M+E Daily

NAB 2024 Wrap: AWS, Dubformer, NAGRA, AppTek

LAS VEGAS — Proof that live production in the cloud is ready for primetime, integrating AI into all areas of localization, watermarking premium content, and new partnerships geared toward increasing efficiencies. Here’s what Amazon Web Services, Dubformer, NAGRA and AppTek brought to NAB 2024.


Gretchen Libby, director of specialists, media and entertainment for AWS, made no bones about it: “This is our biggest NAB ever, and we’re ready to show the cloud and GenAI are ready for primetime.”

That’s a bold statement considering how many huge announcements AWS has brought to Las Vegas over the years, but between the company’s announcements and what most every NAB attendee witnessed walking into the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Libby wasn’t exaggerating.

“We’ve removed any doubt that production in the cloud isn’t ready,” she said, pointing to the glass-enclosed production control room that was constantly busy with live broadcasts at the booth. The cloud-based live news broadcasts — done in cooperation with NVIDIA, AP ENPS, Ross Video, Telos Alliance, LiveU, Haivision, CaptionHub, Zixi, Alpha, Aoto, and Ikan — kicked off each day with a “Good Morning, NAB!” show, and featured a news desk, cameras and a nearby production control room, with audio mixing done on site and graphics overlay, editing, and other elements handled remotely to demonstrate the abilities of AWS live cloud production technologies.

It’s those tech partnerships that make AWS as big — and as good — as it is, with the company featuring 83 partners total in its sprawling booth, 70 of which were sharing demos, and roughly 30 featuring new GenAI solutions. And that wasn’t including the nearby AWS Partner Village and Learning Lounge, with another 20 or so AWS partner companies showing off their technologies, including Amagi, Anypoint Media, Arc XP, Ateliere, Bedrock Streaming, CSG, Datazoom, EPAM, GlobalLogic, Imagine Communications, IMDb, Irdeto, JW Player, M2A, MASV, Merapar, Stringr, Tagboard, and Veritone.

“From content production to media archive solutions to monetising broadcasts, we’re really excited to be an enabler for our customers as they look to make transitions in how they do business,” Libby said. Some of those solutions included:

• In addition to the newsroom in the cloud showcase, AWS broadcast and live production demonstrations included LCP for sports events, infrastructure as code for automated deployment, streamlined play-out and master control management to optimise distribution strategies using AWS Elemental solutions, and more.

• On the monetisation front there was converged TV ad sales in local and national markets, unified measurement solutions to enable alternate currencies, next-gen ad formats including virtual product placement and shoppable video, self-service privacy-enhanced data collaboration in AWS Clean Rooms, customer data solutions for finding, activating, and retaining audience, and GenAI for ad creative generation and moderation.

• For D2C, demonstrations included end-to-end delivery capabilities, personalised experiences, server-side ad insertion (SSAI) at scale, sports streaming, cloud DVR integration, automated multi-language subtitling, low-latency delivery featuring AWS Elemental MediaPackage v2, interactive enhancements to streaming video, and integrated monitoring and observability.

• Media supply chain and archive use cases featured packaged file-based content for live-to-air, live ingest to VOD and FAST, and AI-based content summarisation (sports results).

• On the data science and analytics front, AWS booth visitors were shown how building data, analytics, and AI-enabled media workflows can enhance the viewer experience and streamline live production, as well as video content analysis and summarisation.

• And for content production, demonstrations created a holistic studio in the cloud composed of generative AI-assisted virtual production using Unreal Engine and Cuebric, featuring Wacom Tablets; VFX and rendering featuring Foundry’s Nuke and SideFX’s Houdini; editing in the cloud with real-time video preview using Adobe Premiere and Streambox, and production asset management with Frame.io; and cloud studio management using Leostream and Qumulo. This workflow showcased the making of a 90-second movie trailer from start to finish for a faux, upcoming sci-fi/comedy film “Cowgirls on the Moon.”


Dimitri Konovalov, chief business development officer for Dubformer, home to proprietary dubbing and voice-over solutions, his company’s goal for NAB was both straightforward and forward-looking: “We’re here to partner with technology companies to create custom AI, and see where AI can improve businesses, and find where the value of AI merges with traditional opportunities in the market,” he said. “We’re here for those who want to onboard custom AI but don’t know how to do it yet.”

