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BBC moves to the cloud with new iPlayer processing platform

The BBC has replaced its “aging” iPlayer infrastructure and moved live processing into the cloud with a new in-house system called Video Factory.

In an official blog post, Marina Kalkanis, head of live services, programmes and on-demand for the BBC’s Future Media division, said that the BBC’s previous On Demand Production Service – which was first commissioned by the BBC from Red Bee Media in 2006 – needed replacement and that the flexibility of using the cloud was ideally suited to its new service.

Video Factory was developed by engineers in BBC Future Media, in partnership with leading transcoding and packaging providers, and features a number of improvements, according to Kalkanis.

The switchover comes as the BBC estimates it will publish around 50,000 hours of TV content and nearly 100,000 clips online on the iPlayer and its news, sport, and programme pages this year.

“Video Factory has moved live processing into the cloud. Cloud computing is computing services sold on demand, on the internet, typically by the minute or the hour; it is elastic – a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time. This means we will have the flexibility to scale (up or down) and only pay for what we use,” said Kalkanis.

“The other advantage of using cloud services is we don’t have a fixed amount of storage so we no longer have to limit the hours of content we can process nor do we have to limit the hours of HD content we can handle. And because it is easier to add in new services our system is much more flexible in creating content for new devices.”

She added: “Our roadmap for Video Factory is packed with features. We are improving quality, increasing the amount of HD content, greatly expanding the online catalogue and the formats and getting live programmes available much more quickly.”