By Chris Pulis, CTO, Globecast Americas
At Globecast we’ve recently spent a considerable amount of time looking at the global market, assessing and understanding market pressures and therefore business and technical requirements for both existing and new customers. We’ve used our vast experience and global reach to do so. There will be more soon on this strategy appraisal and what it means for the future. But to put this blog in context, cloud playout forms a key part of our Media Supply Chain toolkit of technologies, alongside playout more widely – including pop-up channels, VOD logistics, content localization and asset management.
This blog will look at two Globecast cloud playout customer use cases, but before we get to that, I must mention an important recent announcement we made with AWS (Amazon Web Services), crucial to our use of the cloud.
Working with AWS
We recently announced that Globecast has joined the AWS Partner Network. We continue to extend our reach with AWS on the product side when we revealed our Globecast Managed Cloud Network (MCN) solution has 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.
As my colleague Sebastien Fauzan, Head of Marketing for Live and Sports at Globecast, said, “We’re very pleased to achieve AWS Partner status. We have worked with AWS across our media supply chain services, including major cloud playout projects with Crown Media and GAC Family. Globecast MCN is the first service of ours to complete the FTR. AWS comprehensively evaluated the services we can provide with MCN, closely examining the design, build and the way it’s operated.”
And now, let’s take a look at the two real world examples of cloud playout that Sebastien mentioned above. Before I do so, those who want to take a detailed look at our approach to cloud playout and the workings behind it, there’s an article I wrote for the IABM that will fill you in.
Crown Media and cloud playout
Globecast began working with Crown Media in 2017 and together on this recent project 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.
Globecast 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.
How GAC is working with Globecast and the cloud
Earlier this year we 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. 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 (formerly RIDE TV) is the unscripted companion to GAC Family that celebrates Great American family-friendly traditions every day and every season. Prior to rebranding as GAC Living, RIDE TV enlisted Globecast’s services to manage its playout and satellite distribution.
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.
We receive content and GAC Media schedules for both channels via AWS S3 peering transfer. Our 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.
We also have a third new cloud playout customer, details of which we’re going to announce shortly! Globecast’s channel origination services are exclusively in the cloud now so get in touch with us to find out how we can help you as digital transformation continues around the world.