Much like the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign, sport live-streaming had a somewhat rocky road to the final. But when things really counted, streaming delivered a record-breaking performance.
In the opening game, as South Africa faltered against New Zealand, DStv Now had its own challenges with some viewers missing out during the first half of the game. Fast-forward to the Final six weeks later and the situation was dramatically different, with viewing breaking all-time records for concurrent users and throughput, with no downtime or outages.
Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice, says: “Live events are the single biggest challenge a streaming service like DStv Now can face, as the huge number of concurrent users not only puts our systems under unprecedented load, it also strains the systems of the companies downstream from our servers who deliver the stream to customers.
“It’s fair to assume that the load during the Final was the largest ever seen in Africa, with three times more peak concurrent viewers than in the first game and double the number who watched the 2018 football World Cup Finals. Over the course of the day we served more than half a million unique users.”
The number of active DStv Now users is four times higher than just two years ago. The number of hours streamed in a single day on the service now regularly tops one million.
“We were disappointed at the problems we experienced early in the tournament, ” said Ekdahl. “We’d of course done load testing and provisioned plenty of capacity, but we didn’t anticipate how congestion in one specific system could cascade into others.
“I’m proud of the work our engineering team has done to learn from that mistake, to rework systems architecture, and also work with partners who deliver the stream to customers to sort out bottlenecks affecting image quality. Our customers rightly expect systems to work, and in the face of record-breaking demand during the Final, DStv Now delivered the goods.”
The data carried by content delivery network partners during the Final peaked at more than 500 Gbps (more than 4 000 GB of data per minute), another record for DStv Now in Africa.
“This was a major test of our systems and the capacity of distribution networks and ISPs in the region. I’m pleased we came out on top and look forward to working with our partners to beef up streaming ability ready for 10 times and even 100 times the traffic we’re seeing now, because the one thing we know for sure is that streaming video is going to keep growing.”