Premium TV has deployed Telestream's FlipFactory and GraphicsFactory workflow automation products on its Barclays Premier League football coverage. The company delivers in-match, near-live branded football highlight clips, delayed highlights and other programming within minutes of games to mobile and broadband licensees outside of the UK. The first matches were successfully delivered on schedule in August using an array of five Telestream workflow automation systems, writes Andy Stout.
"Fulfilment of this contract would not have been possible without the unique capabilities of Telestream's GraphicsFactory which adds complex graphics as part of the encoding process and enables us to meet our delivery deadline," said Andy Measham, COO at Premium TV. "We are extremely pleased with the performance and flexibility of encoding with the FlipFactory engine and with the fantastic customer and technical support provided by Telestream and Boxer to deliver this new service in a very short time."
Premium TV has many years experience capturing, encoding, preparing and distributing video and audio content for client websites. In early 2007 it purchased an array of multiple Telestream FlipFactory server software systems to improve the efficiency and automation of its encoding services. These servers were supplied and installed by Boxer Systems Ltd, and managed from Premium TV's own production management system through controls written by in-house programmers using the FlipFactory SDK.
When Premium TV won the Barclays Premier League contract in June 2007, it turned to Telestream to meet the challenge. It expanded its implementation to five GraphicsFactory systems, powered by five FlipFactories, working as one load-balanced group with Telestream's FactoryArray software to provide failover protection and database mirroring.
The agreement required that Premium TV capture games live, edit and produce 4-6 in-match highlight clips plus half-time and full-time round-ups for each game, add XML game details, insert bumpers and trailers to brand the highlights, encode the finished clips to over 60 different versions of 3GP, Windows Media and Flash and deliver the files to over 50 mobile and broadband distribution licensees - all within minutes of goals or major game events and round-ups. According to Measham: "The implementation was completed on-schedule for the first day of the Barclays Premier League season and performed extremely well."
"Premium TV is an excellent example of a customer that is taking full advantage of the range of workflow automation functions wrapped around our FlipFactory transcoding engine, to not only minimise labour cost, but actually enable distribution of branded content to dozens of customers in timeframes previously unthinkable," said David Heppe, President & COO at Telestream. "Their application leverages our market leading format depth, encoding speed, reliability and scalability to achieve outstanding results. We're proud to be participating with Premium TV in the prestigious Barclays Premier League project."
GraphicsFactory puts a front and back end on each clip which includes Barclays Premier League logo and text. Telestream's MetaFlip technology has proved extremely helpful getting XML data to Premium TV's clients. MetaFlip enables Premium TV to quickly tailor XML data for each of its clients, so that the providers, and ultimately the viewers, receive a full set of data along with the video (scores, scorers etc). The next phase in the project is to add branding for the telecom providers, and then to extend that offer to include local branding and advertising.
Premium TV has also been an early user of Telestream's newly integrated Flash 8 encoder in FlipFactory. "The integrated On2 Flash encoder has given us significant quality and speed advantages over the standard Flix Exporter available directly from On2," added Measham.
The entire production process is controlled by Premium TV's own Java-based production management system which instructs the GraphicsFactory servers through XML messages written using the FlipFactory SDK. According to Measham: "The SDK is fantastic. It provides a level of flexibility and control of the encoding process that far exceeds anything we've seen in other SDKs. Our developers loved working with it."
FlipFactory is also used in the production of user-generated media which is uploaded by viewers to Premium TV for music, football and comedy websites. FlipFactory automatically encodes, processes, and delivers the files in the required formats and resolutions.
Premium TV's expansion plans include more Telestream workflow automation products which they plan to use exclusively to support an increase from over 50 to more than 80 mobile companies worldwide by the end of this year.