AWS for M&E Blog

Quick turnaround of live broadcast media for VOD


Monetizing content with commercials is an essential way for broadcasters to increase revenue. Broadcast content is segmented with markers defining advertising breaks and ad windows. These ad markers are used to insert commercials for display to viewers. After an initial live broadcast, recorded content can be further monetized by using previously aired commercials or replacing previously inserted commercials with new/different ones based on various geographic and demographic viewer categories.

Nielsen provides metrics to measure viewership of commercial time and accounts for live and delayed viewing. The C3 rating counts viewership during the initial broadcast as well as delayed viewing (video on demand, or VOD) within 3 days of airing, usually with initial commercials. The C7 rating counts viewership across 7 days, and may include new ads to replace those originally broadcast. Over the years, consumer demand for VOD services has increased significantly. For example, Future Market Insights reports that the global VOD market is expected to reach $183.93B by 2031.

Traditionally, generating C3/C7 assets required broadcasters to manually trigger recording and trimming of live content, ensuring that all original advertising and Nielsen metadata (such as inaudible identification tones) are preserved, and fine-tuning the content to prepare for VOD distribution. It is critically important that these assets are available as soon as possible to VOD viewers to maximize the Nielsen measured views within the first 3/7 days after airing.

AWS Professional Services have developed a scalable, efficient solution to quickly produce broadcast-ready VOD assets containing the originally aired commercials usable for C3 ratings. This solution enables broadcasters to increase operational efficiency and agility by reducing time-consuming manual efforts and produce distribution-ready VOD assets within a matter of minutes after the initial broadcast.

Solution overview

To ensure automatic scaling, flexibility, agility, high availability, and a pay-for-use billing model, the solution leverages serverless technologies as in Figure 1. It works on demand and aligns with a broadcast traffic schedule to trigger the creation of mezzanine assets in parallel with live content playout. The solution has the ability to take advantage of existing SCTE-35 markers in broadcast streams, which identify opportunities for advertising and content insertion or replacement, as well as segmentation information such as program or segment boundaries. Using SCTE-35 markers allows clipped video output assets to be frame-accurate, which is a key factor in creating high-quality VOD assets.

This image depicts the serverless architecture diagram of the discussed solution for recording live content as VOD assets.

Figure 1: High-level solution overview

This solution maps SCTE-35 markers with EventID to relate the unique program ID, program name, start time, duration, and channel name embedded in the video stream to the broadcast schedule. An example of a broadcast program schedule with SCTE markers is shown in Figure 2.

The C3 VOD assets are created based on the broadcast programming schedule, and the recording for each show is set up using the SCTE-35 marks in the schedule. Following is an example of a broadcast program schedule with SCTE-35 marks:

Channel name: Broadcast Live 2
Program EventID: 12345
Program name:AWS Show 1 
Start time: 8:00 PM
Duration: 30 minutes
Program EventID: 23456
Program name:ABCDEFG Daily Talk 
Start time: 11:30 PM
Duration: 60 minutes

Figure 2: Example of a broadcast schedule 

The C3 VOD assets for “AWS Show 1” and “ABCDEFG Daily Talk” can be created based on the information in the schedule, and the recording for each show is set up using the SCTE-35 marks which are associated with the Event ID in the schedule.

Amazon API Gateway ingests the daily broadcast schedule, ideally 24 hours beforehand, and stores the information in Amazon DynamoDB for each program or show. When the program is about to start, Amazon Event Bridge triggers AWS Lambda functions that start an AWS Elemental MediaLive channel, and updates the DynamoDB records accordingly.

The MediaLive channel delivers HLS output to S3 and generates an HLS manifest, which is parsed by a Lambda function and based on SCTE-35 markers, generates the final C3 VOD asset in Amazon S3 as a mezzanine file. When the recording ends, the Lambda function stops the MediaLive channel and again updates the database record for the C3 VOD asset. The final clipped output is frame accurate, with all metadata preserved and ready for distribution. This solution can scale to support multiple channels/programs simultaneously and also supports back-to-back program recording, if required.


AWS Professional Services have developed a solution available as a packaged offering which is a scalable and efficient solution to quickly produce C3 distribution-ready assets containing the originally broadcast commercials. This solution enables broadcasters to increase operational efficiency and agility by reducing time-consuming manual effort and producing C3 broadcast-ready linear streams immediately after an initial broadcast to maximize viewership ratings.

For more information, see the AWS Professional Services page or reach out to us through your account manager.

Use this solution when you want to:

  • Enhance efficiencies by minimizing idle resources and replace manual efforts with an automated workflow
  • Clip schedule-based programming
  • Make C3/C7 VOD content available swiftly for distribution and viewing
  • Leverage content clipping start/stop times with media streams that have SCTE-35 markers
  • Record content required for future compliance review
  • Migrate from on-premises hardware to on-demand serverless in the cloud


Danish Shamim

Danish Shamim

Danish Shamim is a Senior Media Cloud Architect at AWS.

Aekta Joshi

Aekta Joshi

Aekta is a Principal Media & Entertainment Architect for ProServe Media and Entertainment at AWS. She is responsible for helping customers and partners in broadcast to accelerate their own success in the AWS cloud.

Jason Barios

Jason Barios

Jason Barios is a Principal Solutions Architect, AWS Strategic Accounts at AWS.