Broadpeak asked Ching Ping Lee, Chief Technology Officer at Mola, about their experience streaming live sports. CP Lee joined the company in 2021 as CTO to drive its innovative advancement, after having had diverse roles in many other important companies in the industry, including Apple and HBO¹.
Mola is an Indonesian subscription video-on-demand and over-the-top streaming service headquartered in Jakarta. It is one of the fastest-growing entertainment networks in Indonesia and holds live and on-demand broadcasting rights for major sports competitions including the Premier League in Indonesia and Timor Leste ² .
Mola delivers live sports content via mobile apps and set-top boxes and uses Broadpeak’s advanced CDN, BkM100 video delivery manager, and BkS400 HTTP video cache servers, to deliver live EPL matches on every screen, guaranteeing a superior quality of experience (QoE) for fans while reducing video streaming costs ³.
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Recently, when you streamed major live sports events, what are the biggest quality issues you faced?
CP Lee. When it comes to live sports, the biggest issues are always the latency of the video stream, buffering of the feed and all these directly affect the experiences of our users.
How do you deal with latency for live sports streaming? What solutions have you implemented to limit latency?
CP Lee. In our attempts to reduce the latency, we look towards technologies that allow us ways to get the stream faster into the end-users device, while not sacrificing the quality at which they gets them. This includes exploring new technologies such as CMAF low latency solution, third-party delivery mechanism, etc.
How do you deal with buffering? What solutions have you implemented to reduce buffering?
CP Lee. The attempt to reduce buffering is not just a one-dimensional approach. What we have done on our end is to deploy the delivery network as close as we can to the end-users, and working with the relevant partners to ensure their users are adequately covered by these edge servers.
If you have experienced important peaks of traffic during the last sports event you have streamed, how did you manage peak traffic related to sports events? (What solutions/technologies do you use, do you rely on?)
CP Lee. The way Mola works is to bring together our technological partners such as Broadpeak to solve the problem with us as a team. Of course, getting a bigger pipe for the traffic is always the easiest, but not necessarily the best. Our current work with Broadpeak is but one of the many tracks on which we are working to manage it.
How important is live sport in your premium packages? and why?
CP Lee. Live sports, or Sports, for that matter, is one of the key pillars in Mola’s overall content strategy, alongside its Music and General Entertainment pillar. We are working on all angles to ensure that our users are adequately supported in the genre of shows and content available to suit their interests.
If you use analytics, what are the most important benefits of such a solution for you? Do you think analytics help you secure subscribers?
CP Lee. Data has always been an important part in any organisation. By using these data adequately, we can start to understand the needs and wants of our users better, and the better we understand them, the better we can give them what they really want.
How do you prepare your network or your teams for live sports streaming?
CP Lee. We have been constantly analysing the past data and patterns to predict the capacity needs of the platform to support major events. These not only help us to prepare our platform better, it also allows us to manage our ability better where possible, as now the common deltas are usually within a manageable range. Automating the scaling of the system is another critical element in our drive to provide a stable environment for our end users, utilizing technologies to predict and react at the speed necessary today.
What do you monitor the most when you are streaming live sports event?
CP Lee. Unfortunately, there is no singular point that we can monitor only. We monitor the whole technical stack of the media chain, and we do what we can in the areas that we can control.
Do you think proactive (onsite or online) care from your technology vendors/partners is important for the success of live sports streaming?
CP Lee. This is a definite yes. Similar to today’s connected world, where everyone is connected to everyone else via a telecommunication device, our systems are interdependent on our technology vendors as much as they are on us. Active communication and notices between the technology partners are constantly required to ensure that any unpredict events are nip in the bud before it affects negatively the experience of the end-users
Is it important for you to review the stats after the event? Why?
CP Lee. Every event, although unique, makes an excellent data point in the grand scheme of things. We look at major events, not just in isolation, but to establish a pattern. This is so we can better prepare the platform and our capability to serve the end-users better.