NBC Sports Group Selects Microsoft's Windows Azure

Microsoft has announced that NBC Sports Group will be using Windows Azure Media Services on NBC Sports' digital platforms, including NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com and GolfChannel.com.

As a result of the agreement, which rolls out this summer, Microsoft will provide both live-streaming and on-demand viewing services for more than 5,000 hours of games and events on devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. The agreement includes the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

In a statement, Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at NBC Sports Group, explained that "more and more of our audience is viewing our programming on Internet-enabled devices, so quality of service is important. Also, our programming reaches a national audience and needs to be available under challenging network conditions. We chose Microsoft because of its reputation for delivering an end-to-end experience that allows for seamless, high-quality video for both live and video-on-demand streaming."

Microsoft has a number of partners in its cloud-based digital content platform. For the NBC Sports effort, Microsoft is working with iStreamPlanet Co. and its live video workflow management product Aventus.

Aventus will integrate with Windows Azure Media Services to provide a live video workflow solution to help bring NBC Sports Group programming into the cloud.