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Aspera: Unleashing the power of cloud for live events

12 September 2014

As consumers have embraced new technology and devices that have influenced their viewing habits, broadcasters and content owners are looking to stay ahead of their growing demand to view content anytime, anywhere and on any device. Live event broadcasting is evolving in strides with breakthrough technologies and IT infrastructures that enable both new viewing experiences for consumers as well as new monetisation opportunities for broadcasters and content owners.

A prime example is this year’s World Cup football tournament, which broke television viewing records in several countries around the world. With over half the global audience expected to watch coverage online, broadcasters and technology vendors came together to create a revolutionary cloud-based content delivery workflow that enabled viewers to consume live HD media in ways they never have before.

For the first time in history, the World Cup introduced a large-scale system for high-resolution end-to-end live streaming in the cloud to second screens. Live video feeds from up to 24 cameras were transferred in realtime using high-performance WAN transport from the stadiums in Brazil to the cloud platform in Europe for realtime processing into multiple formats and bit rates through a scale-out cloud video platform. These were then delivered to broadcasters, who were able to live stream multiple feeds as well as offer video-on-demand coverage from up to 24 camera angles.

With 243 different live streams per match, amounting to 2,799,360 minutes of encoded streams, high-speed file transfer technology including cloud storage transfer capability was critical to delivering consistent transfer of the live feeds despite heavy round-trip latency and packet loss.

Instead of having to settle for one live TV feed, consumers were able to enjoy live and near-live coverage of the games from any laptop or mobile device with optimised viewing, and from multiple camera angles. And rather than having to rely on just one live stream from the game’s central production site, broadcasters had access to all the live camera feeds from the game, giving them far greater freedom in what online live streaming and edited content they could distribute.

The World Cup set a new record for the most video content streamed as football fans accessed live content online in greater numbers than ever before. 24 million unique users watched some 15 million hours of content.

The white-label second-screen app was downloaded more than 10 million times in more than 20 territories, with up to three million fans accessing videos, statistics and live match content each day.
As the biggest multimedia sporting event in history, the World Cup has set a precedent for the industry. By unleashing the power and scale of cloud video processing, live events can be broadcast in radically new ways, satisfying both consumer demands, and broadcasters’ and content owners’ desires for new revenue opportunities.

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