Official Blog

Client spotlight: Disney/ABC Television Group

Oct 14th, 2014

What does it take for a traditional TV network to break with tradition – and thrive in the process?

Faced with a new generation of viewers demanding round-the-clock, mobile access to their favorite programming, traditional networks stand at a crossroads. They can either resist the trend, or they can do as Disney/ABC Television has done: embrace it.

With its WATCH ABC app, Disney/ABC is responding to new paradigms in media consumption by making it easier for viewers to access their favorite programming. The app does this in two fundamental ways: 

  1. Delivering live broadcasts from local ABC affiliates to any device
  2. Enabling on-demand streaming of recent episodes of any ABC series

According to Albert Cheng, Executive VP and Chief Product Officer for Disney/ABC Television Group, WATCH ABC is just the beginning. The way Albert sees it, the continued success of Disney/ABC depends on aligning content distribution with evolving viewer preferences – an objective that’s more attainable than ever thanks to the latest technologies.

To learn more about how Disney/ABC is expanding access to programming, we met with Albert Cheng himself. Following is a selection from our interview with him:

Verizon Digital Media Services: How is technology helping Disney/ABC create new viewing experiences?

Albert Cheng: Our primary objective is delivering the highest caliber video quality to viewers’ devices, and technology helps us do that. It’s also helping us enhance viewing experiences with interactive and personalized features.

How do we enable new social experiences during a live broadcast? How do we let people watch video whenever they want? Addressing these challenges requires sophisticated technology on the back end.

Verizon Digital Media Services: Looking ahead, what are some new innovations you see the network pursuing?

Albert: I think the next wave of innovation will involve managing the ecosystem of devices consumers are using. For example, content providers will have to consider how iPads, Apple TV, and cable services work together, how consumers use those devices, and what kinds of apps can bolster media brands on those disparate platforms.

Verizon Digital Media Services: Speaking of apps that bolster media brands, how are immersive apps and experiences already helping media companies grow?

Albert: If you can create an exceptional experience for viewers, you open up opportunities for sponsors and advertisers to reach them, too. Every time we come up with a new product, one of our biggest concerns is how it increases engagement. We find that helping consumers achieve something, like gain backstage access to the Oscars through our app, for example, increases engagement as well as monetization potential.

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Client spotlight: Cooking.com

Oct 9th, 2014

As a leading culinary e-commerce company, Cooking.com is continuously refining and optimizing the shopping experience for its users. The goal: increase conversions, for example by streamlining the purchasing process with a single-page checkout (which can improve conversions by up to 21.8%, according to SEOshop).

On top of its own website offering over 30,000 products for the kitchen as well as recipes, cookbooks and a growing library of member-submitted cooking content, Cooking.com operates uniquely branded stores, including the Food Network Store.

Watch this short interview with Cooking.com’s QA Director to learn how Cooking.com improves key site metrics such as conversions and bounce rate using Verizon Digital Media Services:

Client spotlight: REVOLT TV

Oct 3rd, 2014

Interview with Grant Koeneke, VP of Digital Engineering at REVOLT TV

With a target audience between the ages of 16 and 25, REVOLT TV delivers a new sort of music-related programming – the kind that reflects viewing habits of the young and incessantly web-connected.

These viewers don’t just see and interact with REVOLT’s content through their TV sets. They view it on their phones, share it on social media, and contribute to on-air conversations, sometimes directly.

Owned in part by hip hop artist and industry magnate Sean “Diddy” Combs, the network seeks to edify 25 million households about vibrant underground cultures and music subgenres. Sean Combs calls it “the ESPN of music.”

Given REVOLT’s objectives, access to the latest video technologies is key to connecting with viewers and expanding the brand’s global reach. We recently caught up with Grant Koeneke, VP of Digital Engineering at REVOLT TV, to discuss what he thinks today’s young viewers expect from a TV experience. Below is a portion of our exclusive interview followed by a video we created based on the conversation.

Verizon Digital Media Services: How does your target demographic consume media?

Grant: Our viewers are showing us what the future of TV will look like. For them, a television hanging on the wall is yesterday’s technology. They’re viewing and interacting with media on mobile devices, and that means the future of TV is, quite literally, in their hands. They consume media everywhere. And we expect this trend to grow over the next few years.

Also, this generation grew up with HD television. Whether to deliver HD content isn’t even part of the question. These viewers demand it. So in addition to mobile accessibility, all video needs to meet the highest standards for quality.

