Encoding.com Talks Telestream Acquisition and Powering M&E VOD and Broadcast Workflows
A few months after being acquired by Telestream, VOD media processing specialist Encoding.com claims that combined service is now set to revolutionise cloud media processing workflows for Media & Entertainment.
“What is exciting for us is that we’re bringing together the market leader in cloud based video processing in Encoding.com and the market leader in providing very powerful video processing tools for many if not most of the M&E companies in Telestream,” says Jeff Malkin, previously president at Encoding.com and now VP Cloud Revenue at Telestream.
“Encoding.com has been powering hundreds of thousands of workflows over the past decade for large M&E companies,” Malkin told Streaming Media.
“We have processed billions of videos and are doing a trillion API requests a year. Over the last 14 years we have evolved into a very mature and highly scalable platform," Malkin adds. "We’re now utilising over 50 different media processing engines underneath our API to drive a growing suite of microservices like transcoding, ABR, broadcast packaging, DRM, captioning and subtitles conversion, and complex audio management. Our approach has allowed our customers to integrate our API once and have their workflows future-proof.
“The acquisition means we can now start to add and replace engines specifically from Telestream. What that means for customers is that by adding Telestream’s IP to the Encoding.com platform we can support a much larger variety of post and broadcast workflows.”
Before the acquisition, Encoding.com was powering OTT workflows for steaming services including those of Hollywood studios. This included ingesting mezzanine source video and transcoding it before adding ABR packaging, DRM, and DAI triggers and dealing with caption conversions.
“In the last couple of years we started supporting broadcast workflows but we weren’t doing it so well,” Malkin admits. “Before the acquisition many of the engines we were utilising were open-source engines which made it very difficult to support broadcast workflows.”
Telestream by contrast, have “already solved the difficulties in powering content preparation workflow for broadcast. So by adding Telestream Media Framework engines into our platform customers can now power OTT and more complex broadcast and post workflows. We are combining the best in cloud-based media processing but using the same trusted engines that have been driving on premises video workflows for many years.”
For example, one large US media company uses Encoding.com primarily for broadcast, “But now with Telestream Media Framework we can support the entirety of requirements in the cloud. I anticipate the pace of broadcast migration to 100% cloud processing will significantly accelerate. The same workflows we support on prem we can now support in the cloud.”
Malkin also predicts an acceleration of workflow convergence. “In most media companies the OTT side of the house and digital video supply chains grew up separately to broadcast. We will soon be launching [early 2023] a complete new set of technology called Broadcast HLS that allows us to utilise a lot of the HLS content we are producing for OTT workflows and modify it for broadcast workflows. That allows a customer to remove the duplicate workflows and all the hardware and software they are managing for dedicated broadcast workflows.”
Does this signal a move into live workflows for sports? Not yet, but there are hints this is on the roadmap.
“We have the capability and technology to support live linear workflows but we’ve chosen not to support that right now," Malkin says. "It’s a different beast. Supporting live linear is fairly simple from a transcoding and processing perspective but complex from an operational standpoint needing 24/7 NOCs in place.”
Several years ago, Encoding.com did engage in live production but pulled the plug a year later “for strategic and business decision making,” says Malkin. “Focusing on VOD has been a competitive advantage for us. VOD content preparation, transcoding, and packaging is very complex. Other competitors out there try and support VOD, live linear and provide analytics and a player and ad serving. When you start supporting multiple components and workflows it is difficult to be the best in world at any one. We chose to concentrate on VOD processing in the cloud.
“Who knows how things may change. Now we have a lot more resources behind us with the Telestream acquisition… I wouldn’t be surprised if we started supporting that in the near future.”
Most of the processing it does is with Amazon but Encoding.com supports multiple cloud platforms including Azure, GCP, and open stack for private cloud implementations.
Since being acquired by VC firm Genstar Capital in 2015, Telestream have expanded their presence with a series of acquisitions with those in the last three years alone including Tektronix, PandaStream, EcoDigital, ContentAgent, Sherpa Digital Media, and Masstech.
Ernest Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Telestream says, “Every other company that we acquired became a product of Telestream when we incorporated it under the Telestream family. Encoding.com is different. It is best in class, cloud native and we are clear that we would not take away the Encoding.com brand.”
The brand and logo are now badged ‘Encoding.com--powered by Telestream’.
Malkin says that soon after the acquisition he and his business partner Greggory Heil (Founder and CEO Encoding.com who is also now senior at Telestream) realised the full strategic value of combining the two companies. “At Encoding.com we are at the orchestration level. We developed the engines ourselves to operate in the cloud but we were not operating at the data layer. Telestream operates at the data layer with proven tools that customers are already comfortable with. Vantage was already being used by the customers I was going after. I was selling against Vantage on prem to customers. While customers understand the value of cloud – ease of deployment, efficiency of dynamically spinning up and down instances, SaaS cost models--they were weighing that versus all the powerful features that Vantage had that weren’t in the cloud.
“Now the same tools that power Vantage on prem are being incorporated into Encoding.com cloud. We will leverage the framework to add new tools and make an unrivaled cloud solution.”
Encoding.com claims to be the fastest cloud encoding platform available, and even guarantees it with queue-time SLAs. It claims to be 61% faster than on-premise hardware and 100 times faster than FTP. The queue time is as fast as 18 seconds, again with guaranteed SLA.
A "Ludicrous Mode" accelerates this further by processing HD content at speeds up to 20% of real-time and UHD up to 30% of real-time.
“Anyone transcoding Dolby Vision longform content knows it can take 48 hours to process just one hour,” Malkin says. “Now we’ve added Dolby Vision support for Ludicrous to slash the time to just a few hours.”
In a press statement Dan Castles, CEO at Telestream, said, “Over Encoding.com’s 13-year history, the company has generated significant traction powering video supply chains for leading streaming platforms, content distributors, and web-based VOD platforms. Being cloud-native from inception, the technology fits perfectly within the strategic direction at Telestream to offer our customers the ultimate flexibility to meet their most demanding workflow needs across cloud, on-prem or hybrid environments. This acquisition, together with Telestream’s 25-year heritage of continuous media workflow innovation, cements our leadership position across the entire VOD cloud media processing ecosystem.”