Home Analysis Leveraging the cloud for sports streaming scalability

Leveraging the cloud for sports streaming scalability

At IBC 2022, Harmonic showcased its SaaS platform VOS360 – a cloud-neutral, end-to-end solution which gives operators control over content ingest, scheduling, playout, branding, encoding and monetisation of channels. Manuel Ferreira, Vice President of Sales, P&P EMEA believes that the scalability required to stream and monetise live sports is best achieved by service providers using the cloud. He argues that VOS360 gives content owners the opportunity to test whether creating FAST channels around niche content will be able to attract advertisers, without significant CapEx investment.

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At IBC 2022, Harmonic showcased its SaaS platform VOS360 – a cloud-neutral, end-to-end solution which gives operators control over content ingest, scheduling, playout, branding, encoding and monetisation of channels. Manuel Ferreira, Vice President of Sales, P&P EMEA believes that the scalability required to stream and monetise live sports is best achieved by service providers using the cloud.

He said: “One area in which we are growing very quickly is sports streaming. Streaming live sports events is a perfect fit for the cloud because you need to scale rapidly to be able to broadcast to millions of viewers that connect at the exact same time. One minute you go from zero people to –  boom! – millions of viewers. You also need to scale digital ad insertion (DAI) for targeted advertising.”

According to Ferreira, by leveraging VOS360, operators can offer linear channels which can be scaled quickly by cloud providers. In addition to this, he believes the VOS360 video pipeline fits sports streaming perfectly because this particular use case requires high quality video compression: “We invest a lot to make sure our video compression meets those needs, and we have many customers using VOS360 for sports streaming.”

Ferreira also expressed his belief that sports would continue to migrate from traditional broadcast to streaming. This is partly due to the capacity to personalise viewer experiences through D2C services. He said: “With sports streaming there is a lot you can do to personalise – not just ads but also the data and stats that are provided to viewers.

“You can imagine, during the Olympics for example, there are regions where the swimming events are extremely important, and you know viewers in those regions would prefer information relating to swimming to be presented on-screen over tennis. If you have many events in parallel you can use that information target certain regions/countries based on what they want to see on average.”

Harmonic currently has over 100 customers using VOS360 and while a large portion use the SaaS for streaming, Ferreira noted that, over the last year, a growing number had been using the cloud for more traditional broadcast workflows.

He believes this has occurred because many operators have initially used the cloud for streaming, and through this experience come to understand there is no technical drawback “from a time perspective and a resiliency perspective” to deploying in the cloud. While scalability is not a significant issue for traditional broadcast workflows, moving to the clould allows them to simplify and unify their operations.

Ferreira also argued that service providers and content owners can use the cloud to test whether FAST channels centered around niche content can attract investment, without making CapEx investments.

He remarked: “Lets take the example of people who own martial arts content – something quite niche. You can upload this content into the cloud and create a linear channel distributed by a FAST service. If it succeeds, you can continue and deliver more martial arts content. If it doesn’t succeed, you wouldn’t made any CapEx investments to deploy that specific channel. At that point, it becomes easy to create a linear channel and test whether you are able to attract advertising.”


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