Big Data

Fox Sports ensures uninterrupted content delivery with Aspera

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Fox Sports AsperaWhen people down under want to watch AFL, rugby, cricket rugby league, car racing or even darts, they turn to Fox Sports Australia.

The network provides round-the-clock coverage of worldwide sports, including exclusive coverage of everything from events such as UFC to MotoGP and F1 racing. Fans can find scores, commentary and videos on the Fox website, as well as view highly sought-after insights in and around their sports from former and current players. For many, Fox Sports is a permanent fixture in their daily television watching.

Fox Sports Australia Pty Limited is Australia’s leading producer of sports television coverage and is home to Australia’s favorite subscription television sports channels, as well as Australia’s number one general sports website.

How does Fox Sports keep fans engrossed? It provides a constant stream of interesting and relevant content with more than 13,000 hours of live sports programming every year across the network’s seven channels, coupled with quality programs sourced from all over the world.

This is no easy feat: up until recently, as with most broadcasters, the final line in the sand for the change from physical- to file-based delivery of content is still yet to complete. The content is distributed in multiple formats (including tapes and hard drives), and people are tasked with assimilating it in a haphazard way, holding their collective breath that everything goes off without a hitch. Fox Sports, being in the unique geographical location of Australia, is further impacted by the tyranny of distance, so logistics and data transfer are even more of a challenge.

As the network grows, more providers are being added to the mix, and the process of sourcing programming becomes increasingly convoluted and time consuming to ensure viewers aren’t looking at stale content. In the world of premium sports, the speed to customer is paramount.

Fox Sports selected high-speed file transfer solutions from Aspera to streamline the ingestion of content from global providers. Aspera, an IBM company, enables suppliers to upload programs quickly and reliably, saving time and ensuring content is received, processed and ready to go in time for broadcast.

Fox Sports uses Aspera Shares and Aspera Point-to-Point to simplify and accelerate the process. Providers initiate a secure, high-speed transfer via Aspera Point-to-Point. Administrators at Fox are immediately notified when the transfer completes and the content is ready. The files are then passed through a series of steps, including transcoding and quality control (QC) checks via Telestream Vantage. Once editing and processing is completed, the finished content is uploaded to Aspera Shares for distribution, where it can be browsed and downloaded at high speed by users with appropriate access rights.

The network chose Aspera because Aspera has established itself as the international market leader for efficient, file-based transfer. Fox Sports wants granular control over all the content coming in and out of its building from third party vendors, internal vendors and syndicated vendors. Additionally, Aspera’s strong local presence in Australia was appealing.

The platform also gives Fox Sports the capability to conduct ad hoc business. For instance, if the network hears of an upcoming sporting event it wants to rapidly deliver and that a niche sport content aggregator has, the network can quickly arrange to feature it without changing infrastructure or negatively impacting workflows. With Australia on the other side of the world, and its low bandwidth and poor infrastructure, Aspera’s ability to move data at maximum speed regardless of file size, transfer distance or network conditions was and continues to be an essential feature.

Sports is an enormous commodity in Australia, and fans want the best-quality premium content on their screens as quickly as possible. Whether they’ve invited all their friends over to watch the big game or it’s the kids who want to watch soccer, when people click their remotes, they expect to be entertained, as do their family and friends. There can be no hiccups in the broadcast, or providers run the risk of rowdy sports fans tossing beer cans at the TV set or switching channels.

Learn more about Aspera.

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