Strilkauskas, Phelps Launch Brklyn-Media; Leverage Virtualized Tech, Brooklyn Facility
Brklyn-Media, a startup focused on virtualized media services, was launched this week by former ESPN executive Emory Strilkauskas and former Chellomedia (Liberty Global) executive Rick Phelps. The two are looking to leverage their experience in transmission and production services with IP and cloud-based technologies to help clients spin up and spin down a wide variety of services. Edge services, remote production services, cloud storage, quality control, cloud playout, OTT packaging, and media distribution are all among the offerings.
“We’re virtualizing all these types of services,” says Phelps. “And that enables us to do things in an extremely flexible fashion. We can scale up and scale down service on demand or run them on a more permanent basis. My background is playout, VOD fulfillment, fiber distribution, and localization of channels off satellite. Emory has a big background in network infrastructure, media distribution, special events, and network architecture. We are actively bringing on other people to help fill in our value chain.”
While the company is embracing virtualized workflows, it has a very real-world presence in Brooklyn in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Yard is also home to New York City Emergency Services, so it has its own power plant, backup generators, and more. It also has direct fiber connections to 60 Hudson Street in Manhattan, a key transmission hub.
“It’s like a virtual NOC,” says Phelps. “We have rack space, immense connectivity, tons of compute (CPU/GPU) and we can staff up and down according to the service we are offering. It’s a really unique opportunity.”
The company has a similar relationship with a NOC in Europe where monitoring and support infrastructure is located, and plans call for data centers to be built in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, or Singapore where large amounts of media cross points exist. And a NOC in Miami may also be in the works.
“We have some development guys working in the UK in Ipswich as well as advisors based in the U.S.,” says Phelps. Advisors include former ESPN execs Chuck Pagano and Tim Scanlon and also Wes Simpson and Rich Wolf, formerly of ABC.
The key to their offering is an API layer with a user interface that allows for various types of workflows to be launched on-demand. It also allows users to sign in and easily get assigned the tools and tasks they need. Even better, they can be working remotely.
“Pretty much anyone anywhere with Internet connectivity can perform any job function,” says Phelps.
For example, a promo can be created remotely and then sent into the storage system where it can be accessed by playout for linear distribution and then moved over to VOD fulfillment or to other distribution networks for OTT, digital, and even social Media feeds.
“At the same time, we are also looking to do more live events where we take in the feeds and then people can virtually come into our facility and do remote production and then feed it out anywhere,” says Phelps.
The RIST protocol is preferred for signal transport but Phelps says they can also support SRT, Zixi, and other protocols for things like supporting remote cameras and other remote production functions.
There is also some secret sauce that allows for more robust live inserts and other functions within a live production thanks to a proprietary private core WAN as well as private cloud services that create a “super POP.”
“We can do high-quality, low-latency streaming by combining RIST and our private network for contribution or distribution services. RIST works similar to SRT but has better performance and is an open standard protocol,” says Strilkauskas.
The opportunity for new channels and OTT platforms to spin up and down as needed allows for a transition from expensive capital expenditures to an operational expense which can offer costs savings as equipment does not sit idle.
“OTT platforms around the globe are growing and content owners don’t want to invest into the traditional infrastructure,” says Phelps. “They want to spend more on content and marketing.”
The company is also partnering with companies that provide cloud storage and software defined networking, plus services from Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google are also available.
“We’re offering a simpler method for doing origination and distribution and we’ve got some of our own IP technology and then best-of-breed microservices for things like RIST protocol, transport, transcoding, and remote production services.”
Adds Strilkauskas: “Our product is a fully managed, SaaS infrastructure. We use a lot of AI and machine learning, so the human element is going to be editorial or when things need to be managed on an exception basis.”