Simplestream, a leading provider of video services for the media and entertainment industry, today announced it has been selected by A+E Networks UK to provide TV Everywhere distribution services for its new UK free-to-air channel Blaze™.

Blaze is a free-to-air channel that debuted in the UK and Ireland on 20 September 2016 on Freeview and Sky with programming that includes ‘American Restoration’, ‘The First 48’, ‘Mountain Men’, ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘Unusual Suspects’. The channel is now also available on Freesat.

To further extend its reach and maximise consumer engagement, A+E Networks is utilising Simplestream’s Media Manager SaaS solution for the delivery of live TV, catch-up TV and VOD services to desktop, iOS, Android and Apple TV (4th Gen) users.

Heather Jones, General Manager at A+E Networks UK said: “We’re very pleased to be working with Simplestream to ensure that Blaze provides a really compelling and easy to navigate ‘TV Everywhere’ experience that truly engages UK consumers. Their experienced team has provided us with the tools and services to seamlessly and effectively manage our multiscreen assets.”

The entirely cloud-based solution leverages several of Media Manager’s modules to provide a powerful and fully automated workflow. The Simplestream team completed a comprehensive integration with A+E’s playout provider to create a single unified workflow that ingests the live channel and creates VOD assets directly from A+E’s Media Asset Management system – including full management of associated metadata and media rights controls.

“With consumers becoming accustomed to constant connectivity, it is now vital that broadcasters retain a competitive edge by ensuring their content is accessible from any device,” added Dan Finch, Commercial Director at Simplestream. “Embracing new and innovative platforms is a significant move for the UK’s free to air TV market. We’ve achieved this for A+E Networks by providing a cost effective, premium quality live, VOD and catch-up TV experience that will help the network reach a wider audience. We look forward to helping A+E Networks roll out its channels across other OTT platforms and to make Blaze a household name in the coming months.”

Simplestream’s Media Manager is a suite of powerful cloud modules that reduce the complexity and cost of delivering a comprehensive range of live, catch-up and VOD streaming solutions. With its unique architecture, Media Manager has consistently delivered rapid deployments for highly scalable live and VOD content workflows. Its modular flexibility also enables existing platforms and content services to enhance their offerings with features like realtime editing and dynamic syndication.

About Simplestream

Simplestream is a London headquartered company, providing market leading video services such as live streaming and live-to-VOD solutions to media and entertainment companies, telecommunications and content providers. Founded in 2010, Simplestream works across the sports, music, news, entertainment and teleshopping sectors. Its solutions have been adopted by leading providers including At The Races, RacingUK, Box Plus Network, Discovery Networks, Scripps Networks, Turner Broadcasting, Sony and QVC.

About A+E Networks UK

A+E Networks® UK is a joint venture between A+E Networks® and Sky. Its portfolio of quality factual and entertainment channels includes HISTORY®, Lifetime®, Crime + Investigation®, H2® and new free-to-air channel BLAZE™.

A+E Networks UK launched in November 1995 and now operates 20 channels, broadcasting into 64 million homes across 90 countries in the UK, Scandinavia, Benelux, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The venture has offices in London, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Johannesburg.