently, Hotstar is India's most popular OTT video platform, followed by Amazon’s Prime Video and SonyLIV, according to a market survey by Counterpoint Research. ErosNow has the highest percentage of its users consuming content on Smart TVs. Among OTT users in India, Reliance Jio is the most popular network, followed by Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, said the survey. Last month, Reliance Jio (which also holds stakes in Eros) announced 10-year deal with Microsoft that will help the telecom player set up a network of large data centers across India. The tech giant will deploy Azure cloud platform in these centres to support offerings.
Previously, Microsoft tied up with ZEE5, a video-on-demand platform owned by Indian media company Zee Enterprises. The Eros Now collaboration will focus on using media specific solutions for the likes of video indexing and content based cognitive services.
“The online video market has brought a paradigm shift in the way technology is used and will be used to enhance the customer journey and user experience. The objective and the goal of this collaboration is to ensure we become the primary innovators for the video business and a gold standard for the others to follow,” said Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO- Eros Digital.
Analysts have noted that while Microsoft has done well in the enterprise tech market due to their historic presence in the space, rival Amazon Web Services was able to lead ahead in the SMB and new digital services market. This is also a reason for Microsoft’s foray into media solutions as AWS has large presence in the space.