Graham Media Group: Solving for Growing Live Streaming Demand

Arc Publishing is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner

Executive Summary

By partnering with Arc Publishing, Graham Media Group (GMG) found what they were looking for in a unified video backend solution. Through its collaboration with Arc Publishing, GMG launched a first-of-its-kind iOS live streaming app, Broadcast, that solved the challenges of traditional live broadcasting.

Challenge

Like many broadcasters, GMG has evolved to produce content that extends beyond traditional television channels from online to OTT as well as podcasts, apps, and other audio devices.

Faced with growing live streaming demand, GMG faced challenges from its current video platform. Coupled with the inefficiencies of the traditional live broadcast model—namely the expense and limited availability of the heavy equipment required—GMG found a new solution that enabled them to stay at the forefront of both the broadcasting and digital landscape.

Solution

In early 2019, Graham Digital, the digital and technology division of GMG, partnered with Arc Publishing to transition from their current video platform partner to Arc’s broadcast-quality video streaming platform built on AWS.

Thanks to Arc’s microservice architecture powered by AWS, GMG solved a key challenge to meeting live streaming demand: finding a video CMS robust enough to handle seamless and efficient video delivery across all channels. Including an automated workflow that enabled GMG’s affiliate stations to cut and publish live video to the web, mobile, and social media, the multisite capabilities of Arc’s video platform improved efficiency. The solution even allowed for seamless coordination across newsrooms and effortless content sharing between markets.

To solve the live streaming limitations presented by traditional live broadcast equipment, Graham Digital and Arc collaborated to develop the first-of-its-kind native app: Broadcast. Through Broadcast, journalists can simultaneously stream high-quality live video directly from their phone over-the-air, to station websites, and to social media such as Facebook and YouTube.

The beta release of the Broadcast app took place in July 2019 as part of WKMG-TV News 6 Orlando’s United States Independence Day coverage. A test event to showcase new video technologies, WKMG obtained more than 100 hours of live streaming content from 25 different camera angles and sources, including the first-ever streams received directly from the mobile phones of reporters and producers in the field via the Broadcast app.

Produced as a digital-first event, Arc's video platform ingested up to 17 simultaneous live streams and was on the ClickOrlando.com website, its mobile app, and News 6’s OTT app. Online viewers could watch live and put themselves in the director’s chair, selecting the angles they were interested in.

“What was done in Orlando was a completely transformative event for that station,” said Jonathan Beard, Director of Digital Product Development for Graham Media Group. “The Broadcast app, coupled with being on Arc’s video platform, created this choose-your-own-adventure experience that really speaks to our strategic direction of delivering engaging experiences that produce deep connections with our viewers.”

Impact

Thrilled with the impact Arc’s platform had on modernizing its video publishing operations, GMG migrated the rest of its content ecosystem into Arc’s headless CMS platform. After launching the first site in just eight weeks, the remaining seven sites were rolled out over the course of the next two-and-a-half weeks. The results of the transition exceeded GMG’s expectations by a long shot.

“Not only did we execute more code releases in our first week on Arc’s platform than we did in an entire year with our previous CMS,” said Beard. “But we’ve seen significant improvements in page load speed, SEO, and overall performance that have led to enormous growth in site traffic growth – well over one hundred percent.”

In less than a year since its launch, the Broadcast app has become part of GMG’s affiliated stations’ regular coverage, involved in daily news and community events. While relied upon for breaking news moments and severe weather updates, it is also utilized as part of interactive live events and watch parties.

“It allows me to deploy my staff in ways I never could before,” said Allison McGinley (News Director, News 6) of the Broadcast app in a GMG press release. “Leveraging this technology in breaking news situations – when minutes count – will allow News 6 to get critical information to our viewers much faster and more efficiently. Now everybody in my newsroom is a reporter.”

Moreover, the Broadcast app has nearly replaced the usage of the previously used live streaming platform of Facebook Live, enabling GMG to own the content and leverage it for their digital properties, thus earning the associated ad revenues.

Graham Media Group

About Graham Media Group

Graham Media Group is comprised of seven local hubs, Graham Digital and Social News Desk delivering local news, programming, advertising solutions, and digital media tools for television, online, mobile, OTT, and podcasts.

About Arc Publishing

Arc Publishing is an award-winning, state-of-the-art digital platform and suite of tools that’s engineered to meet the demands of modern publishers, brands, and broadcasters around the world, providing a competitive advantage enhanced by a set of sophisticated machine learning and AI-powered tools. Built by The Washington Post, Arc has powered the digital transformation of clients both large and small across the globe, currently serving more than 1.5 billion unique visitors monthly. At its core, Arc is about speed and innovation: for readers, newsrooms, brands, advertisers, and developers.

Published November 2020