Video Streaming Revolution with LiveU

LiveU is driving the live video revolution, providing live video streaming for TV, mobile, online and social media. They are expanding their presence in India at a rapid pace. Ranjit Bhatti, Director (South Asia) for LiveU reveals the gameplan for LiveU in an exclusive interview

1. LiveU is driving the live video revolution, providing live video streaming for TV, mobile, online and social media. Tell us briefly about these new products and their USP and how do you think it will have an impact on the market?

LiveU’s hardware-based HEVC encoding solutions enable broadcasters and sports organizations to provide high-quality, reliable and creative live coverage at a fraction of the cost of satellite and fibre transmission. HEVC encoding combines flawless HD video with extreme bandwidth efficiency and low power consumption. Built on LiveU’s patented cellular bonding technology, LiveU solutions offer greater flexibility and ease-of-use than traditional methods.

For sports customers specifically, portable HEVC units enable sports producers and broadcasters to capture all the angles of dynamic events (e.g. motor racing, marathons) over long distances, even in locations with limited connectivity. Multi-camera live events can be produced remotely from a centralized studio or OB van instead of via dedicated on-site production and satellite trucks, with additional cost savings.

LiveU’s Matrix next-generation IP content management and distribution solution is also playing a key role in the industry, replacing traditional fibre and satellite services. Matrix provides a highly efficient content curation service, empowering newsroom managers to quickly and easily give hundreds of affiliates unparalleled access to live feeds from LiveU units in the field and other sources without any interruption, additional resources, or expensive fees. Matrix also allows sports producers to live stream events easily and cost-effectively to multiple destinations and TV stations.

With 3,000+ customers in 130+ countries, LiveU is used by the world’s top broadcasters, news agencies, sports organizations and online media including AP, Fox, CBS, NBC, Sky News, CNN, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. From backpacks to smartphones, and satellite/cellular hybrid to external antenna solutions, LiveU offers a complete range of devices for live video coverage anytime, anywhere.

2. How has the growth been for LiveU in emerging markets like India? How do you compare the growth with markets in other parts of Asia?

LiveU enjoys a dominant presence in the Indian broadcast market and continues to grow in the broadcast space with its longstanding partner, Lamhas Satellite Services Ltd.

For example:

  • Asia’s premier news agency Asian News International (ANI) upgraded its entire fleet with LiveU’s flagship LU600 HEVC units for global newsgathering and live sports coverage. ANI’s newsgathering fleet which is spread all over India relies heavily on LiveU technology. ANI first started using LiveU in 2011 and was a pioneer in moving its newsgathering to cellular bonding technology.
  • TV18 Broadcast Ltd., one of India’s most popular television broadcasting networks, has a multi-year lease agreement for more than a hundred units of LiveU’s flagship LU600 HEVC solution. The units are already stationed in various locations in over 20 Indian states to support TV18’s entire network of channels.
  • NewsJ, a news channel of MANTARO NETWORK PVT LTD catering to the Tamil speaking population in India, adopted LiveU’s LU600 HEVC solutions for daily newsgathering, replacing its OB vans.

The Indian subcontinent is one of the fastest growing regions in Asia. At the end of last year, Derana TV, Sri Lanka’s premium entertainment channel, deployed LiveU technology throughout its news operations – Ada Derana – for ongoing newsgathering, in Sri Lanka and abroad.

For the online market, LiveU offers its Solo range of products, working alongside its local partner, ARK Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. For example, Solo is being used by Isha Foundation – a non-profit, public service organization founded by Sadhguru – to connect with millions of well-wishers and volunteers in India and around the world

3. LiveU’s annual ‘State of Live’ reflects the substantial growth in IP news and sports broadcasting with a 50% increase in the number of LiveU units used to stream live events and 250% increase to around 20 million in live sessions overall. How do you look at the Sports broadcast market in India?

Advances in IP technology are playing an important role in meeting the growing demand for live content in the sports industry, including India, and we’re seeing increasing use of LiveU technology.

At the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia, for example, ESPN India, one of the biggest regional sports broadcasters, was there in Moscow, to catch all the live action with the LU600 HEVC. “We used LiveU units throughout the tournament to capture live feeds that were sent back to India to be broadcast live on Sony Pictures Networks India. Our experience was really good – even at crowded locations where there were issues of network congestion. Sending live feeds back to India was seamless with no technological glitches,” said Suketu Mehta, a Multimedia Producer with ESPN, India

We also covered an interesting sports event live called ‘One Run’ which was a two-day marathon from Pune to Mumbai, Maharashtra. Their production team was thrilled because covering an event like this at such a cost wouldn’t have been possible if not for the portability factor.

We’re also seeing the deployment of remote at-home production – used by sports organisations, production companies, colleges, and brands – to save costs and simplify logistics. LiveU’s high-quality, reliable wireless solutions remove the need to deploy costly field production trucks and satellite uplinks and use expensive bandwidth at the venues themselves. Customers can simply produce live shows from their centralised studio control room using existing equipment.

4. Major broadcast brands have seen a big inorganic growth with its acquisition of leading broadcast brands in the past few years? What’s going to be the business strategy for LiveU? Is there any major acquisitions plan on the anvil to acquire competing brands?

We continue to focus on our core business, leading the global newsgathering and live sports and events industry with our hardware-based HEVC encoding solutions.

5. Is there any focussed business strategy to grow the markets in India? Which sector are you looking at to grow the business in India?

Our business strategy in India is in line with our global strategy, growing our business in the news, sports and live events sector.