Live content sharing between media companies has created issues, not least of which is the desire to maintain and promote an onscreen brand. Having your own, instantly recognisable reporters plus, for example, microphone branding, has held sway. Of course, there have also been considerable technical and business case issues. But this is no longer the situation.
Pål R Hansen, head of operations, VGTV in Norway, says, “Even until quite recently, media companies held on very tightly to their content, but the media landscape is continuing to change rapidly. Broadcasters haven’t really wanted to use others’ content, mainly for branding reasons. Now everyone has realised that if we’re going to survive then we have to work together.”
So where does LiveU, a company specialising in cellular bonding technology, fit into this? If customers have a LiveU portable transmission unit with a camera in the field, they can transmit from that backpack to a receiving server. That is a one-to-one relationship. In the past, customers asked LiveU if it was possible to send to more than one server concurrently. But that wasn’t possible because of the one-to-one relationship.
This has now changed with the development of LiveU’s MultiPoint. It allows users to take the feed that’s received at their LiveU server and publish it to other LiveU servers – making the live content available to others. It’s about easy, live video content sharing.
Of course you can do this by fibre or satellite, but how can you distribute broadcast quality, live content using generic internet connections? Previously there was the issue of resiliency. LiveU Reliable Transport (LRT) protocol, central to MultiPoint, overcomes that problem.
VGTV, which operates a linear TV channel, is part of the Norwegian Schibsted Media Group is now using MultiPoint as a fundamental part of its set-up. As the name implies, Schibsted owns multiple media outlets, some of which were also LiveU customers prior to the deployment of MultiPoint. This meant that there were already LiveU servers in place, including newspapers Bergen Tidende, Aftenposten and Stavanger Aftenblad. Although there was a loose collaboration of separate customers all doing their own thing, Hansen says that content sharing within the group needed to increase in volume and efficiency.
If there’s a breaking news story in Stavanger, for example, how does VGTV, get that content? If Stavanger Aftenblad covers a breaking news story, normally it would send that content to its receiving server. MultiPoint allows the newspaper to take the content that arrives at the receiving server and make it available for other subscribers.
However, for both hardware resources and bandwidth reasons, using Stavanger’s LiveU server to do this is not an efficient or scalable solution.
So instead of sending its feed to the Stavanger server, the newspaper sends the backpack feed to a cloud-based server that LiveU hosts. This is not restricted by CPU resources or data feed capacity issues. This acts as the distributor, and is managed in LiveU’s Central cloud-based management platform.
Hansen continues, “We mainly work with breaking news. MultiPoint provides the ability to work faster and more efficiently. Now, without being there ourselves, we can rely on our partners in the other major cities to share their live video. Just a few weeks ago we had a major incident with a crashed helicopter just outside Bergen. Bergen Steiner Aftenposten moved very quickly and we received live pictures via them. MultiPoint is very convenient and reliable – it simply works all the time.”