Proud service providers for Foxtel Play across multiple devices
Foxtel is the leading Pay TV service provider in Australia, with over 2.7 million subscription customers. Building upon the success of its popular Foxtel GO service, Foxtel decided to create a new service to be branded Play. The Play service would deliver a palette of TV channels directly to IP connected devices. A significant aspect of the new service would be that it would eliminate the requirement for subscribers to install a set top box.
Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel Chief Executive said, “Foxtel Play is the next step in the evolution of our entertainment offering. Our core subscription service, which remains the cornerstone of our business, has recently been augmented by a greatly enlarged On Demand offering ..Foxtel Play develops our “off the box” internet TV products by expanding on the existing Foxtel on Xbox 360 and Foxtel on Internet TV services to provide one Foxtel internet TV offering across multiple devices.”
In order to reach the largest possible audience, Foxtel’s new service needed to support a wide variety of device types as well as support for a comprehensive range of subscription models. From its launch the service needed to support delivery of live and on demand video content via app services to iOS, Android, connected TVs and PC/Mac devices, as well as Xbox gaming consoles. In addition, device management services needed to allow users to register up to three devices at any one time whilst in the possession of a valid subscription.
At its launch subscribers would be provided with a choice of basic packages drawn from Entertainment, Documentaries, Drama and Children’s channels with the option of adding premium services including Movie Channels and Sports. Live channel packages could also be augmented with a comprehensive catalogue of VoD and catch-up TV services.
“Foxtel Play is an important step in connecting more Australians with the content they love from Foxtel. Switch Media’s approach has helped us to bring world class products like Foxtel Play in to service to delight our customers and keep us in step with how audiences choose to enjoy our great content.”
Foxtel’s Director of Product
Switch Media’s Role
Switch Media’s project team and developers were involved in the very genesis of the new service design. In early discussions, Switch Media identified aspects of its Media Manager platform, already deployed for the Foxtel GO service, that could be extended to create the new capabilities required by Foxtel. Switch Media also developed the app services for the PC/Mac and Android devices. In order to further accelerate the development, Switch Media’s engineers also provided APIs for third party developers who assisted with app development for Xbox and connected TVs.
In addition, Switch Media’s powerful Media Manager would be used for the continuing operation of both of Foxtel’s OTT services, GO and Play. As well as providing Foxtel with its IP head-end, the Switch Media Manager is used daily to support the continuing workflow requirements for the services. This includes program capture, live streaming, encoding services, content hosting archiving, analytics and EPG services.
Project Outcomes & ROI
Commencing development in February 2013, Switch Media’s team were able to deliver the project within strict deadlines. The new Play service, which went live in August 2013, is now offering more choices for customers who wish to enjoy Foxtel’s pay TV content services. By eliminating monthly lock-in contracts and the requirement to have a set top box connected to a satellite receiver the service is adding a new level of flexibility and anywhere internet access to Foxtel’s premium content.
In addition Foxtel continues to enjoy its long standing development partnership with Switch Media, which has also included the successful development of the multi-award winning 2012 London Olympics app and the launch and continuing operation of the Foxtel GO service.
- Provide a complete IP head-end service platform to support the delivery of up to 30 live channels and an expanding VoD library at launch
- Provide user friendly search capabilities, EPG delivery, channel review and catch up viewing capabilities
- Delivering automated workflow solutions to support ingest, transcoding and storage of live and pre-recorded video assets
- Deliver a user friendly app services for Android and PC/Mac devices
- Provide a service platform that is robust and extendable to support increased channel capacity and customer load variations
Luke Durham, Switch Media Co-Founder and CTO said,
“It’s exciting to see a technical solution of this scale be deployed and managed using a rapid development approach. It really allows our clients to experiment with services to meet customer demand across a range of devices, including quickly making changes to the solution.”