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CenturyLink, AWS Forge a Video Connection

Jeff Baumgartner
9/11/2018
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As the demand for video streaming and over-the-top content delivery continues to surge, CenturyLink said it has established a direct link with Amazon Web Services.

More specifically, CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), which closed its acquisition of Level 3 Communications last year, has struck a deal to hook its Vyvx suite of fiber-based broadcaster services to the Amazon Web Services Inc. platform to handle both critical workflow data as well as the video payloads themselves. (See CenturyLink's $34B Deal for Level 3 to Close This Week.)

The agreement, which also forms a linkage to AWS Elemental Media Services, establishes "another node, if you will, on the Vyvx network," Bill Wohnoutka, VP of global Internet and content delivery services at CenturyLink, said. (See AWS Upgrades Elemental Video Services and Amazon Acquires Elemental for AWS.)

It also enables Vyvx customers to transmit secure video to that new AWS endpoint, whether it's for a live event, for the primary contribution coming out of a stadium or studio, or even if it's a TV channel that's being manipulated and prepared for OTT delivery.

CenturyLink will also use AWS for its Vyvx Cloud Connect platform. As a separate product line within the Vyvx portfolio, CenturyLink uses Cloud Connect that to sell data services into AWS and to other cloud providers that don't necessarily need the same reliability and monitoring that's required for high-quality broadcast video.

"It's not uncommon for broadcasters to have pretty significant data needs, especially with live events where there's a ton of post-production work that has to [be delivered] in real time," Wohnoutka said. "We see it as being pretty complementary."

He said the arrangement with AWS, announced ahead of this year's IBC show in Amsterdam, also comes about as critical requirements in the online video world continue to shift. While the need to constantly stay on top of streaming formats, like Microsoft Smooth Streaming, has settled down for the most part, "the workflows are really changing," Wohnoutka said.

Traditional programmers and media networks, for example, have increasingly looked to AWS to handle high-profile content.

"The Super Bowl is not being published to the Internet this way, but you could very well see that happening down the road," Wohnoutka said.

CenturyLink also did the deal as some of its partners increasingly use AWS for their data-centric workflows and are now looking for AWS to handle the workflow for the live video payload.

To cope with that trend, "you've only got one answer -- you've got to bring [AWS] on-net and make it available," Wohnoutka said, noting that the amount of interest in AWS from traditional broadcasters has "blown me away." "At NAB [in April], you couldn't have a conversation without talking about a workflow that was being tested going through AWS or, in some cases, production workflows already moving through AWS."

The deal also enters play as CenturyLink continues to see an uptick in demand for streaming from various segments of the market. In addition to broadcasters and programmers, it's also seeing more need for live streaming video coming way of pure OTT companies, including virtual MVPDs, as well as customers in the gaming/e-sports sector that run live tournaments through AWS.

"This is a time of incredible transition in the industry," Wohnoutka said.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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