Ateme grabs Russian deal, setting up early for World Cup fever

Building on its recent success of powering the 2017 French Open in virtual reality, encoding specialist Ateme has won a deployment this week at sports-focused Russian broadcast equipment provider TV Start.

It was five years ago when the door into Russia was first guided opened for Ateme, via a partnership with SVN Group, a local company providing management systems for controlling the processes of reception, storage, compression, processing and transmission for digital video content. The two kicked off by deploying a project for SNG (Satellite News Gathering) firm Sercom, and SVN Group also seems to have gifted Ateme its latest deal at TV Start.

Today, Ateme highlights Russia as one of its strongholds, although it currently only has two public customers in the country aside from TV Start, which are satellite media platform Orion and broadcaster JSC Channel One Russia.

The OTT video market in Russia isn’t exactly blessed with positive press coverage, with good reason. The country is fighting a losing battle against content piracy and it could take at least a decade before the bulk of the Russian population is clued up on content piracy, and even then they may not care about protecting foreign content.

But with Russia hosting the 2018 soccer World Cup, Ateme is well positioned to rake in some major deals which will come with the billions of viewers tuning in around the globe, across multiple devices. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil reached a total audience of 3.2 billion viewers, with more than 1 billion watching the tournament’s finale, according to data from FIFA and Kantar Media.

Ateme was delivering 4K contribution feeds from the last World Cup in H.264 in 60 Gbps for broadcasters, but we expect it to have some involvement in powering VR applications for the World Cup in Russia. It says the use of its Titan Live software-based video system at the 2017 French Open at Roland-Garros was a resounding success – offering 180-degree and 360-degree live viewing experiences, created by VR app developer LiveLike VR.

The World Cup, however, is on a totally different level in terms of viewers. No compression company in the world has had to deliver anything like the scale that will come with distributing live VR experiences to the sheer volume of viewers which will be tuning in next summer.

Following the 2014 World Cup, live TV streams grew 297%, according to Freewheel, and it was the biggest live streaming event in the history of the internet – a crown which will undoubtedly be nabbed by the 2018 event.

The French firm’s flagship Kyrion encoders, based on its fifth generation Stream compression engine, are being deployed to upgrade TV Start’s mobile TV units – supporting internet streaming and satellite broadcast of live events. Kyrion includes technologies such as HEVC, Remux and ARQ, and Ateme says the inclusion of features such as ultra-fast-boot, ultra-low latency, built-in monitor, audio loudness control, ABR output and DVB-S/DGNG/S2/S2x support makes it perfect for live streaming sports events.

TV Start’s general producer, Vladimir Shirkov, said, “We chose Ateme over competitors for its high video quality, reliability and ease of use – something that is so important for a mobile TV unit that is limited on space. We were also swayed by the high level of customer support provided by Ateme and its representative in the Russian SVN Group. Ateme’s Kyrion encoder and decoder offers us flexibility in terms of codecs and provides the highest possible video quality for sport events broadcasting. Most importantly, this means we can provide viewers with a high-quality, reliable broadcast without any unnecessary interruptions.”

Igor Stankovic, EMEA sales manager at Ateme, said, “This is a very promising partnership which cements our footprint in the country. Ateme’s Kyrion is the most suitable solution for satellite, IP and public internet video transmission. On top of that, Ateme can rely on a strong local partnership with SVN to support its existing base and future customers in the region.”