SVG Europe Sit-Down: Telstra Broadcast’s Trevor Boal discusses challenges for the year ahead

Telstra Broadcast Services’ director, Trevor Boal [Image credit: Darren Purbrick at Brickworks Imagery]

Telstra is a leading Australian telco company, offering a full range of communications services and competing in all telecommunications markets. These services are underpinned by a subsea cable network, with licences in Asia, Europe and the Americas, and access to more than 2,000 points of presence (PoP) around the world. Our discussion with Trevor Boal, director, Telstra Broadcast Services, covered many aspects of the company’s global operations…

How do you help your clients monetise their offerings?

Telstra Broadcast Services provides innovative, specialised services for international broadcasters, rights holders, content creators and sporting bodies to help our customers and partners reach audiences in Asia and around the world. Our Video Monetisation Solution powered by Ooyala is a managed, cloud-based online video platform that enables customers to securely upload and deliver high quality video quality with studio-grade protection, rights management and flexible monetisation models.

Designed for mission- and time-critical broadcasts, our services benefit from global partnerships and international presence, a rapidly deployable field force and, importantly, a global media network footprint.

Can you tell us more about Telstra’s Global Media Network and Special Events offering?

The Telstra Global Media Network (GMN) offers a global media contribution solution for live, linear and file-based content. Through our international partnerships and purpose-built media platforms, we can supply content in broadcast quality to almost any location where there is connectivity, delivering the high-quality experience audiences demand. We provide reliability and integrity, with low latency international connections to support ASI, SD and HD transmission formats thanks to ours and partners’ integrated satellite and fibre networks.

Over the past 18 years we’ve brought together innovative media solutions and our robust global media network supported by international field services and special events teams, monitored by our worldwide broadcast operation centres and master control rooms so we can meet specific customer needs without them needing to own the solution. This has allowed us to work closely with our sports, broadcast and media customers to deliver major live events such as the Asian and SEA Games and numerous tennis events including the Grand Slams.

What are the main challenges you face over the next year?

As our customers face disruption with their traditional business models under pressure, and new technology creating opportunities for changing workflows, we will continue to innovate with our customers to better solve their technical and business challenges. Telstra has a long history of being at the forefront of network innovation; a key piece of this was building and launching a Distributed Production Network in Australia to support low latency and high bandwidth remote production for live sports. We’re working to continue our network innovation by transitioning to an all-IP infrastructure to underpin some of our key offerings like our Broadcast Operations Centre and Master Control Room, and as a company we are moving towards a bold ambition to transition our network to support a Software Defined Network and Network Function Virtualisation workflows in the future.

HDR was used during the World Cup by the BBC. Will this increase the use of the technology – and where will the industry be with regards this technology by the end of the year?

Telstra has an award-winning history of innovation by putting customer experience and fan viewing at the heart of everything we do. Aligned with this we are always looking for ways in which we can continue to innovate, including HDR, UHD and 4K, and are excited by conversations we’re actively having with customers now to roll-out new formats in the near future.

OTT applications are ever increasing. What do you offer for this side of the broadcast industry?

Telstra Broadcast Services offers a full portfolio of online video and OTT services, including transcoding, live streaming, monitoring and management of online content, media logistics, web acceleration, content security and content delivery. We partner with industry leaders Ooyala, Akamai and AWS Elemental to offer an end-to-end online proposition for our customers.

Any future plans you can discuss?

This year we are investing further in our European capability by extending the reach of our Global Media Network with new infrastructure and PoPs across Europe. With our core network and services strength in Asia, these investments help our Asia Pacific customers to easily take their high value sports and entertainment content to Europe, and for our European customers to both send to and receive content from the important Asia Pacific region.

Do you have an innovative sports related case study you can share?

By leveraging our global infrastructure, we were able to design a unique network solution that could deliver video for the newly created WTA Media, a partnership between Perform Group and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), responsible for the production and delivery of all global tournaments for the WTA. This meant coverage across over 47 locations globally, including some via “dual and diverse” fibre connections. This bespoke network is designed for the high stakes of real-time video, with built-in redundancy and two geographically diverse paths to its location for maximum resiliency.

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