Matej Husek, CNC CDO
Chief Digital Officer Matej Husek: “I always look for new technologies to improve our service, user experience, and of course, our value to customers. HolaCDN is a great enabler in these efforts.”
Soccer is sacred to Europeans. This season millions of fans will be watching football matches online through platforms using HolaCDN. Czech News Center (CNC), the second largest media houses in the Czech Republic, holds exclusive rights for broadcasting football in the Czech Republic and trusts HolaCDN to deliver the best viewing experience to fans. Along with football, CNC has over 30 websites and a vast trove of video content provided by its VOD service. CNC chose HolaCDN to support its wide-ranging media platforms and to solve its performance issues--to improve user quality of experience and significantly reduce video processing costs. Thanks to HolaCDN, CNC offers video content with less buffering and faster video starts so that football fans can reliably depend on CNC and enjoy the games without disruption in performance.
CNC turns to HolaCDN to improve performance
With its well-known sites like blesk.cz and isport.cz, CNC has dominated Czech media for years. But as CDO Matej Husek describes, before CNC integrated HolaCDN, there were some peaks when it received complaints about its video-delivery performance. The problem: CNC depended on a traditional CDN based in Slovakia, which was significantly impacted by the congested access lines between Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The result was too much buffering and slow video start times. CNC also had no way to measure real user quality of experience and depended on requesting user report, which were sporadic.
“As the company's Chief Digital Officer,” say Husek, “my duty is always to look for new technologies in order to improve our service, user experience and of course our value to advertisers.” Husek found that new technology in HolaCDN.
The architecture of the 3rd-generation HolaCDN differs radically from the traditional CDN. Instead of receiving video content exclusively from its traditional CDN’s Slovakian-based servers, HolaCDN uses mid-stream switching to deliver CNC’s video content from servers located in multiple locations. Users receive their first video segments from the best performing and fastest server, so that start time is the fastest. As the viewers are watching those first few seconds, Hola’s mid stream switching technology receives the rest of the segments from other servers located around the world, thus leaving the local servers free to help the next viewer get a very fast video start. This unique “mid-stream switching” technology, which Husek praises as “a sophisticated method to improve user experience,” creates a faster and more reliable experience for the viewer.
Because HolaCDN can make use of multiple CDNs, the risk of video and advertising play failures is dramatically reduced. For example, during peak viewing times when thousands tune in to watch a playoff game, if the first video segments fail to arrive in time from CNC’s traditional CDN, the HolaCDN will deploy them from one of its worldwide servers that are idle (due to their time difference with the Czech Republic).
For CNC, HolaCDN was especially attractive because it did not have to remove or make changes to its video player and the traditional Slovakian CDN that it contractually inherited. CNC simply added HolaCDN, which works with its existing CDN, to vastly improve the video delivery experience!
Finally, CNC gains access to real-time user Quality of Experience data
CNC derives considerable benefits in performance and reliability because of HolaCDN’s real-time video analytics module. Husek is thrilled that CNC can now “focus on each user’s watching parameters rather than [only] looking at network conditions. Now using Hola Video Analytics module, we have visibility to user quality of experience; start time; skip; percent of video watched, etc.”
Thanks to the HolaCDN Video Analytics dashboard which provides user QoE data, CNC gained access to all the key parameters of customers' viewing experience. The HolaCDN dashboard slices data by geography, browser type, operating system, device, screen type and more. All of the statistics are available on a per-CDN basis, allowing you to easily compare performance metrics between the various CDNs used by CNC viewers.
Improved user experience means users return for more video--and ads
Improving quality of experience for users correlates directly to advertising revenue, as Husek explains: “When user experience improves, they return to watch more video, and as a result, ad revenue increases.” HolaCDN provides CNC users with higher-quality videos and better quality experience, which means CNC users will spend more time watching football, and as a result, more time watching ads. Along with improving performance, CNC keep providing cutting edge video technology to users such as 360 degrees (VR) video, which it supported seamlessly by HolaCDN.
Lowering processing costs while improving video quality
CNC not only managed to solve its performance issues with HolaCDN, but found its processing costs declining as well. “We are also looking constantly to reduce our video processing cost per gigabyte and Hola’s flat and low price is a great enabler to this effort," Husek points out.
How did HolaCDN manage to reduce costs for CNC? It goes back to Hola’s use of multiple servers in its midstream-switching technology. Because HolaCDN delivers its video in segments, it can provide fast and reliable starts from the best servers, while delivering remaining video segments from its low-cost servers around the globe.
This season football fans and CNC can rest easy and enjoy their sport. With HolaCDN, they have much to cheer for!