Verizon: To what extent does audience interaction influence REVOLT’s strategy?

Grant: Our viewers flood us with comments on social media, and that’s exactly what we want. We want them to use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other avenues to connect with us and be part of the conversation. It’s a completely two-way conversation. We’re just facilitating it.

We’ve made it so viewers can interact with us in real time, right here in the studio. They use their mobile devices and web apps to call in.

Verizon: How important are those kinds of strategies to this generation of viewers?

Grant: One thing we’ve learned about this audience, especially the younger set, is that they don’t just want to contribute to the conversation – they want to be seen contributing to it. They want others to see them saying whatever it is they have to say.

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Additional Shellshock (GNU Bash) Vulnerabilities (CVE-2014-6277 and CVE-2014-6278) Identified (post updated on October 14, 2014)

Sep 30th, 2014

On September 29, 2014, two additional vulnerabilities were identified in GNU Bash. Per our defined risk mitigation procedures, we continue to do vulnerability assessments on all of our systems and take the requisite steps to mitigate any potential risks.

A WAF-based rule is available to all our application performance (ADN) and commerce (Transact) customers that will inspect all HTTP/HTTPS requests targeted at their origin to protect their own internal systems against the latest vulnerabilities described in CVE-2014-6277, CVE-2014-6278, CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169.

Update October 14, 2014:

Additional protection built into our software stack (Sailfish) offers protection to all our customers. This solution will also inspect all HTTP/HTTPS requests for attacks. However, this protection is applied directly into a customer’s configuration files and must be enabled by Verizon EdgeCast employees. Customers can request our solution by contacting us at:

Email: support@edgecast.com
Toll-Free (USA only): 877-EDGE-CDN
Telephone: 1-310-396-7400

An update on the ShellShock vulnerability for Verizon EdgeCast customers

Sep 29th, 2014

Since becoming aware of the Shellshock (CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169) Bash vulnerability, the Verizon EdgeCast security team worked hard to mitigate risks to our environment and that of our customers.

While it is important to note that Verizon EdgeCast’s CDN infrastructure runs on a purpose-built, hardened configuration with many layers of security control, monitoring, and auditing, our defined risk mitigation procedures required that we pro-actively patch and provide software updates to all relevant servers. This activity is now complete. In addition, we made available a WAF-based rule to all of our application performance (ADN) and commerce (Transact) customers to help them protect their own internal systems.

Our ability to complete this massive update in a timely manner is attributable to our SuperPOP architecture, which prioritizes POP quality and connectivity over quantity, alongside our extensive automation and advanced testing procedures. It is this same architecture that enables us to purge caches almost instantly, update WAF rules worldwide in fewer than 5 minutes, respond automatically in minutes to DDoS attacks, and provide industry-leading performance.

Free and comprehensive protection for ShellShock code injection vulnerability available to Verizon EdgeCast customers

Sep 26th, 2014

Verizon EdgeCast has created a Web Application Firewall (WAF) instance designed to identify and block attacks targeting the recently discovered ShellShock vulnerability. These WAF rules are implemented by Verizon EdgeCast’s Network Operations Center (NOC) and require no configuration on the customer side.

Customers do not need to be an existing WAF user; any Verizon EdgeCast ADN and Transact customer can enable this protection free of charge for 30 days by contacting our NOC:

Email: support@edgecast.com
Toll-Free (USA only): 877-EDGE-CDN
Telephone: 1-310-396-7400

The WAF rule is designed to check for a ShellShock attack across multiple vectors in an HTTP request and to stop any attacks at the edge.

This instance identifies and blocks attacks targeting the ShellShock vulnerability (CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169) residing on servers running GNU Bash (Bourne again shell) and transported via HTTP/HTTPS traffic. The WAF instance will inspect the entire HTTP/HTTPS request (request line, header, and body) to detect attack traffic. If an attack is detected, the WAF will block the request and return an HTTP 403 (forbidden) response.

Customers who enable this free protection service will not have access to the full WAF rulesets or portal functionality.

Please contact your account representative to learn more about Verizon EdgeCast’s comprehensive web-based security solutions, or visit: http://www.edgecast.com/services/security/.

Client spotlight: Build.com

Sep 13th, 2014

Build.com’s mission is to make home improvement easy. Number 80 in IR’s list of the largest retailers in North America, build.com is driven by a relentless focus on their customers. Together with Verizon Digital Media Services, Build.com takes its website into a new era of instant gratification and real-time expectations.

