SVG Sit-Down: Telstra Broadcast Services’ Andreas Eriksson Focuses on Large-Scale Deployments, Managed Services

Hybrid delivery platform, personalized workflows are part of the solutions offered

Telstra Broadcast Services CEO Andreas Eriksson and the Telstra team around the globe continue to respond to an ever-changing broadcast-contribution and -distribution world. At NAB 2024, Eriksson sat down with SVG to discuss some of the company’s new initiatives, evolving partnerships and alliances, and the future of the industry.

Telstra Broadcast Services’ Andreas Eriksson: “[With] tier-two or -three sports, there’s a hunger to grow a whole sport or women’s sport. Technology has enabled a lot of things that help [the quality].”

What are some of the big themes for Telstra this year?
The big theme is, on the media-networks side, to continue to build out our internet delivery platform to have large-scale deployments, not just one-to-one, SRT-style deployments. It’s about combining that into hybrid offerings with fiber, internet, and satellite so that we can offer a fully managed end-to-end service. That allows the rights owners to provide that service to the broadcasters, and they can pick and choose what is best for them.

The other thing we are doing is continue to build the portfolio around managed services on top of the media network. The virtual-advertising work we’re doing with Supponor is a good example of that: we continue to work with technology partners focused on technology, and, being a managed-service provider, we provide managed services around that core technology. We’re also working on our offering for [the AMPP platform] with the Grass Valley team, taking the core of that technology and providing it as an end-to-end managed service. We see that being a continuing trend.

There are more options than ever with respect to workflows that can be personalized for the client’s specific needs. Are you finding that your conversations are becoming more personalized as you offer multiple ways to solve a workflow?
Yes, absolutely. We have the high-end fiber platform, an internet-based platform, and a very strong satellite offering with partners, as well as bespoke fiber solutions. And you have all those building blocks for a managed service located in three centers around the world that can do the booking and operation 24/7. Then it becomes a conversation around how you want to do the contribution, budget, risk appetite, and so forth. And it might end up a mix of high-end fiber solutions and maybe internet delivery for certain parts. It’s a very customer-based solution built on standard components that are scalable for us. It’s about having the Lego blocks that we can assemble into something specific.

Where do you see the cloud fitting in?
The reality is that no one has the money to just scrap what they have and move 100% to the new way, so we are in a transition as all this legacy hardware needs to be paid off and amortized. We see the cloud on deployments that have hybrid solutions because of performance requirements.

Actually, we are having more discussions around a software layer that can be deployed on-prem in a private cloud in combination with the public cloud for the same use case on something like archives. Cloud use is going to burst up and down, and when we look at working with vendors, they offer us floating licenses that we can mix and match based on the deployments. As a service provider, we want to be able to mix and match.

Three- or four-year market trends suggest that smaller federations and leagues are realizing that they want to have a global presence. And broadcasters are looking to have more-personalized services, which means that, in four years, they could be trying to transport many signals home from productions around the world versus just one signal. Does that make sports potentially a growth segment between now and 2030 with events like the 2026 World Cup and the Olympics in 2028?
It depends on how you look at the tier-one–style events. Of course, they will continue to want to bring more content out of an event and make different packages and so forth. The whole OTT use case is a 365/24/7 experience, so it’s not the old days of appointment viewing. It requires more content and a different kind of content, and that’s why you need to be able to bring more and more content out from an event. The tier-one events will want to bring more content, but will they have the budgets to do it right?

Of course, the cost of production is going down, but, with new technology, you can make a better production. [With] tier-two or -three sports, I think, there’s a hunger to grow a whole sport or women’s sport, which is great. Technology has enabled a lot of things for those sports that help [the quality].

How do you see AI playing a role at Telstra?
Today, it’s a little bit of hype, and everyone talks about using it or having it. In three or five years, I think, it will be a little more ingrained, and companies will have more intelligence in their solutions. In our case, it would be how we manage and run network monitoring or things like predictive monitoring or virtual operators. It is a very powerful technology, and it will be used for different things. It might not be revolutionizing, but there will be logical things where it will be useful.

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