And while that may sound like a tall order, Dubformer is doing everything possible to take the headaches out of AI adoption, with the launch of a new program for audio industry professionals that enables language service providers, sound engineers and recording studios to offer easy AI services.

It works like this: Dubformer grants access to its proprietary AI voiceover and dubbing tools, as part of a pilot program, to early adopters eager to integrate AI into traditional business models. The goal is to help companies new to AI streamline operations, and explore new market opportunities, potentially cutting localisation expenses by more than half.

“We’re the AI experts,” Konovalov said. “These companies are experts at including the human touch. Combined we keep quality control at a high level, remove the mistakes from traditional dubbing, and create efficiencies that haven’t been considered before.

“And we see that companies are becoming very interested in this approach.”

AI can’t do all the work, he stressed. But it can take away a lot of the heavy lifting involved with localization tasks today. And Dubformer, by staying up to speed with the latest AI has to offer, can help companies make it happen today, he said.


Meeting with partners, adding new customers, highlighting the growing demand for watermarking premium content, and stressing the need for better industrywide efforts toward uncovering deepfakes was NAGRA’s goal during NAB. According to Tim Pearson, senior director of product marketing for NAGRA, they accomplished all that and more.

“Particularly around watermarking, we’re seeing a tremendous amount of interest,” Pearson said, noting that the live news desk demos running at the AWS booth during NAB had their content watermarked by NAGRA as they happened. “And with deepfakes increasingly being used, detecting them with watermarking is possible now.”

NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking drew particular interest at NAB for its ability to secure high-profile sports events and detect unauthorized leaks. ​The company demonstrated its ability to detect deepfakes, protecting both authenticity and security.

And NAGRA’s partnership with Adobe’s Frame.io was front and center, showing off a solution that allows for the secure handling of sensitive pre-release content in remote collaboration workflows. ​Frame.io Enterprise users can watermark each video asset using NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking, cutting down on illegal copying and distribution. ​

That joint solution won NAGRA an NAB Product of the Year award.

Pearson also proudly noted NAGRA’s recent partnership announcement with Eluvio, which integrated NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking to secure playback of TV, films, and other premium video via Eluvio’s Content Fabric network, marking the industry’s first integration of forensic watermarking into Eluvio’s global blockchain Fabric for premium content distribution.

“Live and VOD is being secured there, and that’s a real market disruptor,” Pearson said. “It’s become a really interesting way for customers to push their content.”

In the next few months, look for a new set a streaming piracy analytics from NAGRA, with the company breaking out the true cost of CDN leaching. “Overall, we’re seeing security go from this cost monolith to something more nimble,” Pearson said.


For Kyle Maddock, SVP of sales and marketing for AppTek, the company’s new partnership with Deluxe Media was just the beginning of a successful NAB. “There are a lot of amazing things happening behind the scenes that we’re really excited about,” he said. “We’re getting the most out of AI when the trend seems to be that people’s understanding of AI is headed toward the trough of disillusionment.”

Deluxe has gained a non-controlling interest in AppTek and its AI and ML technologies for natural language processing, covering automatic speech recognition (ASR), voice cloning, text-to-speech, machine translation (MT), large language models (LLMs) and more, with Deluxe becoming the exclusive reseller of AppTek products and services for media and entertainment clients.

The AppTek deal will see Deluxe offer AI professional services geared toward developing custom (and exclusive) AI tools directly integrated into a customer’s technical environment, or via Deluxe’s platforms.

Maddock sees the partnership resulting in especially accurate localization tools, ones that have a deeper understanding of language context and cultural differences when it comes to translations.

“The technology is amazing, and worth investing in,” he said. “But you’ll always need someone there to view the results. It’s just becoming quicker and more efficient to get the work done.”

In a statement announcing the deal prior to NAB, Chris Reynolds, EVP and GM of localization and fulfillment at Deluxe, said: “We’ve been working closely with AppTek for several years and have been impressed by their technology and breadth of experience. Our expanded relationship will allow us to combine the extensive expertise of both companies to develop solutions for practical challenges that our customers face in a way that respects the role of creative localization professionals.

“These technologies can provide access to content that hasn’t previously been localised, while also addressing workflow challenges for translators and other localisation and creative professionals to scale more efficiently.”