Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland wanted to launch a new 24/7 channel aimed at reaching German-speaking viewers around the world, without relying on traditional satellite and fiber distribution.
Using the Zixi Platform, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland can easily distribute the new live linear channel to global distribution partner headends using standard unmanaged Internet connections.
The Zixi Platform helps Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland to extend their scope, reduce operational costs, and deliver new high-quality programming that audiences demand.
Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland is one of the world’s leading content providers, with production facilities across the globe and interests in 59 television stations across 10 countries. In order to reach even more viewers, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland recently adopted the Zixi Platform to extend their scope, reduce operational costs, and deliver new high-quality programming that audiences demand.
Launching RTL Live
Like many other broadcast organizations, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland is facing an unprecedented explosion in consumer demand. Viewers want to enjoy content on a myriad of devices, at any location, and at any time. Demand for localized content is especially high, with audiences in different countries looking for new ways to access content in their native language.
This high demand for localized content is creating significant opportunities for content providers. As Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland owns the distribution rights to a number of popular German-language programs—including The X Factor, Pop Idol, Good Times, Bad Times, The Price Is Right, Family Feud and The Bill—the company decided to launch a new television network to deliver 24/7 programming to German audiences worldwide.
“RTL Group chose the Zixi Platform because of its unmatched combination of reliability, efficiency, and security.”
—Willibald Striegl, Business Development Manager, Netorium
Right from the start, more than ten global distribution companies expressed interest in carrying the new RTL Live channel. However, the high cost of traditional satellite and fiber distribution proved to be a prohibitive factor. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland needed a different method for primary distribution to global headends, so they decided to explore an increasingly viable option for modern broadcasters—internet-based primary content distribution.
Selecting the Most Reliable Solution
To find the ideal solution for their needs, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland worked with Netorium, a leading broadcast solutions company based in Wiesbaden, Germany. Netorium brought in a shortlist of technology vendors to demonstrate their solutions.
“Five vendors attended the shootout, and after several weeks of evaluation and testing, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland chose the Zixi Platform because of its unmatched combination of reliability, efficiency, and security,” said Willibald Striegl, Business Development Manager at Netorium.
“This was our first time using the Internet for primary distribution of a TV channel, and it would not have been possible without Zixi technology,”
— Ingo Rüber, Head of Networks at Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland.
One of the RTL’s main concerns was reliability—audiences have zero tolerance for service outages, so RTL needed 24/7 uptime. The Zixi Platform leverages the cloud to provide RTL with complete redundancy, including a virtual server running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) together with the main Zixi Broadcaster host server located in Cologne, and a backup server in New York City. Thanks to Zixi’s global ecosystem, each distribution partner is able to use a locally available Zixi-enabled decoder to automatically pull signal from one of the available Zixi Broadcaster servers, with built-in redundancy helping to ensure 99.999% uptime.
In addition to server-side redundancy, the Zixi Platform’s underlying technology ensures complete reliability of the video signal itself. While traditional Internet-based video transmission is plagued by packet loss, signal degradation and intermittent failures, the Zixi Platform offers Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland built-in bandwidth optimization, hybrid intelligence, and advanced packet loss recovery technology.
“The Zixi Platform constantly monitors the video stream and the network to ensure that the right packet loss recovery method is applied depending on the network condition,” said Striegl. “If there’s an outage at a service provider, the video stream is routed to other providers. This provides Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland with full reliability in terms of operations.”
Total Security and Protection
Since piracy is an all-too-common problem in today’s media industry, RTL needed to implement a secure, encrypted feed to prevent against unauthorized distribution. Zixi gives RTL several layers of protection, starting with secure access to the Platform itself. A reverse encrypted SSH tunnel ensures secure access to the Zixi Broadcaster and Receiver software, so only authorized users can access the platform.
Next, the RTL Live stream originating in Cologne is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption—the highest level of commercial encryption available, representing a much greater protection than traditional satellite. A unique key is set up between the Zixi Broadcaster server and Zixi-enabled decoders on the distribution end, so the channel feed can only be delivered to authorized end points.
Finally, unique session keys are assigned and distributed through an automated exchange between main broadcaster and distribution partners, using a different encryption stream for each of the partners.
“Zixi really is the future of live linear primary distribution.”
—Willibald Striegl, Business Development Manager, Netorium
Scalability for the Future
Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland plans to add many more distribution partners in the months to come, and the Zixi Platform makes scalability easy. As RTL signs on new distributors for RTL Live, all they need is to add additional license keys and make sure there’s available bandwidth at the source location. And thanks to a large global ecosystem of Zixi development partners, distributors can choose from an array of compatible decoder solutions, or utilize existing hardware that they already own.
“This was our first time using the Internet for primary distribution of a TV channel, and it would not have been possible without Zixi technology.”
—Ingo Rüber, Head of Networks, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland
“The Zixi Platform makes it very simple to add more endpoint locations around the world,” remarked Striegl. “It’s an extremely scalable solution that provides Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland with tremendous opportunity for growth.”
“Without Zixi, the new RTL Live channel would not have been possible,” concluded Striegl. “Zixi really is the future of live linear primary distribution. With Zixi, content providers can distribute live video content to millions of subscribers, from anywhere on the planet.”
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