Video: Pay TV operators OTT D2C strategies

Direct to consumer (D2C) strategies have become all the rage in streaming producing Paramount+, Disney+ and Disovery+ from a list of many more. What is it that broadcasters are capitalising on by doing this and how do they get on with their rivals and partners, the telcos? This panel from Dataxis, moderated by Julian Clover probes to find out more.

Lydia Fairfax who leads partnerships for Discovery+ starts by saying that the strategy is to maintain the investment in linear channels, which have just seen their strongest Q1 ratings. This is done by working the budgets for linear alongside an incremental budget for Discovery+ which allows them to mirror their younger demographic by producing shows for that demographic which can then be trialled on the linear channels to understand what content will carry well. This is all part of a bid to ensure that Discovery+ content can have a life on linear so that investment is also not wasted. Work is ongoing to see whether showing the first episode of new content on a free to air (FTA) channel first and driving viewers to Discovery+ is a good way forward to whether releasing to FTA after an initial Discovery+ exclusivity window is the best way to maximise the value of content.



Antonella Dominici from TIMvision explains the role of TIMvision as, for the most part, an aggregator that works with big names like Discovery, Eurosport, Sky and many others to deliver a sophisticated offering to its Italian audience. Making its own content as well, Antonella explains they aren’t going up against Netflix, rather they are seeing specific niches in Italian TV and filling them with their original content. However, another USP over streaming giants is that they also deliver the major linear channels that Italians watch such as Sky Italy and RAI.

A different perspective is offered by Bulsatcom CEO Stanislav Georgiev. Now 21 years old, it’s well known in Bulgaria as a DTH platform and it’s Stanislav’s job, he says to make their OTT offering a major part of their business. They have the benefit of being a trusted brand and Stanislav sees their role as almost purely an aggregator. Turning to a question on the continued relevance of STBs, he says that the set-top box brings ‘order to the chaos’

The STB is still very much present, says Peter Røder Lristensen of 24i and whilst Android TV is growing both in STBs and on TVs, Peter says it’s not a matter of choosing the best, rather you need to be on every device else you’re not relevant. STBs have their benefits, Lydia reinforces, allowing broadcasters to push their brand and offer a shortcut from their linear channels direct to the Discovery+ app using the red button. Antonella says that she sees the STB catering to the ‘lean back’ viewers who much more want to be guided as to what to watch. She says that people who know what they want will just go into the app and search for it. Peter adds that creating consistency and integration across all the devices is key including using Google Voice as a starting point.

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Lydia Fairfax Lydia Fairfax
SVP, Head of Commercial Partnerships, EMEA
Antonella Dominici Antonella Dominici
Vice President TIMVISION & Entertainment Products
Peter Røder Kristensen Peter Røder Kristensen
Product Management,
Stanislav Georgiev Stanislav Georgiev
Julian Clover Julian Clover
Broadband TV News

Video: AES67 Over Wide Area Networks

AES67 is a widely adopted standard for moving PCM audio from place to place. Being a standard, it’s ideal for connecting equipment together from different vendors and delivers almost zero latency, lossless audio from place to place. This video looks at use cases for moving AES from its traditional home on a company’s LAN to the WAN.

Discovery’s Eurosport Technology Transformation (ETT) project is a great example of the compelling use case for moving to operations over the WAN. Eurosport’s Olivier Chambin explains that the idea behind the project is to centralise all the processing technology needed for their productions spread across Europe feeding their 60 playout channels.

Control surfaces and some interface equipment is still necessary in the European production offices and commentary points throughout Europe, but the processing is done in two data centres, one in the Netherlands, the other in the UK. This means audio does need to travel between countries over Discovery’s dual MPLS WAN using IGMPv3 multicast with SSM

From a video perspective, the ETT project has adopted 2110 for all essences with NMOS control. Over the WAN, video is sent as JPEG XS but all audio links are 2022-7 2110-30 with well over 10,000 audio streams in total. Timing is done using PTP aware switches with local GNSS-derived PTP with a unicast-over-WAN as a fallback. For more on PTP over WAN have a look at this RTS webinar and this update from Meinberg’s Daniel Boldt.



Bolstering the push for standards such as AES67 is self-confessed ‘audioholic’ Anthony P. Kuzub from Canada’s CBC. Chair of the local AES section he makes the point that broadcast workflows have long used AES standards to ensure vendor interoperability from microphones to analogue connectors, from grounding to MADI (AES10). This is why AES67 is important as it will ensure that the next generation of equipment can also interoperate.

Surrounding these two case studies is a presentation from Nicolas Sturmel all about the AES SC-02-12-M working group which aims to define the best ways of working to enable easy use of AES67 on the WAN. The key issue here is that AES67 was written expecting short links on a private network that you can completely control. Moving to a WAN or the internet with long-distance links on which your bandwidth or choice of protocols is limited can make AES67 perform badly if you don’t follow the best practices.

To start with, Nicolas urges anyone to check they actually need AES67 over the WAN to start with. Only if you need precise timing (for lip-sync for example) with PCM quality and low latencies from 250ms down to as a little as 5 milliseconds do you really need AES67 instead of using other protocols such as ACIP, he explains. The problem being that any ping on the internet, even to something fairly close, can easily take 16 to 40ms for the round trip. This means you’re guaranteed 8ms of delay, but any one packet could be as late as 20ms known as the Packet Delay Variation (PDV).

Not only do we need to find a way to transmit AES67, but also PTP. The Precise Time Protocol has ways of coping for jitter and delay, but these don’t work well on WAN links whether the delay in one direction may be different to the delay for a packet in the other direction. PTP also isn’t built to deal with the higher delay and jitter involved. PTP over WAN can be done and is a way to deliver a service but using a GPS receiver at each location, as Eurosport does, is a much better solution only hampered by cost and one’s ability to see enough of the sky.

The internet can lose packets. Given a few hours, the internet will nearly always lose packets. To get around this problem, Nicolas looks at using FEC whereby you are constantly sending redundant data. FEC can send up to around 25% extra data so that if any is lost, the extra information sent can be leveraged to determine the lost values and reconstruct the stream. Whilst this is a solid approach, computing the FEC adds delay and the extra data being constantly sent adds a fixed uplift on your bandwidth need. For circuits that have very few issues, this can seem wasteful but having a fixed percentage can also be advantageous for circuits where a predictable bitrate is much more important. Nicolas also highlights that RIST, SRT or ST 2022-7 are other methods that can also work well. He talks about these longer in his talk with Andreas Hildrebrand

The video concludes with a Q&A.

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Nicolas Sturmel Nicolas Sturmel
Product Manager – Senior Technologist,
Merging Technologies
Anthony P. Kuzub Anthony P. Kuzub
Senior Systems Designer,
CBC/Radio Canada
Olivier Chambin Olivier Chambin
Audio Broadcast Engineer, AioP and Voice-over-IP
Eurosport Discovery

Video: Global Delivery of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Eurosport hold the European rights to the Olympics from 2018 until 2024. Owned by Discovery Inc., Eurosport had a big challenge to bring the Olympics to so many countries in so many languages.

In this talk, Tine Austvoll Jensen, CEO of Discovery Norway, presents the key numbers and take-aways from the successful coverage the Winter Olympics. Presented at Northern Waves in Oslo 2018.

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Requires free registration.


Tine Jensen Tine Jensen
Discovery Networks Norway

On Demand Webinar: Project On Ramp: Migrating Discovery’s Media Supply Chain to the Cloud

Over the last few years, the emergence of new technology and the sheer volumes of new programming content to be processed and delivered had presented many challenges for Discovery Communications. To address these, Discovery decided to re-evaluate and re-design their media supply chain, choosing a cloud-based model, enabled by companies such as Amazon Web Services and SDVI. This webinar presents how Discovery designed and deployed their virtualized media supply chain, with insights into the challenges they faced, how they selected their partners, and the significant cost and operations benefits that they are now achieving.

With Speakers Josh Derby, Vice President, Technology and Development & Strategy, Discovery Communications
Bhavik Vyas, Global Alliances & Segment Leader – Media and Entertainment, AWS
Brian Pelletier, Products & Solutions, SDVI

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