In Broadcast - November 2014 - 76

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 37 - NOVEMBER 2014

N E W S

InFORM

Connectivity - Top Of The Agenda

For content providers and broadcasters, connectivity is a crucial element of any content network
strategy, not least to meet consumer expectations...

By Anthony Kingsnorth
COO, Custom Connect

T

76

he content distribution market
is undergoing a massive shift
as it continues its inexorable
journey towards the Internet and
away from traditional broadcast
channels. For media organisations,
broadcasters and content delivery
network operators the changes
present a challenge, not just in
meeting consumer expectations,
but also maintaining commercial
sustainability, competitiveness and
scaling to meet future technological
demands.
With content increasingly being
digitised, the Internet has become
the distribution channel of choice. Its
flexibility allows consumers to watch
what they want, when they want
on a multitude of devices. Media
organisations have to adapt to this
new world order by customising their
offerings while still ensuring value for
advertisers. It is a major challenge
that needs addressing.
Perhaps most significant is
the unremitting demand for high
quality content. Software Defined
Networking will grow as content
producers increasingly interact

directly with customers, but they will
be expected to deliver exceptional
quality broadcasting, which in
turn puts more pressure on the
already over-burdened network
infrastructure.

Meeting Challenges
The recent FIFA World Cup is
a perfect example of how the
broadcast landscape has changed.
For most leading Content Delivery
Network (CDN) operators, it was the
largest sporting event ever delivered
in terms of total video traffic volume.
For the broadcasters who rely on
the network to deliver smooth, high
quality video to customers, there
is now the concern that Internet
connections will be unable to meet
future demands.
Not only do they have to ensure
the video is jitter and freeze-free, but
it must also start immediately on the
customer's device of choice. Any
delay will see customers abandoning
the service and migrating directly to
a competitor.
Content, particularly in an
international environment, has

Consumers expect a high Quality of Service

to travel long distances - from
the original source in the data
centre via the CDN, through the
ISP network, eventually to the
customer. For syndication, the
content publisher has to publish and
distribute the content from various
parties, which adds an additional
layer of complexity. At every stage
connectivity must be high performing
and offer sufficient capacity.
Whilst content providers are at the
mercy of the final link in the chain -
the end-user's own internet access
- they can control other stages in
the process which means they can
source solutions to help. Google
and Netflix are managing content
delivery well, but other providers
could, for example, look at lowlatency, high-bandwidth technology
in other time-sensitive sectors,
like financial services. Like media
publishers, financial traders lose
revenue if a connection fails. The
similarities are obvious.

Matching Connectivity
To ensure they have the right
connectivity, content providers
need to look at their business
objectives, how connectivity
influences them, and also pay
careful attention to global regulation.
To reduce risk and manage costs,
it is also crucial to determine the
connectivity needed for each
application category.

CDNs delivering video content
in several languages and formats
should have their own connectivity
profiles. It is worth noting that
the average latency of a standard
transatlantic connection is 60-80ms,
which is suitable for enterprise
applications, but much too slow
for media distribution. Assessing
these issues will help content
providers to establish the bandwidth
required and the effect of latency on
customers' application usage.

Assessing Options
It is difficult for content providers
to ensure that the infrastructure
between consumer locations, data
centres and partners is of the
highest standard, particularly if they
have multiple international locations.
Implementation of 'Five-9s'
(99.999%) availability is highly
challenging in more than one
country. By using a large global
carrier, providers' needs are not
necessarily met, but an independent
specialist can implement a flexible
infrastructure that will cater for their
specific requirements, and the best
of these will also be able to react
positively to industry changes.
Another option is content delivery
from the 'outside world', which
means either doing it yourself or
outsourcing. Outsourcing through
strong CDNs such as Akamai,
Amazon, CloudFlare or Google
is often cost effective. It delivers
unrivalled operational reliability and
can shorten the time-to-market for
new services.
In the US, content providers are
increasingly turning to the pay-peruse model, which allows them to
pay for the actual bandwidth used,
not the capacity. ln Europe many
legacy carriers find it difficult to set
up billing systems to accommodate
this concept, and a hybrid model
is becoming more common: 50%
of the peak load dimensioned
bandwidth is bought and actual
usage invoiced. For media providers
this is a critical development, which
supports unexpectedly large peaks
in usage, prompted by the release
of highly anticipated content or
major news items.
Connectivity should be at the
top of the agenda for all content
network strategies, dovetailing with
the business plan to ensure effective
risk management, cost efficiency
and perhaps most importantly in
this fast-moving sector, customer
satisfaction.


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In Broadcast - November 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - November 2014

In Broadcast - November 2014 - Intro
In Broadcast - November 2014 - Cover1
In Broadcast - November 2014 - Cover2
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 3
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 4
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 5
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 6
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 7
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 8
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 9
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 10
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 11
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 12
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 13
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 14
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 15
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 16
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 17
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 18
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 19
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 20
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 21
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 22
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 23
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 24
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 25
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 26
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 27
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 28
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In Broadcast - November 2014 - 30
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 31
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 32
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 33
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 34
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 35
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In Broadcast - November 2014 - 37
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 38
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 39
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In Broadcast - November 2014 - 43
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In Broadcast - November 2014 - 79
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 80
In Broadcast - November 2014 - 81
In Broadcast - November 2014 - Cover4
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S1
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S2
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S3
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S4
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S5
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S6
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S7
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S8
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S9
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S10
In Broadcast - November 2014 - S11
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