June 15, 2021

Helping Pay TV Operators stay “on the ball” - reducing the effort of live sports streaming

As Europe is gripped by football fever, 24i’s VP Backend Teams & Customer Support, Kimmo Kangas considers how Pay TV operators can reduce their operational headaches and make the most of their live sports streaming rights without increasing their day-to-day stress.

The link between live sports and Pay TV subscriptions is well established, and it’s no wonder that after more than a year of interrupted sporting schedules, operators in Europe are scrambling to make the most of their rights to the pandemic-delayed 2020 UEFA European Championship. Even those who prefer to call it soccer are paying attention to the matches being held across 11 different countries. 

To get the best return on investment for those live sports streaming rights to major events, broadcasters and Pay TV operators typically offer special services - additional channels, the highest quality video streams etc. Our own Pay TV clients are no exception - with some using Euro 2020 as the trigger to launch 4K channel streaming for the first time. 

Beyond the rights negotiations - getting live sports streaming right

Of course, spinning up new live sports streaming channels like this can be a major headache operationally. Adding 4K streams requires new transcoding profiles, adjustments to origin servers, liaison with CDN providers and testing the new streams with the players with each of the different consumer platforms you serve. Depending on rights agreements it may also involve adjustments to DRM profiles. 

For small to medium operators with limited in-house technical support, it can be a significant overhead. But it’s work you can’t afford to skip because there are few things more damaging to a brand than seeing a live sports stream fail just as the big match begins. 

Offloading the technology hassles to a trusted partner

The good news for many of 24i’s Pay TV clients is that they use our end-to-end solutions as a fully managed service, so all the hassle of setting up something like a new 4K channel is offloaded to us. They simply pick up the phone and let us know what to implement and we do the rest. It’s a lifesaver for companies like Youfone and Kabelnoord that don’t have the resources to dedicate engineers to this kind of project. 

And life’s also simpler when it comes to the big match itself, when operators need to act fast to rectify any issues that might impact on service quality for their live sports streams. If you’ve invested in a streaming infrastructure that’s made up of multiple vendors, it’s likely each vendor is only monitoring and supporting their own products. The operator needs their additional resources (internal or external) that understand exactly how all those elements are integrated. They need to monitor not just the individual products but the interfaces between them to ensure that the consumer doesn’t miss a crucial goal. 

Naturally, when operators choose an end-to-end solution that’s fully managed by us - like those based on our Smart Video backend and Smart Apps front-end applications - we have a 360-degree view of all the integration points and can immediately pinpoint any problems and get started on fixing the root cause. In live sports streaming - as in the game itself - every second counts! 
If you’d like to hear more about how 24i’s end-to-end solutions are reducing the headaches of launching and operating streaming services for our Pay TV operator customers, download our whitepaper, Pay TV Doesn’t Have To Be Painful or check out our solutions webpage to download a brochure.

By Kimmo Kangas, VP Backend Teams & Customer Support, 24i

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