AWS for M&E Blog

Graham Media Group taps AWS Media services to build powerful media solutions for reporters and elevate the live stream experience

Reaching modern audiences with compelling, informative content can be challenging in the digital era, but Graham Media Group (GMG), a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company, has managed to break through the noise by innovating the way its local stations deliver news coverage. As part of the company’s VIDEO 2020 total video transformation project, which aims to develop technology that helps reporters reach audiences faster with more meaningful content, GMG has developed a series of tools that its seven stations are using to transform the digital viewing experience for audiences in Houston, Detroit, Roanoke, San Antonio, Orlando and Jacksonville.

One such technology is Broadcast, a mobile app built in collaboration with The Washington Post’s Arc Publishing (powered by AWS Media Services). Broadcast allows journalists to capture and stream high-quality live mobile phone video to web sites and social platforms. The app, along with AWS Media Services, recently helped give WKMG viewers in Orlando, Florida dynamic coverage of the “Fireworks at the Fountain” festivities.

For the event, WKMG produced and streamed more than 100 hours of live event coverage to as well as its mobile and OTT apps, including footage shot by 12 roaming reporters and producers using the Broadcast app. Thirteen additional cameras, including a 360-degree camera, provided additional perspectives. WKMG gave audiences a choice to watch a stream produced by the News 6 team or “direct” their own experience by switching between camera feeds throughout the stream. AWS Media Services powered video ingest and delivery for both streams, ensuring a reliable and high-quality viewing experience across user device types.

For the “Director’s Chair” stream, the mobile and traditional camera feeds were ingested and delivered to the website and OTT and mobile apps through AWS Elemental MediaLive. WKMG’s digitally produced stream ran the camera feeds through Grabyo’s video production, editing, and publishing service (also powered by AWS) for live switching, file playout, and graphics overlays. AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage were then used to encode and package the produced stream as HLS for Amazon CloudFront delivery. A touch panel device and the AWS Elemental MediaLive API were employed to drive ad personalization using SCTE 35 ad markers, with AWS Elemental MediaTailor serving as the ad replacement service. Live closed captioning for the produced stream was supported by Amazon Transcribe.

“AWS allows us to break the bounds of physical hardware and deploy layers of commercial- and consumer-level equipment nearly anywhere we want. We can select the best-in-class technologies for each layer of our video pipeline and scale to levels beyond what was possible only a few years ago,” said Michael Newman, Lead Developer for Graham Media Group and Technical Lead for VIDEO 2020. “We’re excited to facilitate reporters’ workflows with new tools like Arc Publishing’s Broadcast app and Grabyo, which allowed us to produce the entire show in the cloud instead of using a truck full of equipment.

Providing this technology to our local newsrooms will allow them to cover their local communities faster and with more relevance than ever.”

The event was funded in part by a grant from the Google News Initiative YouTube Innovation Fund Grant.

For more information about the stream, visit: