By moving the VOD processing workflow from an on-premises system to a cloud-based servers solution, AT&T reduced the per-title cost of processing by 90%. Additionally, the time to process each title was reduced from an average of 10 hours to less than an hour. These cost and time savings allowed expansion of the VOD catalog while meeting internal SLAs and ensuring that the existing catalog was optimized for the new AT&T TV product offering.
Beyond the concrete benefits of reduced cost and processing time, the optimization of AT&T’s VOD workflow promotes innovation. By minimizing cost and processing time, AT&T’s product and engineering teams are able to perform experiments with alternative encoding, DRM and packaging solutions with the confidence that they can deploy the best technology to customers across the breadth and depth of the sizable VOD catalog. This agility has already allowed adoption of CMAF packaging and recognition of additional cost savings by replacing DRM systems with alternates.
The optimization of AT&T’s VOD workflow also resulted in some radical and unexpected cost savings. Like much of the rest of the industry, AT&T employed “Just In Time” or JIT packaging of its VOD assets. JIT packaging provides support for the multiple outputs required by different video players by reading a single common source and packaging it the requested format on the fly. It does so to minimize storage costs, which it trades for the requirement of always-on compute resources, resulting in higher than necessary costs, operational complexity, and performance impacts. The low cost, high performance, and high reliability of s3 coupled with the low cost and low processing time of the new VOD workflow meant that AT&T could eliminate “Just In Time” or JIT packaging by packaging each asset in all of the required formats. In doing so, AT&T was able to eliminate an entire cost center with a sizable monthly cost for compute resources, load balancers, and egress traffic.