In a bid to transform content production and align it more closely with developing remote working models WPP and Microsoft Corp. have announced a partnership that begins with the launch of a new platform that’s been dubbed “Cloud Studio.”
Developed on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, it allows creative teams across WPP’s global network to produce campaigns for clients from anywhere remotely.
According to the companies it’s Adland’s first platform for virtual production that shifts content creation, production and editing from on-premises environments to the cloud.
Over the next three years, WPP will roll out Cloud Studio to 5,000 employees across its network within WPP’s creative production operation Hogarth. They’ll have the ability to access production tools and services from standard internet-connected devices via Azure.
Longer term, WPP plans to expand the platform more broadly, with a potential deployment of up to 25,000 users.
“The pandemic has shown how WPP teams can successfully collaborate to create extraordinary work for our clients, all while being physically apart,” said WPP CEO Mark Read. “Partnering with Microsoft on Cloud Studio is the next step in our journey to arm creative teams with the latest in cutting-edge production tools, and draw upon the best talent, regardless of where they are.”
Cloud Studio further supports WPP’s wider sustainability agenda by offering greater efficiency and minimizing energy consumption. It reduces creative teams’ need for traditional high-energy-use production studios to deliver quality marketing content at scale. The platform will also reduce wasted materials and unused collateral from previous shoots.
Azure will enable WPP to scale up and down its storage needs as new client projects begin and end, cutting costs by utilizing more cost-efficient cloud storage once a project is archived. Also, WPP will pilot the use of new Surface devices, including Surface Pro 7, Surface Go 2, Surface Book 3 and Surface Duo.
The production cloud project is just the latest collaboration between the two companies. Microsoft Teams is WPP’s go-to virtual meeting platform across its 100,000-person workforce. WPP also recently worked with Microsoft’s Azure AI services team to incorporate accessibility and inclusivity checks into client work as it is created.
Cindy Rose, Microsoft CEO UK joined the WPP board in 2019.