Amazon Web Services has announced that Turner has named AWS as its preferred cloud provider.
Turner is moving thousands of virtual machines to AWS and creating cloud-native applications that meet the evolving business and technology demands of its broad portfolio of brands and partners, including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, CNN, NCAA, and NBA. By leveraging sophisticated analytics and machine learning on top of AWS, Turner aims to reimagine the TV viewing experience for its fans and achieve deeper insights into their preferences.
“We’re seeing media and entertainment companies leverage the on-demand, pay-as-you-go benefits of AWS to scale and cost effectively stream videos across a variety of devices, broadcast programs, and publish content around the world”
Turner has reengineered its end-to-end media supply chain on AWS for a more secure, cost effective, and elastic way to distribute digital content to its customers. As part of this effort, Turner is moving decades of content to the cloud—including a 15-petabyte-sized library of archived CNN videos—and is using AWS for a wide variety of services spanning compute, storage, networking, databases, developer tools, analytics, and machine learning. AWS’s machine learning capabilities, for example, will allow Turner to analyze and extract video metadata to make decisions about how to best optimize content delivery systems for more personalized viewer experiences, and better inform advertisers, content creators, and media research analysts on viewing trends.
“We’re going through the largest technology transformation since Ted Turner started the company, and the advancements we’re making today are enabling us to reimagine what television can be for our viewers,” said Jeremy Legg, Chief Technology Officer at Turner. “We’re changing our broadcast technology stack to a fully digital, cloud environment built on AWS, which will enable us to adapt to new video delivery models, as well as provide our viewers with more personalized content and advertisements. Our relationship with AWS and the services they provide are essential to our success. Given that we reach over 80 percent of adults and 70 percent of millennials every month, we needed a cloud provider that has the ability to support massive-scale media businesses like ours which often have spikes in demand across our diverse portfolio.”
“We’re seeing media and entertainment companies leverage the on-demand, pay-as-you-go benefits of AWS to scale and cost effectively stream videos across a variety of devices, broadcast programs, and publish content around the world,” said Mike Clayville, Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Sales at AWS. “AWS is enabling industry leaders like Turner to experiment and innovate at a rapid pace with less financial risk. Turner is delivering more relevant and meaningful content to its viewers using AWS to offer tailored viewing experiences and targeted advertisements across every screen. We look forward to seeing their momentum continue as they leverage AWS to create new media and entertainment experiences in the cloud.”
Turner joins a growing list of media companies and broadcasters running their media supply chains and Over-the-top (OTT) delivery pipelines on AWS, including Amazon Video, AOL, BBC, Channel 4, C-SPAN, Daily Voice, Discovery Communications, Flipboard, GoPro, Guardian News & Media, Hearst Corporation, Hulu, LIONSGATE, NDTV, Netflix, News International, News UK, Newsweek, PBS, Simfy Africa, Sony DADC, SoundCloud, Spotify, Time Inc., and United Daily News.
Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist
Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.
Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.
The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.
“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time. We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”
The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba. It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.
Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.
“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”
This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.
Sports streaming takes off
Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.
England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.
According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.
Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.
The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.
“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”
With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.
“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”
The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.