Kayo thanks cloud for successful rebound after COVID sports break
In March 2020, live sports were suspended in Australia in response to COVID-19. The winter season had just kicked off two weeks earlier, and sports streaming platform Kayo had braced itself for a period of six to eight months of heavy use and an increase in subscribers.
Like almost every other business, Kayo had to “pivot” to get the most out of the new standard.
“AFL, NRL, Supercars, Formula 1 – they all come at the same time, and in the process we’ve grown pretty steadily with [customer base] around 450,000. That was going to be the next step with the launch of this winter code and really the start of the next wave of growth, ”explained Kayo CEO Julian Ogrin.
“And then, I think it was March 24, everything stopped. We went from 700 hours of live sport… to having absolutely nothing. I don’t think there has ever been a business plan or a business case, which took into account the sport really stops. ”
Kayo had to focus instead on reruns and driving entertainment from its existing catalog.
“It was probably a good learning curve for us too because we actually had to step out of our comfort zone … one of the things we learned was that even though live sport does not ‘was not there, our fans still wanted him to consume something, “he said.
As Australia had a good grip on community transmission of COVID, live sport has returned, just in a different form with empty stadiums.
“It was a game changer for us,” Ogrin said. “There’s no way you’ll ever prepare for a scenario like this.
“In an empty stadium world, we even had to pivot on things like innovation – the noise of the crowd, and all those kinds of things that we had to learn about, because you don’t want to remind people that there is an empty stadium. ”
The comeback of live sports has seen a “phenomenal” number of people subscribing to Kayo. The platform peaked at around 600,000 customers.
As Kayo had the advantage of watching other streaming platforms before launching, it was built on the cloud. Amazon Web Services (AWS) prevented Kayo from dropping the proverbial ball.
Despite being a streaming site, Ogrin likened his business to selling tickets to a concert, given the explosions in use and the scale required.
“We see over 30,000 people come and register… before an event kicks off or starts,” he said. “So in terms of being able to manage the enrollment journey, the authentication journey, and doing it all in two to three minutes – driving the scale of those transactions, AWS plays a big role in that.
“And then you get to the video player experience, which has the same scale voltage as the inscription, because everyone turns on the video player at the same time, can just turn that on from a static position to a position. optimal. , peak performance within 60 seconds. ”
In April 2021 alone, Kayo delivered over 25 million hours of sports content.
Kayo is owned by Streamotion, which is part of the Foxtel group. The group also launched in 2020 an entertainment service, Binge, which Ogrin said had the benefit of learning from Kayo.
But it’s not just Kayo and Binge hosting that AWS relies on.
Kayo has developed a unified data lake on AWS, integrating internal and external data sources, such as customer behavior, preferences, and profile information. Using analytics services, including the Amazon Redshift Cloud Data Warehouse, the Amazon Glue Serverless Data Integration Service, and the Amazon Athena Interactive Query Service, Kayo analyzes information such as preferences for subscriber content and real-time streaming video performance to create what Ogrin called a unified view of the customer, to gauge an individual’s engagement with content from streaming platforms, and adjust the content library to offer a personalized menu of sporting events.
On March 18, Kayo and Binge saw a spike in demand on its platform with major events including live AFL and NRL matches and Zack Snyder’s Justice League superhero film airing simultaneously. .
With support for the AWS CloudFront content delivery network service, AWS Elemental Media Live, and AWS Elemental Media Package, as well as AWS Elemental Media Tailor, the platform was able to handle over 350,000 peak concurrent streams reaching over 6 million hours of content through the four days of the peak.
“It was fascinating to see two companies… the enrollment trips, the authentication, the video player, all of those things absolutely have to go from zero to fifth gear in seconds and minutes,” Ogrin said. “It went really well, it was the first test to see two verticals happening at the same time. I don’t think we’ll see this too often, but it was the ultimate test and it really held up.”