Watch the video to learn how Build.com drives revenue and user satisfaction using Verizon Digital Media Services’ Commerce Solution.

Driving viewing and social engagement for PaleyFest, the greatest television festival in the world

Sep 9th, 2014

Each spring, PaleyFest brings television fans, casts, and series creators together for the greatest television festival in the world. More than 30,000 fans gathered at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood earlier this year to connect with the people who direct and star in critically-acclaimed shows like AMC’s Mad Men, CW’s The Vampire Diaries, and the Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.

Since they feature the complete casts of TV’s most popular series, PaleyFest events draw huge crowds. Throw in exclusive previews of upcoming episodes and behind-the-scenes stories direct from the producers – this year, Veep creator Armando Iannucci revealed why he avoids cameos from real politicians – and you’ve got all the right ingredients for off-the-charts fan engagement.

But not everyone can attend PaleyFest in person. Many fans experience PaleyFest via the PaleyFest app, which lets them stream festival events in real time from anywhere in the world.

In the past, enabling a live stream was a complicated process for PaleyFest producers. According to Tony Ciesniewski, PaleyFest’s director of technology, streaming vendors would arrive on the scene “with proprietary equipment and a large number of people.” It was a high-maintenance arrangement that involved a lot of coordination with third party teams.

This year, PaleyFest was able to deliver real-time streaming with just two laptops and software from Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS). No third party equipment. No big video crews. Just a simple, on-demand streaming service that Ciesniewski describes as “flawless.”

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Client spotlight: 1 Mainstream

Aug 29th, 2014

At Verizon EdgeCast, we work with companies that are redefining innovation in media, e-commerce, and high tech. In this section, we feature our most forward thinking customers and tell their stories of creating superior user experiences and simplifying the digital future.

Solving the OTT distribution challenge – 1 Mainstream

Content owners know it all too well: consumers want to watch what they want, whenever they want – on the device that is most convenient at that moment. Traditional TV and so-called “appointment viewing” is becoming less important by the day.

It is not surprising that online TV consumption across all devices has seen a 246% year-over-year growth, according to Adobe’s Q1 2014 Benchmark report. What’s notable is that IP-based TV and content delivery seems to be finally catching on in living rooms, too.

OTT access points, such as Apple TV, Roku, and game consoles, are increasing their share of total online video consumption. Again looking at the Adobe Benchmark report, there a two numbers that validate this trend:

  • 123% increase in video starts (largest growth of all devices)
  • 539% share growth in TV Everywhere authenticated video

This trend is set to continue. Last year, a PwC study estimated over-the-top TV streaming revenues at $3.3 billion. Fast-forward to 2018, PwC predicts it to be a $10.1 billion segment — too big to be just an afterthought for media companies.

This promise of triple digit growth is where the challenge for content owners lies. It’s the increasing number of OTT formats and devices that consumers can choose from that will make it ever more difficult -and time-consuming- to reach (and monetize) all of them.

Some of the factors that contribute to this challenge are:

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Broadcasting, reinvented

Aug 22nd, 2014

Visit Verizon Digital Media Services at IBC to see how!

From acquisition to encoding, delivery and playback, Verizon Digital Media Services’ cloud-based Broadcast Solution provides the easiest, most cost-effective way to adaptively stream all of your live, linear, and on demand content.

Verizon is a key component in how we deliver our video in this new world of TV Everywhere – Albert Cheng, E.V.P and Chief Product Officer, Digital Media, Disney/ABC Television group.

Contact us now to schedule a demonstration of our Broadcast Solution at this year’s IBC conference in Amsterdam. Our team will be there to show you how deploying a TV Everywhere solution has never been easier with Verizon’s end-to-end, cloud-based solution.

Stop by our stand in Hall 14, Stand G08, or schedule a meeting today: vdmsinfo@verizon.com

Verizon Digital Media Services will also be hosting a panel discussion on the first day of the exhibition:

IBC Panel:  The TV Everywhere Challenge - Reach Your Audience.

Place: Content Everywhere Hall (Center Stage)

Date: Friday, Sept 12

Time: 4:30 to 5:30 pm

Moderated by Colin Dixon, Founder, nScreen Media

Seats will be limited. Be sure to get there early!

For more information on our Broadcast Solution, please visit: www.uplynk.com/overview.html