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In 2020, Media Group Ukraine launched a Pay TV broadcast project based on its own unique content. As one of the largest and most influential media holdings in the country it already has a national on-air TV channel “Ukraine”, a whole pool of entertainment and thematic TV channels, its own production and as well as new media projects. MGU has successfully launched its OTT platform OLL.TV and Xtra TV satellite broadcasting operator. Therefore, international distribution of its own content has become a logical strategic decision. The international versions of terrestrial channels "Ukraine" and NLO TV - Ukraine1 / Ukraine2 and NLO TV 1 / NLO TV 2 were brought to the market.
Channel Ukraine 1 - features Ukrainian TV series, feature films, documentaries, social and information/documentary programs.
Channel Ukraine 2 – features social and entertainment programs and shows. NLO TV 1 is a comedy series and entertainment program.
Channel NLO TV 2 - educational shows and programs with travel, experiments, etc.
These new channels are being broadcast 24/7 in HD quality relying on the SteamLabs VPlay broadcast playout system. Currently, the broadcast is in Ukrainian and Russian languages, with plans to localize content internationally and add regional subtitles. According to Alexander Remezovsky, director of Pay TV channels and Media Platforms, “channels are now broadcast to all continents: from the near abroad, to Canada and the United States. At the moment the largest customer base is in the European Union.
The strategy of reusing content on live channels is, of course, primarily due to additional monetization. For a production company, the primary use of our content is VoD sold to various operators. Our content comprises of serials, and television programs of various subjects. Thanks to the development of new media projects and technologies, there is an additional opportunity to monetize and reuse media resources. We see the creation of our own pay TV channels for IPTV and OTT providers as an additional revenue stream. Our experience has demonstrated that this strategic direction is very lucrative and has resulted in a marked audience increase. Therefore, in the near future, Media Group Ukraine plans to launch three more pay TV channels for the domestic as well as international markets.
From a technical point of view, the implementation and maintenance of a multichannel project requires the deployment of an automated broadcast system. At the heart of Pay TV Media Group Ukraine is the VPlay playout system supplied by STREAM LABS. At the moment, the system installed at MGU supports 10 HD channels in 1 + 1 redundancy mode, that is, full broadcast duplication. This approach provides maximum resiliency and ensures uninterrupted content delivery. An important factor when choosing a broadcast automation system was the completeness of VPlay functionality - in addition to direct broadcast and encoding of the output signal, it allows you to automatically work with age tags, ad insertion, embed announcements and overlay on-air graphics - logos, pop-up plates and other design elements. VPlay has been successfully integrated with the existing OTT platform enterprise CMS system. This, in turn, allowed the TV channels to work with a huge media database and content archive. After the automation system was installed, the playout functionality was integrated to work with logos.”
Alexander Remezovsky notes that the selection of the VPlay platform was based on the need to improve the quality of content broadcast for international distribution. “And, today, we can confidently say that the decision has surpassed expectations. Successful audience growth and content sales allows for the planned expansion of the playout system, we plan to launch three new channels in the near future, and in the long term expand the network to 14-16 HD channels.”
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