AWS for M&E Blog

Dyn Media streamlines sports viewing for fans with AWS

Catching the action of a European football (or soccer) match is easy today, with no shortage of available streaming platforms and services to watch players from all leagues go head-to-head. Yet, when it comes to other sports—like handball, basketball, volleyball, hockey, and table tennis—fans have fewer options. To level the playing field for these enthusiasts, Dyn Media set out to build an all-you-can-watch sports streaming buffet using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and had it up and running in less than 12 months.

“Two of the biggest limitations businesses face are hardware and people, so building on prem was never a consideration, and I have a very long history with AWS,” said Andreas Heyden, CEO of Dyn Media GmbH. “I’m familiar with AWS’ capabilities and commitment to invest in solutions that help make great experiences for sports fans. What we were able to accomplish in just a year is impressive and wouldn’t have been possible without AWS.”

Kicking off a new offering

Former German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert partnered with German media company Axel Springer in 2022 to create what would become Dyn Media. Their goal: acquire the media rights to high profile, non-soccer sporting events, and package that content for fans in an accessible digital offering. By July 2022, Dyn Media had secured the proper media rights, giving the startup one year to build a streaming platform and be ready for the 2023 season.

“When I came to Axel Springer, I was pleasantly surprised to learn they already used AWS,” noted Heyden, who also came to the company from DFL. “Due to an existing relationship between Axel Springer and AWS, we were able to jumpstart development and get to work immediately.”

Building on principles

As a new entity, Dyn Media had the opportunity to design and implement its infrastructure without legacy considerations. Instead, the team followed five guiding principles for building its technology: minimize production travel, attract creatives by bringing the work to them (instead of the other way around), efficiently integrate with cloud services, be event-driven, and achieve a high level of scalability. Building on AWS, Dyn Media quickly grew from three full-time employees to more than 60, with additional freelance advisors and consultants, launching in August 2023.

In prepping for its launch, the company experimented with different AWS and partner services in fine-tuning its tech stack, leveraging approximately 150 services from AWS. As a platform, Dyn Media encompasses three main components: the Dyn Customer Control (DCC) managing subscriptions, payment and billing, which runs entirely on AWS; a content desk that enables clubs, leagues, and broadcasters to upload and download content; and over-the-top (OTT) content delivery.

“We’re trying to minimize our hardware as much as possible. We still need cameras and camera operators on premises, but with fiber and the cloud, there are no big OB vans, which is much more sustainable. Instead, we have lean venue kits we roll into the stadium and can produce in SMPTE 2110 using IP. The camera is run by an on-site operator, but other factors like shading is run remotely by someone on our team in Munich, who determines things like aperture and white balance remotely,” noted Heyden. “Almost our entire chain is in the cloud. It’s always ready, fully scalable, and highly automated.”

Live video transport at scale

AWS Elemental MediaConnect live video transport is a core service for Dyn Media. In its current season, the company expects to broadcast 2.700 games, each of which requires multiple inputs for main, backup, compliance recording, and failovers, as well as outputs to its live encoder, content delivery network (CDN), and betting partners.

“We have at least 20,000 ins and outs in MediaConnect and have run up to 26 games in parallel. It’s tough to find a service that supports that load, let alone one that can do it on an event-driven basis. We can go from zero to 100,000 users in 45 seconds and only pay for what we use,” Heyden explained. “We’re a subscription-based service with more than 96 percent active users in the last 30 days, who spend an average of 20 hours a month on the platform, so if something goes wrong, that translates to a direct economic impact for us. We cannot afford disruptions.”

“What we’ve built creates happy customers,” he added. “Our platform is healthy and stable, so now we’re ready for our next phase of growth.”

AWS in play

Along with AWS Elemental MediaConnect, Dyn Media relies on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for significant storage needs, including intelligent tiering for cost optimization. The fact that AWS offers so many solutions that can be layered and that are available as building blocks and managed services is attractive to Heyden.

“I like that AWS lets you choose your level of technical depth. We’re just scratching the surface, but we can go deeper when we want to,” Heyden said. “When I wanted to implement video to text, we could’ve built a solution—but why would I when a ready-made, industry-proven solution like Amazon Transcribe already exists? The breadth of the AWS toolbox is its biggest advantage. With it, I’m getting security and reliability so I can focus on building the best solutions for my customers instead of making sure servers are up and running.”

Evolving Dyn Media

After six months of smooth operation, Heyden and Team are now considering new features to incorporate into their roadmap. Broadening its translation and transcription capabilities is a priority, as Dyn Media currently only broadcasts to German-speaking territories, but the athletes it highlights hail from all over the world. Working with the AWS prototype team, Dyn is building a solution based on artificial intelligence (AI) – leveraging the capabilities of Amazon Bedrock – to transcribe matches and generative AI to generate match highlight summaries from text/audio commentary to drive SEO optimized content.

“I’m most interested in how generative AI can help us with metadata and creating products out of that metadata. We’re proceeding with caution and watching how the industry handles AI watermarking. Emotions run high in sport, so we want to ensure that we protect players and clubs from manufactured visuals that could damage perceptions,” Heyden concluded. “That said, Dyn Media’s leadership principles are similar to AWS in that we’re customer obsessed and when you remove tedious tasks like managing data centers, it opens up time and focus to tell great stories.”

Learn more about AWS solutions for media & entertainment.

Emily McKinzie

Emily McKinzie

Emily McKinzie is an Industry Marketing Manager at Amazon Web Services.