Since Bruce Gyngell – the first person on Australian TV – uttered “Good evening, and welcome to television” in 1956, broadcasting has continually evolved in Australia. Video streaming has revolutionised how we watch our favourite shows in recent years, but how content and live events are delivered behind the scenes has also undergone a revolution.
The channels are changing, so to speak, from tapes and files to cloud-enabled and software-defined capabilities that are allowing some of the biggest events and shows to be beamed to living rooms around the world from right here in Australia.
The industry is changing in two key ways.
Light weight and fast, but not low-fi
Broadcasting a live event has – until recently – required a mountain of heavy, expensive equipment and infrastructure, including laying fibre optic cable or rigging up satellite dishes. Faster connectivity now means content can be delivered over the internet up to 4K quality via a stable broadcast-quality platform. Taking advantage of the cloud provides companies with an entry-level way to set up a broadcast quickly, digitally transfer entire sections of their workflow and to rapidly scale to meet demand, without the delays and big costs of rolling out all that infrastructure and manpower.
Broadcasters still need the heavy duty gear for major events that need to be beamed out in high definition to millions of homes, like a footy match, but stay tuned to see even the big events come from the cloud as technology continues to evolve.
Have you ever wondered how all those shows and the ads in between all just run seamlessly together one after the other, down to the second? The industry calls that “playout” and, back in the day, there’d be a whole rack of reels, then video players later on, that would need to be played one after the other to achieve this.
Nowadays, it’s one virtual rack, where content can be quickly and easily dropped in or replaced digitally and played out to our TVs. Television stations don’t even need to manage this themselves anymore – external companies can now assemble and manage this important process from anywhere in the world. One Australian TV station is already doing this, and we have some exciting news to share a little further down.
Switching on new capabilities
Telstra’s network has long played a major part in broadcasting, both locally and internationally. It has long been the network of choice for delivering major sporting events in and out of Australia. With the establishment of the Digital Video Network, every major broadcaster and sporting venue in Australia was connected, but needed broadcast experts to provide services assurance. This led to the establishment of Telstra Broadcast Services in 2015. Since then, we’ve continued to build our managed services, and we’re pleased to announce a new chapter.
To meet the evolving needs of the broadcast market as well as expand our value proposition for our global client base, Telstra Broadcast Services has acquired the business and assets of MediaCloud Pty Ltd. This provides us with a suite of significant software-defined and cloud-based capabilities, media cloud delivery experts and a London-based Master Control Room.
In particular, we now have new internet delivery capabilities, which will form a new Telstra Internet Delivery Network offering, as well as a fully managed 24/7 playout service. One great element of this acquisition is that playout of Australian free-to-air channel SBS’s content is now back in Australian hands, with SBS renewing its playout contract for MediaCloud services for seven years. Whether it’s SBS News, or the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale, we’ll be playing (out) a part.
The acquisition also adds a complete as-a-service managed streaming offering that enables broadcasters to specify, launch, and monitor over-the-top services with minimal resource while maintaining broadcast-grade service level agreements. It also includes capabilities for media asset management, content orchestration – in other words, the ability to import, manage and preview video, audio, and subtitle assets, along with various transmission schedules.
The business of broadcast is growing and changing rapidly and we’re excited to be plugging into new opportunities for our customers as well as people watching at home.