We are living in a hybrid world; a world where the realities of headline subjects like remote production, and remote operations more generally, and the cloud are coming to the fore as customers work their way through where the benefits lie and where their use is appropriate for them.
Many of our customers have reorganised themselves internally to be able to manage operations remotely, or parts of them remotely. Of course, the pandemic did increase the drive to put in place the tools and processes to be able to use remote workflows. This is not an easy thing to achieve. This then led to the realization by customers that their operations can be managed this way. To put it simply, it works.
There is another point to this and that is the maturing of cloud solutions that we have all seen, especially with AWS. We announced earlier this year that we have joined the AWS Partner Network. We gradually extended our reach with AWS on the service side when we revealed our 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. This is defined by the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
Cloud playout takes center stage
In January, we announced that GAC Media, home to GAC Family and GAC Living channels, has chosen our market-leading cloud playout services, along with satellite distribution, to support both networks.
GAC Family and GAC Living launched in September 2021 as new destinations for family-friendly programming. GAC Family (formerly Great American Country) debuted under the tagline “Stories Well Told” and features family-friendly, holiday movies and series that celebrate American culture, lifestyle and heritage. GAC Living is the unscripted companion to GAC Family that celebrates Great American family-friendly traditions every day and every season.
The agreement includes storage controlled by automation with video and audio monitoring facilities, terrestrial interconnect, satellite transmission, and encoding for streaming services. Both channels are being broadcast in HD and 24/7 with full monitoring.
We receive content for both channels via internal cloud and accelerated data transport technology with GAC Media schedules sent via the same technology. All content received by us is quality control checked and tightly monitored to ensure it is technically correct. We uplink the GAC Living channel to the SES-1 satellite in MPEG-4 HD format and is compressing the GAC Family channel’s signal for IP transport via fiber. Graphics such as logos and advanced branding are stored in the cloud and controlled via automation.
We revealed another cloud playout customer very recently in the form of EarthxTV, a newly launched 24/7 linear channel to provide cloud playout for the linear TV channel and distribution to MVPDs across the US. EarthxTV is a global TV network promoting the environment and sustainability. Tune into unique and exclusive entertaining shows from travel, to food, animals, community and more. EarthxTV offers entertaining original programming, inspiring conversations with world leaders and award-winning films. Media that matters, celebrating the people, places, creatures and cultures that make our planet worth protecting.
As it does with all of the channels it originates in the US, we are orchestrating the EarthxTV playback entirely in the cloud then delivering the linear channel signal via fiber and satellite to MVPDs. Cloud-hosted content is used to deploy FAST and pop-up channels for virtual MVPDs and OTT providers. As mentioned above, our cloud services are powered by AWS.
Rajan Singh, EVP of Global Distribution at EarthxTV said, “With EarthxTV being a newly launched linear network, our priority was finding a media services partner that fully understands what we want to achieve, the importance of it and can provide a technically elegant playout workflow that’s flexible and cost-effective. Globecast talked us through all the options and we were very impressed with their knowledge and expertise in cloud playout, especially with EarthxTV being new to linear.”
A sporting chance
In June, we revealed that beIN ASIA PACIFIC has chosen us for fully managed media services including playout and OTT platform hosting.
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.
We’re supplying a wide range of services including cloud and on-prem playout, sports contribution services and content management. We’re also providing satellite, fiber and IP streaming distribution. We are also hosting 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.
Place your bets
At IBC, we announced that international horse racing channel, Equidia, has chosen our Managed Cloud Network (MCN) service, plus encoding, to greatly increase the choice and flexibility of what content can be aired by which affiliates, highly cost-effectively.
Equidia, through its B2B Equidia Pro service, delivers 39 international channels to owner PMU’s affiliates. It has been a Globecast customer for the past 20 years, using SNG contribution services across France alongside international distribution capabilities. These include satellite distribution to Europe, fiber to the UK and Globecast XN for internet delivery to Asia and South America.
Equidia has deployed Globecast MCN in order to expand the amount of content available and to easily select which affiliates receive what content. It’s tailored for sports broadcasters and rights holders and provides Equidia with highly cost-effective, secure, cloud-based distribution. Using a simple and clear UI, the channel can easily add new affiliates and can modify feeds to them and existing customers on a rights-held basis, even per race, without the additional cost of more fiber or satellite capacity. It’s also low latency, which is vital for horse racing as most bets are placed in the last 10 seconds prior to the start of the race.
Globecast MCN is another prime example of our global partnership with AWS, with the cloud technology integral to the success of the solution.
Return to Le Grand Raid
Lastly, but by no means least, 2022 saw us return to Le Réunion, working with Réunion la 1ère and France Télévisions to bring the 30th anniversary of the ultra-trail race Le Grand Raid de la Réunion 2022 to viewers around the world in 4K.
Le Grand Raid de la Réunion 2022, which celebrated its 30th anniversary, is recognised as one of the hardest ultra-trail races in the world. It consists of four races designed for different levels, from La Diagonale des Fous for the most expert to the Mascareignes, Le parcours du Trail de Bourbon and the Zembrocal Trail relay.
During the 2021 edition, Réunion la 1ère, France Télévisions and Globecast had successfully completed a 4K contribution/distribution and 5G contribution trial at the finish line and a live 4K pop-up channel using cloud playout. For this year’s anniversary event, we chose Solution RF as our partner to acquire the content using Ultra-HD and HD hybrid video acquisition and HF transmission. Multiple cameras, including a drone, were deployed at the event start in addition to the broadcaster’s own cameras/feeds. A native 4K production unit was deployed by Réunion la 1ère at the start site. The finish line feeds were produced remotely on the island from Technopole.
The course also offers many other opportunities to capture the dramatic action as it happens. We partnered with Orange to provide all the 5G and 4G mobile communication modules that allowed Réunion la 1ère to capture full HD footage of the athletes on the course during the race.
Once the content was received in Paris using fibre-based Internet, it was then uploaded to France Télévisions which operated an event channel for four days 24 hours a day. Globecast managed the global channel supply chain to France Télévisions affiliates – DTT with TDF, Eutelsat satellite and Orange’s platform. In France mainland, the pop-up channel was distributed on multiple platforms, including DTT with TDF, Eutelsat for the DTT-by-satellite platform FRANSAT Ultra HD, Nordnet, Orange, OrneTHD and Vialis.
As you can see, we are dedicated to being able to operate cloud playout, media management, encryption and so on in the cloud, and integrate processing in the cloud to create the flexible and quick time-to-market services required in today’s world. This has been a very interesting year and we look forward to 2023!