Learn how Simplestream helped A+E Networks to reach wider audiences with live and on demand content, distributed across a variety of platforms and devices.


Content Owners


Editorial Staff


March 1, 2016

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Automated generation of VOD assets

A&E Networks is an American broadcasting company that’s a joint venture between Hearst Communication and The Walt Disney Company through its General Entertainment Content division. It selected Simplestream to power the UK’s own streaming services for Blaze, as part of the brand portfolio. Blaze is A+E Networks’ first global free-to-air brand, an entertainment-focused channel that celebrates people who achieve the extraordinary through determination, courage, and a hint of maverick spirit.

At the core of the initial brief was the requirement for an architecture that could bring together an existing set of applications and Simplestream’s modular solution to automate the generation of on demand assets from live streams, as well as the frontend of web, iOS, and Android apps.


Live2VOD and advertising through a dedicated SDK

Blaze’s website presents content to the end-users with a homepage, live, catch-up, series, and articles sections. Simplestream provides series and catch-up end points for the live streaming, and part of the existing frontend development is utilised to power the solution.

Simplestream also deployed its proprietary Media Manager, leveraging the Live2VOD module, to automate the generation of video-on-demand assets within minutes from broadcast. The live content, received into a Media Excel encoder, populates the Blaze website and apps, together with catchup content. Simplestream applies the transmission (TX) playout schedule and the EPG to the live stream in order to generate the content, resulting in a multi-part ingest workflow. The VOD content is then published through the existing webpages and iOS and Android applications, which are organised through playlists that sit at the core of the navigation system.

Finally, the applications leverage Simplestream’s APIs, as well as a pre-integrated Freewheel SDK to provide Blaze with the option to advertise their content, including pre-roll and mid-rolls. The TX schedule includes ad-breaks, which allow Simplestream to generate the MP4 request, storing the cue points for the adverts and passing them on to the ad server as needed.


Millions of views, seamless experience

Since its launch in 2016, Blaze has reached tens of millions of views, available in the UK across various free-to-air platforms and on owned and operated streaming applications for web, iOS, and Android. With an ever-expanding viewership, A+E Networks chose Simplestream to power Blaze’s services, leveraging the flexible, cloud-based solution provided, and maintaing the highest quality of live and on demand content delivery.

The key aspect of the project is represented by the automated Live2VOD workflows, which also allow for advertising solutions through the Freewheel SDK for enhanced monetisation.