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Fastly: the challenge of offering video on demand to Mediaset Spain users on all types of platforms

Mediaset España is the leading group in the Spanish audiovisual market with its linear media (TV broadcasts) and digital (live video and video on demand), thanks to its own production model based on information and entertainment that stands out for its follow-up majority among young people and the commercial target. Among its main lines of business, it has seven free television channels segmented for different targets –Telecinco, like the most watched television, Four, FDF, Boing, Divinity, Energy and Be Mad-; a digital offering made up of chain sites, the Mitele and Mtmad content platforms, a network of vertical portals and the Mitele PLUS payment platform; a film production company, Telecinco Cinema; a distributor of production and sales to third parties, Mediterráneo Mediaset España Group; and the audiovisual news agency, Atlas. It is also the leader in the national television advertising market with the exploitation of all its supports, which stand as the most effective in terms of memory and notoriety, giving rise to a unique commercial model that adds to the maximum coverage of television the greatest engagement, positioning, brand image and prescription in the digital and social media environment.

A complex infrastructure to serve video from the cloud

Mediaset España distributes streaming video in two modes: video on demand (VOD) and live. Its architecture places the origin of the videos in the public cloud (Azure), where they are prepared to be served in different qualities and to which the only CDN with which they worked until now was connected. Mediaset España wanted to have a multi-CDN infrastructure in order to guarantee the quality of the service and have high availability for its users and premium clients.

The adaptability of Fastly’s CDN was the key

Mediaset España required Fastly’s CDN to have a series of technical characteristics to easily integrate it into the architecture already built up to that point with another provider. This adaptability to a pre-existing ecosystem was very important so as not to incur major developments or compromise the Mediaset Spain technology stack to unique characteristics of the Fastly CDN.

On the other hand, extracting data from the public cloud (what we know as “egress”) can be very costly for a volume of data like that of Mediaset Spain. For this reason, Fastly’s agreement with Microsoft Azure was an important additional factor in opting for the Fastly platform.

“In the public cloud, the costs of ‘egress’ can exceed those of the CDN and that was something that Fastly gave us solved”
JManuel Jesus Stew, Multiplatform CTO

A highly programmable platform for a multi-CDN architecture

Due to the multi-vendor architecture with which Mediaset Spain works, it was necessary for Fastly to be highly programmable to adapt flexibly to the pre-existing environment without requiring large specific developments (to be integrated into a multi-CDN infrastructure).

Compute @ Edge’s features and capabilities meet this requirement, allowing code to be deployed and executed at the edge for existing services and applications on the previous underlying infrastructure, without having to touch or modify it, and giving Mediaset Spain the ability to scale up. based on your needs and traffic volumes, without losing speed, performance or security.

In the words of Manuel Jesús Guisado, Multiplatform CTO of Mediaset Spain: “It is very valuable that the CDNs that we use do not require specific developments and that is why we use only the subset of characteristics that all have in common”.

Devices to consume streaming video: a very complex technological ecosystem

The videos from Mediaset España are uploaded to Azure where they are stored and, with a specialized platform, the versions are generated at different levels of quality that are later packaged in the different formats necessary to be able to be distributed in video-on-demand mode. The integration with Fastly has been carried out assuming the necessary real-time adaptations to cover the requirements of the different devices from which the requests are requested. The joint Azure and Fastly solution makes it easy to adapt formats.

“The decoupling between storage and computing and distribution has been solved thanks to the joint solution between Azure and Fastly”
JManuel Jesus Stew, Multiplatform CTO

Compute @ Edge lets you tailor video streams at the edge

Some access devices (such as specific Smart TV models) have technical limitations that prevent the use of CDN architectures easily. Thanks to the capabilities of Compute @ Edge, this adaptation of video-on-demand streams can already be done within Fastly’s own infrastructure. This has greatly simplified the operation of the entire solution and eliminated the latencies that would have involved taking this process back and forth to the public cloud.

The initial test was ready in about two weeks, followed by a period of approximately one and a half months to validate the solution on all platforms served by Mediaset España (web browsers on computers, iOS and Android devices and a wide variety of of Smart TV models). In this way, Fastly provides service to all Mediaset Spain video streaming subdomains.

In addition, from the beginning, Fastly’s Professional Services engineers worked hand in hand with Mediaset Spain to identify integration needs and provide solutions for them.

According to the Mediaset Spain technical team, after nearly a year making continuous and intensive use of the Fastly platform, its origin has been significantly lightened and requests have been greatly reduced.

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