Starting next month GlobeCast, DTH distributor of specialized programming to ethnic markets worldwide, will be delivering its multi-lingual services to customer in North America via the Internet, with plans to extend the use of the over-the-top mode of delivery globally. In so doing, the company is enabling multiscreen access to its service, extending its reach and freeing itself from traditional satellite capacity cost considerations that hamper its ability to continually expand its programming options.
Dubbed “MyGlobeTV,” the new service is designed to meet the growing demand of consumers for anytime-anywhere viewing on any connected device, says Emma Brackett, vice president of consumer products and services at GlobeCast. “To ensure a seamless move in this direction, we needed a partner with proven experience in the broadcast and broadband environment,” she adds.
Irdeto, working with other partners, is providing an end-to-end solution that includes a robust content ingestion, delivery and management system; encoding; security, and customer care. “At launch, content will be available on connected TVs via the MyGlobeTV set-top box, Brackett says. “The deployment of a MyGlobeTV app will follow soon after to enable anytime-anywhere viewing on any connected device.”
Globecast and Irdeto have been talking since late 2010 about the possibilities of applying next-generation technology to create a TV-caliber service of this nature, says Richard Frankland, Irdeto’s vice president of sales in the Americas. Over that time Irdeto has been honing its skills in workflow management and integration with third-party suppliers while leveraging the unique strengths of its ActiveCloak content protection regime to win business in the Tier 1 and 2 service provider markets.
Other recent wins include Rogers Communications in Canada, which is using the Irdeto publishing support and protection mechanisms to expand its TV Everywhere offerings, and Italian broadcaster Reti Televise Italiene (RTI), which is using Irdeto’s ActiveCloak for Media solution to secure and deliver video on demand and premium live streaming content to iPads and iPhones.
Rogers, as it has expanded its offering to include live as well as on demand to Apple iOS and Android devices, wanted to move to a single protection framework that would enable support for DRM formats specific to targeted devices, Frankland notes. “They were working with another publisher,” he comments, “but when they expanded their offering they looked to a different type of solution. It’s been very encouraging to us.”
But nobody among Irdeto’s customers has been as aggressive in committing to OTT delivery as Globecast, Frankland says. “They wanted to turn OTT into the primary delivery mechanism,” he adds. “So their use of our platform is very broad in scope whereas most service providers are looking at various pieces of our solutions.”
Working with other partners who are supplying the encoding, CDN and device-specific DRMs, Irdeto is able to integrate those types of solutions into its workflow management system and to deliver the DRMs with additional security mechanisms via the ActiveCloak renewable security system. “Workflow management is our key competence,” Frankland notes. “Our ability to support multiple DRMs like [Microsoft] PlayReady, [Google] Widevine and Adobe Flash Access is an enormously valuable beachhead for us.”
That beachhead includes the substantial “five 9s” cloud support for delivering encryption keys, which allows service providers to “get their toes in the water” with new OTT strategies without having to invest in their own key server farms. “When they’re ready to scale, they can move to their own infrastructure,” he says.
The initial channel lineup for the MyGlobeTV service will consist of Indonesian, Japanese, Malayalam (South Asian), and Romanian programming but will rapidly expand to include a wider variety of African, Asian, Australian, and European content, Brackett says. She notes that along with delivering live content the service supports video on demand, includes a Facebook application allowing viewers to navigate their account and provides an antenna to enable local channel viewing.
Support for delivering the service to the TV set will be through a Netgem hybrid DVR set-top box that supports adaptive streaming and includes a 320 gigabyte hard drive with 450 hours of DVR capacity. “We can offer our customers secure connectivity to MyGlobeTV across a range of devices so they can enjoy their favorite content anywhere, whether through their MyGlobeTV set-top box or through the future Web-based application,” Brackett says.
“It’s a great way to deliver long-tail content,” adds Frankland. “It opens the opportunity for unlimited flexibility with our DRM support.” Indeed, GlobeCast is touting its ability to use its global satellite and fiber infrastructure to carry broadcaster’s signals from anywhere in the world to a GlobeCast operations center in the U.S. The technical operations center then processes the signal and sends it securely to the viewer’s home, anywhere in the U.S., via the Internet, thereby providing a cost-effective approach to expose ever more ethnic and special-interest content to American viewers.