Elemental moves into video delivery with Delta

Elemental has used IBC to step into video delivery with a wholly new offering, Elemental Delta. Elemental also unveiled a new relationship with thePlatform at the show and highlighted the work it has done with Turner to support the latter’s CNNx multiscreen interactive news service.

Speaking at a press event at the show, Sam Blackman, CEO and co-founder, Elemental, said that the explosion of mobile meant that the number of devices will rise to 15-20 billion over the next five years. However, challenges include achieving efficient delivery and making money from online video.

“Delta is our new multiscreen video delivery platform that enables a complete solution for realtime content delivery,” said Blackman. He said there is a need to support value added services such as cloud DVR, restart and pause live TV as well as delaying TV to account for deliver across different timezones. “With Elemental Delta you can all of this in your origin server,” he said. Just in time packaging and live-to-VoD capability will enable content to be delivered efficiently, said Blackman.

Elemental is also focusing on enabling content providers to make money from OTT distribution. Elemental Delta delivers video suitable for the end user device in order to optimise delivery costs, said Blackman.

Blackman said Delta is not a standalone product. The company is working with advertising server providers and is working across multiple DRM providers, multiple streaming protocols and with multiple CDN and storage providers. Finally, it is working with a number of middleware providers, including thePlatform.

Blackman said Delta had been provided to customers for the last six months and had seen fast take-up.
Euan McLeod, VP of content platforms for Turner Broadcasting, was on hand at the Elemental press event to highlight multiscreen news service CNNx’s use of Elemental Delta.

CNN provides a video preview on its site that takes viewers into CNNx, a recently launched service that allows users to peel back to view multiple layers of content related to news stories. Viewers can jump to an on-demand segment and then return to the live stream that provides context for the content. As breaking news happens the ‘run down’ associated with a particular show changes. CNNx allows CNN to display all the content it has that provides additional information and context to current news stories that are developing live, explained McLeod.

CNNx was launched on iPad and web in April and will be available on set-tops through a partner soon. Users have to subscribe to view  it. McLeod said the platform also provided additional revenue opportunities through contextual advertising.

Turner tapped Elemental for its Delta platform in conjunction with its own origin server. Use of Elemental Delta gave the service full redundancy, he said. CNNx has a six hour DVR window and Elemental Delta enables the ccompany to maintain this if an origin server fails, said McLeod. McLeod said Delta had enabled Turner to simplify its workflow and gave it additional flexibility to make money from content, for example through advertising insertion.

Elemental is working with online video platform provider thePlatform to deliver a hybrid video delivery infrastructure.
Marty Roberts, CEO of thePlatform, said that his company’s technology helps deliver content from the source to the consumer.

“Some customers have their own transcoding farms and some, as they are looking to replace infrastructure, are looking to the cloud,” said Roberts. “Elemental gives us the ability to leverage our own hardware but also to scale up when demand spikes,” he said. In the US, thePlatform’s hardware can scale up into the Elemental Cloud. In Europe, thePlatform is starting with the Elemental Cloud and possibly building its own data centres later as demand scales up.

Roberts said thePlatform had a “fantastic” partnership with Elemental. “It was a no-brainer for thePlatform.”

Also speaking at the Elemental press event, Johan Schreurs, connected workflows solution manager at production technology specialist EVS, highlighted the work his company had done with Elemental and Aspera around the World Cup earlier this summer. EVS’s C-Cast platform is used to send content across multiple screens to viewers.

The World Cup project involved the creation of 4,000-plaus VoD elements, the use of 20 replay cameras and -through its partnership with elemental, deliver of six lives streams simultaneously to tablets and smartphones using HLS adaptive streaming, “Those six videos are produced from a central location but broadcasters can replace one of them with their own feed or promos,” he said.

EVS delivered 27 live streams per game via the Elemental cloud.  When games overlapped it had to support 54 rather than 27 streams, and when multiple games ran in parallel it was sometimes necessary to manage 108 concurrent live streams.

“We use Elemental Cloud because of scalability,” said Schreurs.“Building a fixed infrastructure for such an amount of live streaming would have been overkill. That’s why we went with Elemental Cloud,” he said.

Michelle Munson, CEO of data transport platform provider Aspera, said that the three companies had achieved a first during the World Cup. She said that providing transport from Brazil to the Amazon cloud in Europe was challenging. Munson said that the capacity of technology such as Elemental’s to do real time video processing makes it possible to implement events of this scale.