Cisco

Transforming the GRAMMY Awards Into a Compelling Online Event

AEG Digital Media and Cisco team up to stream and monetize high-profile awards coverage to global audience.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

AEG DIGITAL MEDIA

● Industry: Media Services

● Location: Los Angeles, CA

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

● Deliver high-quality video and audio streaming of a three-day event to users with diverse bandwidths and devices

SOLUTION

● Powerful video encoding solution supports adaptive streaming to desktop and mobile devices

RESULTS

● Easy-to-manage Cisco solution delivers superior viewer experience while supporting advertising and monetization

A leader in webcast management and technical media services, AEG Digital Media (AEGDM) has more than 12 years’ experience in enabling and streaming some of the world’s most innovative events. Headquartered in Los Angeles, AEGDM has produced many of the defining moments in Internet broadcasting and live streaming media.

One of the company’s most notable productions is GRAMMY Live, a three-day webcast providing a behind-the-scenes look at exclusive content including GRAMMY events, parties, and red carpet interviews.

The 2012 edition of GRAMMY Live was expected to draw millions of global viewers, including desktop, smart phone, and tablet computer users. To meet the demands of this high-profile event, AEGDM needed a dependable video and content delivery solution that could encode and deliver high-quality video from multiple sources to a variety of devices and bandwidths. The solution would have to be easy to set up and manage, yet provide advanced features to simplify advertising and monetization of content. A Cisco solution, coupled with AEGDM’s expertise, made this year’s GRAMMY Live event an overwhelming success.

Solution

To support its demanding encoding requirements, AEGDM employed the Cisco® AS8100 Series Media Processor. This advanced solution enables AEG to stream in multiple formats to any device, with consistently professional, reliable results. The Cisco AS8100 Series is an integral part of Cisco Videoscape, a platform that lets content and service providers reinvent the TV experience, by combining a variety of content and applications from any source into an immersive, personalized experience.

“We have utilized the Cisco Media Processor for more than two years,” says John Petrocelli, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at AEGDM. “It’s a continuation of an existing relationship, and it’s extremely easy to leverage the platform. We work with the Cisco Media Processor on a daily basis, so getting exactly what we wanted for GRAMMY Live was a piece of cake.”

To accommodate the diverse bandwidth needs of the audience, the Cisco AS8100 Series offers an exceptional adaptive streaming experience, including eight or more output streams per encoder. AEGDM employed adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) to maximize the quality of the content for every user.

“With the Cisco solution, we can encode into eight bitrates at a time, use ABR streaming to present all of them to the video player, and determine the best bitrate for delivery based on the end user’s bandwidth. It helps increase viewer hours and enhance the overall experience, because users don’t experience buffering, delays, and other issues that normally make people turn away from online video.” – John Petrocelli, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, AEG Digital Media

“We use ABR for all of our events to let the client computer choose the optimal bitrate for delivery,” says Petrocelli.

After programming content was encoded, the program was delivered to a content delivery network (CDN) for streaming to the audience.

Business Results

The 2012 edition of GRAMMY Live was a huge success, attracting 4.5 million viewers—its largest audience ever. The Cisco AS8100 Series played a key role in helping ensure that every viewer enjoyed the best possible sound and video quality.

“With the Cisco solution, we can encode into eight bitrates at a time, use ABR streaming to present all of them to the video player, and determine the best bitrate for delivery based on the end user’s bandwidth,” says Petrocelli. “It helps increase viewer hours and enhance overall experience, because users don’t experience buffering, delays, and other issues that normally make people turn away from online video.”

Intuitive web-based tools simplified management, enabling AEGDM to deliver consistently excellent quality throughout the event.

“GRAMMY Live was a three-path multiday event for multiple formats, so coordinating all those different encoders can be troublesome,” says Petrocelli. “We were able to use the Cisco Media Processor’s management console to maintain communication to all the encoders and ensure quality across all outputs.”

With its proven Cisco video solution in place, AEGDM will continue to build on its reputation as a leader in delivering compelling, high-quality online events.