Head of Marketing for Sports and Live
Using its vast experience, approximately 18 months ago, Globecast began a strategic process to explore the market and fully understand the challenges customers face across their digital transformations. In turn, this has allowed Globecast to best position itself to help both new and existing customers as they continue their journey. The result is four key strategic growth initiatives, one of which being media supply chain. So, what do we mean by media supply chain?
Globecast’s media supply chain strategic initiative is designed to ensure that customers get the most from their media via a one-stop shop for cloud playout including 4K live sports, pop-up channels, localisation and disaster recovery, alongside fully orchestrated VOD logistics and asset management. Central to this is the cloud.
Using the cloud
Shakunt Malhotra, MD of Globecast in Asia and the person who is heading up this media supply chain strategy initiative, says, “The cloud plays a very major role across this. Pre-Covid we were helping customers move their content into the cloud. Now, we are helping them move their broadcast workflows into the cloud. What the cloud brings is very quick time-to-market for service launches and great flexibility to add/amend those services, or to create pop-up services as and when required. This is important in helping test new markets and new content ideas quickly and cost-effectively. Alongside this sits our VOD content prep and asset management as well as IP service creation for distribution.”
Malhotra explains that as internet penetration has grown, alongside mobile and tablet technologies, content processing and delivery has had to respond to those changes. “We have seen the growth in the number of platforms and the increasing importance of creating content that’s relevant for each audience,” says Malhotra, adding, “Of course, devices require different content formats to take advantage of their capabilities. We manage the processing and delivery of content based on consumer needs, platform needs and device needs. The cloud is very much at the centre of our overall strategy.”
As content consumers, many of us used to sign multi-year subscriptions with pay-TV operators but that model has changed and now, with the number of content providers out there, we may sign up for a month or two to a service and then move on. Or dip in and out of services as and when we want. This requires new technological models to provide the flexibility required to satisfy these demands.
Malhotra adds, “We work with customers to understand their business and their commercial plans. This may sound glib but it’s crucial. We only develop services, which, as explained, we can now do far faster via the cloud, once we understand what a given customer is trying to achieve.”
AWS Partner Network
Globecast announced earlier this year that it has joined the AWS Partner Network. The company extended its reach with AWS on the product side when it revealed its Globecast Managed Cloud Network (MCN) solution successfully completed AWS’ Foundational Technical Review (FTR). The AWS FTR enables AWS Partners to identify and remediate risks in their products or solutions, providing specific guidelines to adopt cloud best practices designed to reduce risks around security, reliability, and operational excellence, as defined by the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
Real World examples
Globecast began working with Crown Media in 2017 and late last year announced a project where together the companies designed an evolution of Crown’s channels from traditional hardware-based, on-prem playout to a virtual cloud platform. The new platform supports a number of different linear services including both HD and SD for all of the Crown Media channels, as well as OTT variants of the linear product.
The five-year deal solidifies Globecast’s management of the primary playout of both the linear and OTT feeds of the channels, alongside all terrestrial and satellite distribution to MVPDs and VMVPDs. Globecast is also handling the streaming of Hallmark’s TV Everywhere offering to mobile devices.
The company has engineered a completely cloud-based solution in partnership with AWS. Crown Media has its content library managed in the cloud, which feeds into Globecast’s media supply chain. Globecast’s media management solution and automation integrates ready-to-air files to the playlist. The channels are then distributed via satellite and terrestrially from Globecast’s Culver City facility. Hallmark Channels operate with a high degree of operational complexity, having considerable onscreen graphics requirements, and branding changes that occur throughout the year to highlight various holidays and other events.
Earlier this year we also announced that GAC Media, home to GAC Family and GAC Living channels, is using our cloud playout services, along with satellite distribution, to support both networks.
This partnership includes a cloud-hosted content library, video and audio monitoring facilities, terrestrial interconnect, satellite transmission, and encoding for streaming services. Both channels are being broadcast in HD and 24/7 monitoring is taking place at our Culver City location.
Globecast receives content and GAC Media schedules for both channels via AWS S3 peering transfer. The company’s automation pairs content with the broadcast schedule for playback. Graphics such as logos and advanced branding are stored in the cloud and also controlled via the automation. Playout is in MPEG-4 HD and for GAC Living, we uplink to the SES-1 satellite. For GAC Family, the playout is sent via AWS peering and redundant fiber transport to the uplink.
Meanwhile in Asia, beIN ASIA PACFIC has selected Globecast to provide multifaceted media processing and delivery services to the sports provider’s Asia-Pacific division. beIN ASIA PACIFIC is part of beIN MEDIA GROUP and is headquartered in Singapore. It operates in 11 countries across the Asia-Pacific region – Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Singapore. beIN offers a comprehensive line-up of live sporting events through its channel, beIN SPORTS and live streaming app, beIN SPORTS CONNECT. With 15 unique channel feeds, beIN offers fans extensive live sports coverage in Thai, Bahasa, Cantonese and English. beIN SPORTS is available on major pay-TV platforms in the region.
Globecast is providing a wide range of services including cloud and on-prem playout, sports contribution services and content management. The company is also supplying satellite, fibre and IP streaming distribution. Globecast will also host the sports provider’s OTT platform for the region as well as providing the ability to create and distribute pop-up channels as and when required.
Malhotra concludes, “There are many companies that have the cloud at the centre of their strategy but what they simply don’t have is our 30 years of experience of creating channels and managing content, from Tier 1 sports to niche channels. We know how to manage global services, localise channels and manage VOD content because we have done so for years. We have the global infrastructure and highly qualified staff to do so. And quality matters across what we do. Our engineers are trained to work in this new environment: they understand media and the traditional ways of working and now they understand the new cloud world. We are both global and local. The value proposition to our customers is far, far beyond those who simply supply the technology alongside very basic services.”