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Telstra in India: An Exciting Expansion into Media and Sports

By Anna Lockwood, Telstra

Thu 11, 03 2021

We invest so much time and energy in our work that we always seem to leave a little piece of ourselves in every project. Telstra’s recent point of presence (PoP) expansion into India also required tremendous dedication and time commitment from our team, but this one started with a little of me already in it.

Born and raised in India, I have a special personal connection with the country. After university in the United States, I returned to India to start my filmmaking and media technology career and then worked in India for almost 10 years before moving to international roles. Knowing first-hand how strong the appetite for media and entertainment content is in India, our recent Telstra investment in connectivity there made sense for so many business reasons.

For me, above all, this was a passion as well as a work project.

The total Indian media and entertainment industry is growing rapidly, expected to reach around $25.6 billion (USD) with annual average growth of about 3.2% by 2022. Within that total, digital content is king. Consumer preferences are increasingly leaning towards over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms for content consumption, with forecasts calling for India to become the world’s 6th largest OTT streaming market by 2024.

Digital advertising was the second largest medium in India in 2020, with digital ad revenues expected to surpass TV ad revenues in 2021. India’s online gaming and music streaming markets are booming, while direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television viewing also remains strong.

India’s media and broadcast industries are also dealing with major challenges in transforming their network infrastructure because of several factors: the costs of implementing new technologies on aging legacy platforms, managing the integration and interoperability of multiple networking environments, increasing bandwidth requirements, fewer personnel and shrinking budgets.

With all these shifting content and media trends, consumer online activity and changing market dynamics, the time was right for a significant expansion of our Global Media Network (GMN) into India. Our newest GMN PoPs in Mumbai and Chennai enable us to transport content in and out of India across an extensive range of networks. This, in turn, simplifies delivery for the media, broadcast and sports industries and lets us easily connect end customers and broadcasters to the GMN.

Telstra’s long-standing Indian presence

I’m not the only one with a history in India. Telstra has about 25 years of network connectivity experience in India, enabling mid-tier and large Indian and international organizations to more effectively communicate and collaborate with their customers.

Today we have a full in-country team including sales, technology and service operations teams. In the heart of Bangalore’s IT corridor at the Embassy TechVillage sits Telstra’s brand-new, full-service Innovation and Capability Centre (ICC) where we have more than a thousand Telstra employees dedicated to creating the next generation of products and services for Telstra from India.

But we didn’t have any GMN PoPs or endpoints in India until 2020. Our goal is to continually add core sites and customer endpoints to our GMN network, and the Indian market was always a focus. We knew we had customers who needed to get content into India and Indian customers who needed to get content to global audiences.

These two PoPs add a new dimension to our India presence. Now, we can support the delivery of permanent services – the linear channels of scheduled content delivered through broadcast and cable networks or on OTT platforms.  At the same time, we can offer occasional use services for sports, esports and entertainment events.

This expansion opens India up to the larger sports, media and entertainment ecosystem. Yes, we’ve been offering telecommunications and internet connectivity to the Indian market for many years. But the exciting aspect of this investment is that now we also have true solutions and services for the media, entertainment and sports community – combining our investments in technology with our investments in people on the ground in India, specifically in the media and broadcast vertical.

Hitting it for a six

We also have a growing customer base and project list resulting from our expanded capabilities, including our work with international sports rights-holders and broadcasters.

We recently supported a remote production project for the Indian Cricket Tour of Australia, which took place between November 2020 and January 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a broadcast team couldn’t be sent from India to Australia.

Telstra Broadcast Services configured a remote production solution in less than four weeks, providing network and audio services, a local broadcast crew, plus a network engineer on-site for the matches. We used Telstra’s low-latency, high-bandwidth Optical Transport Network (OTN) between Australia and Asia to deliver seven feeds per match back to the broadcaster’s commentators and production crew in Mumbai.

The event was a technological success, seamlessly transporting content in a variety of formats including J2K HD and MPEG4. The India Tour of Australia was also a rating smash in Australia and in India, becoming the most-watched overseas cricket series on any digital platform in India. Congratulations to the Indian Cricket team for their thrilling series victory!

Now if a media or sports company – whether it’s based in the U.S., Britain, Australia or anywhere – needs to get content into India, they can rely on Telstra. If there’s an Indian company that needs to take content to the Indian diaspora or international audiences, with Telstra they can reach new viewers and global markets.  And, if it’s sports-related we can help reach sports fans in India and all over the world.

Maybe I’m biased, but we love working with our Indian customers. They continually push us with their technology savviness, their ability to scale to deliver to Indian audiences and their high expectations for quality. For us, the exciting challenge is constantly figuring out new ways of collaborating and working with our customers and partners in India to say, “OK, how do we do this next step, either from a technology, business or innovation perspective.”

I’m proud to have played a part in bringing the Telstra Global Media Network to India, and it’s been a wonderful homecoming for me!

Find out more about Telstra Broadcast Services.

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