AWS for M&E Blog

TVNZ partners with AWS and Vizrt to reimagine content archive and MAM infrastructure

Television New Zealand (TVNZ/Te Reo Tātaki), New Zealand’s largest broadcast network, delivers diverse and personalized content to more than two million New Zealanders daily through free-to-air broadcast channels TVNZ 1, 2, DUKE, and online platforms TVNZ+ and 1News.

As the media and entertainment industry experiences transformation, largely driven by shifting audience preferences, TVNZ recognizes that embracing innovation and maximizing the value of its vast media assets is key to staying competitive and delighting its audiences.

In this blog post, we discuss how TVNZ partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Partner Vizrt to reimagine its content archive and Media Asset Management (MAM) capability as part of the organization’s digital transformation strategy, setting a strong foundation to unlock new opportunities and experiment with new viewer experiences.

Removing undifferentiated heavy lifting with archive infrastructure

Managing media assets using traditional on-premises tape infrastructure comes with significant operational overhead. This type of media storage and archive requires maintenance of duplicate assets at multiple sites to mitigate the risk of content damage or loss. Operational management, continuous upgrade cycles, and overprovisioning of storage infrastructure is also needed to meet ever-growing capacity requirements.

In addition, the limited rate at which content can be accessed from an on-premises tape archive can lead to collisions among disparate teams that need to retrieve content at peak times. In the case of TVNZ, this affected its ability to deliver compelling content to New Zealanders when it mattered most.

After evaluating multiple storage solutions, TVNZ selected Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to securely migrate and store decades of media archive content. Amazon S3 offers fully managed object storage with industry-leading durability, scalability, and performance – making it an ideal choice for hosting multiple petabytes (PBs) of video content. In its default setting, Amazon S3 automatically replicates content across multiple availability zones within the same AWS Region, ensuring high availability and 11 nines of durability.

Vizrt’s Viz One MAM solution

TVNZ chose Vizrt, an Amazon Partner Network (APN) independent software vendor (ISV), as its MAM solution in 2009. Vizrt upgraded TVNZ’s Viz One to the latest version, providing out-of-the-box capabilities to set custom rules for managing video assets across on-premises locations  and multiple Amazon S3 storage classes, optimizing for cost and retrieval speed. With Viz One, TVNZ can enhance content search and discoverability by associating relevant metadata with media assets.

Migrating its content archive to AWS aligned with TVNZ’s ‘cloud first policy’ and the broader strategy of delivering rich, personalized content to audiences. Easy access to media content in the cloud, coupled with the use of AWS Media Services and AWS Machine Learning opens up possibilities for TVNZ to experiment with different viewer experiences.

Transcoding media assets for migration

TVNZ’s on-premises Linear Tape-Open (LTO) data tape archive contained nearly 6PB of video content, most of it high definition (HD) in a variety of high broadcast-grade file formats. To optimize file size and overall cloud storage needs without compromising video quality, TVNZ converted all content acquired for delivery purposes into a common ‘mezzanine’ (HD) file format that is compatible with current and future video editing and playout systems. This reduced the overall size down to around 5PB with Commissioned and news-generated content kept in native file formats to retain quality.

TVNZ used AWS Elemental MediaConvert alongside Viz One cloud-based services to transcode acquired content into MXF-wrapped XDCAM HD video files before storing them in Amazon S3. To further optimize content storage cost, TVNZ uses Amazon S3 Glacier and Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive to provide long-term, durable storage classes for data archival that balances lowest cost with faster content retrieval when required. Viz One manages which storage class is used based on the content classification and operational demands.

Migration workflow

The high-level overview of the workflow is depicted in the following diagram, along with how-to steps.

Figure 1: End-to-end media transcode workflow in AWS

Figure 1: End-to-end media transcode workflow in AWS

Step 1:  Transfer content from on-premises tape archive to Amazon S3
Viz One orchestrated retrieval of video files from the on-premises LTO tape archive and transfer into Amazon S3 storage via AWS Direct Connect which provides consistent, low-latency and private connectivity between TVNZ’s on-premises network and AWS.

Step 2: Transcode the content
A Viz One content processing agent, running on an Amazon EC2 instance, initiates selected video file transcoding jobs using MediaConvert, converting source video files into MXF XDCAM HD format.

The Accelerated Transcoding feature available with MediaConvert allowed TVNZ to transcode tens of thousands of minutes of video in parallel each week to meet its tight project timelines.

Step 3: Move transcoded content into lower-cost archive storage
Viz One moves the transcoded files from the standard S3 storage class into Amazon S3 Glacier or S3 Glacier Deep Archive Storage class – the lowest cost option for long-term content archive.

When needed, content can be retrieved from either storage tier into a standard S3 ‘working storage’ tier for editing and delivery to TVNZ 1, 2, DUKE, and online platforms TVNZ+ and 1News. Many customers also convert the content into adaptive bitrate video-on-demand assets for online streaming and FAST channels.


TVNZ partnered with AWS and Vizrt to modernize its content archive, MAM capability, and enhance content search and discoverability. Easier access to a rich library of content unlocks new opportunities for TVNZ to innovate more quickly. Content storage in the cloud enables TVNZ to enrich viewer experiences and experiment with new ideas while remaining loyal to local audiences as the leading voice for Aotearoa.

Ratan Kumar

Ratan Kumar

Ratan Kumar is a Principal Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services. A trusted technology advisor with over 20 years of experience working across a range of industry domains, Ratan’s passion lies in empowering enterprise customers innovate and transform their business by unlocking the potential of AWS cloud.

Mike Ellis

Mike Ellis

Mike Ellis is an AWS Elemental MediaServices specialist based in Sydney Australia supporting ANZ broadcasters and media organisations with video content processing and streaming workflows running in AWS.