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With Windows Azure, PPTV is offering 1080p high-resolution, on-demand and live television to an international audience while saving an estimated $1 million in infrastructure costs.
PPTV, a leading Chinese Internet-based media company, wanted to expand globally. Instead of building costly overseas data centers, the company deployed its new Asia Television Network in the cloud on the Windows Azure platform. As a result, the company has saved an estimated US$1 million in infrastructure costs and eased expansion worldwide. Additional benefits include simplified development, and minimal business risk with flexible, highly scalable cloud services.
Based in Shanghai, China, PPTV is a leading online video network. The company had the largest market share in China, and it was asked by overseas broadcasters to expand its services. After performing a survey, PPTV realized that the new market could offer the opportunity to add more than 1 million additional users.
However, the company faced several expansion challenges. Video services require a high-speed network, and PPTV needed to ensure that it could provide optimal performance across multiple geographies. The conventional approach—building a separate data center for each overseas market—would be costly and slow to implement.
So instead of building out data centers, PPTV decided to deploy its Asian Television Network in the cloud. The company planned to offer a low-latency, cloud platform to content providers worldwide. In addition to delivering its own content, the company wanted to license use of the platform to service providers in multiple countries.
In July 2012, PPTV decided to implement its global video network on the Windows Azure platform, completing the entire development process in the cloud. The solution integrates with the company’s proprietary peer-to-peer content distribution network (CDN), which includes its own coding and transcoding video processing modes. The technology supports on-demand, streaming media with multiple code rates.
Shanghai Yungoal Info Tech Company, an expert in Windows Azure technology, helped PPTV transfer its core technology to the Windows Azure platform which includes the Windows Azure SQL database. After customers upload video content, it is stored in Windows Azure binary large object (BLOB) storage. To ensure speedy video playback, Windows Azure distributes the content through its global CDN to a node closest to viewers. The Windows Azure platform includes eight datacenters and 24 CDN nodes located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.
The PPTV Asian Television Network was launched within three months. By using the network, small television stations and content providers without extensive technical experience can offer television services with simultaneous support for smartphones, tablets, computers, and set-top boxes. Moreover, they can offer services without the costly investment required to rapidly integrate diverse types of video content, as well as create solutions for delivering customized content, premium video programs, and pricing and advertisement.
By launching its global television network on the Windows Azure platform, PPTV has saved an estimated $1 million in infrastructure costs, eased business expansion, simplified development, and minimized business risk with flexible, highly scalable cloud services.
By taking advantage of the cloud, PPTV has provided a global one-stop television network without investing in overseas IT infrastructure. With Windows Azure, PPTV is offering 1080p high-resolution, on-demand and live television, and it is saving an estimated $1 million in infrastructure costs.
Reduced infrastructure cost is not the only factor that eases expansion in challenging global markets. With help from Windows Azure platform providers, television operators in multiple countries including the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia have signed agreements with PPTV to roll out their own Internet television services. Tao Chuang, Chief Executive Officer at PPTV, says, “The global partner network built by Microsoft over more than 20 years has provided unparalleled value for the overseas expansion of PPTV.”
PPTV also benefits from the cloud platform’s flexible, comprehensive support for open-source technology. For example, PPTV was using Linux-based servers for its private cloud in China, and it had been relying on programming languages such as Java, Python, PHP, Perl, and Shell. PPTV directly transferred its existing cloud technology to the Windows Azure platform, and, as a result, avoided duplicating development.
PPTV is gradually expanding the user-base for it new Asia Television Network while minimizing startup risks. In addition, to cutting infrastructure costs and speeding implementation, Windows Azure supports incremental growth with a flexible billing model based on hours of operation and storage demands. By taking advantage of cloud services, PPTV was able to launch the Asia Television Network with a low initial investment. And because the company pays only for the resources used, it can easily keep pace with its growing operations.
Windows Azure offers flexible scalability, providing virtually unlimited processing and storage capacity during even peak usage. The solution further increases confidence with a 99.95 percent service level agreement. As a result, PPTV can offer popular live broadcasts that satisfy the demands of enormous global audiences.
PPTV believes that the collaboration between Microsoft and the PPTV Asian Television Network will help the global over-the-top (OTT) industry realize new business models overseas and integrate new content sources, services, and technologies. The collaboration will also create an ecosystem for content providers and service operators to provide innovative user experiences and deliver live and video-on-demand content worldwide.
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