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Viacom Taps Google for Video Lifecycle

Mitch Wagner
4/10/2019

Viacom tapped Google Cloud for its video lifecycle management, scoring a win for Google Cloud's new telecom and media business boss.

Viacom, which serves up such cable channels as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and BET to TV viewers in more than 180 countries, is looking to Google to boost its content targeting across video platforms and increase the personalization of its services, Google says in a blog post scheduled to go live Wednesday, announcing the deal.

Viacom picked Google Cloud for the media company's Intelligent Content Discovery Platform, managing the media lifecycle from content creation to distribution and monetization. For example, Viacom will be able to automatically extract short video clips when content is produced, identify what's relevant to a viewer and better showcase new content. Machine learning will enable the personalization of commercials, Google says.

In addition, Google Cloud's machine learning capability will provide Viacom with automatic content tagging, discovery and intelligence for more than 65 petabytes of content.

Viacom will also use Google Customer Reliability Engineering (CRE) model to enable Google engineers to collaborate closely with Viacom's operations team to share reliability responsibilities for critical cloud applications.

Why this matters
The deal is an early victory for John Honeycutt, who was named to head up Google's telecom, media and entertainment business unit in February. Prior to joining Google, Honeycutt spent 15 years at Discovery, where he led the migration of operations to the public cloud, including video lifecycle and rolling out mobile OTT platforms -- exactly the kind of thing he's now doing at Google.

In a keynote speech at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Honeycuttt listed Viacom as "another key media partner" for Google Cloud, along with CBS, the sports OTT video service Fubo and the NBA's Golden State Warriors. He said he sees "a lot of opportunities" for leveraging AI and machine learning to aid various industries, including media, gaming, sports and health care.


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Thomas Kurian took over as CEO of Google Cloud in January, replacing Diane Greene. Kurian plans to shift the platform's focus from "digital native" companies -- large startups that began in the cloud -- to established vertical industries, he told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in February. Viacom fits that strategy; it's no cloud native.

The focus on vertical industries is similar to Oracle's strategy, which is no coincidence; Kurian is a longtime Oracle veteran. Oracle has whole business units devoted to individual industries, and those business units know their industries in depth.

In a blog post Tuesday kicking off the Google Next partner and customer conference, Kurian identified six key industries, namely healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment, retail, manufacturing and industrial, and public sector and education.

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