Midco Sports Network (MidcoSN) was looking to expand viewership and better serve its subscribers. The regional sports network’s existing cable market had limited geographical reach, and there was no way for fans to engage with live game coverage outside the home or access content on demand. So MidcoSN turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Accedo, which enlisted several of its partner vendors to help create a cloud-based video streaming solution on AWS. In 7–8 months, MidcoSN built and launched its over-the-top media service, Midco Sports Plus, which enables viewers to access content directly from the internet, whether at home or on the go.
Extending Reach with Accedo One
A division of the Midwest regional cable provider Midco, MidcoSN offers live sports and related on-demand content to thousands of viewers daily, who tune in for extensive local and regional sports coverage of teams from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. But because some high school and collegiate events are more popular than others, MidcoSN faced wide variability in viewership and needed a way to scale. Furthermore, MidcoSN wanted to expand its audience beyond the geographic region its cable network serves and provide its viewers with simple access to on-demand content and additional programming.
MidcoSN approached Accedo to manage the entire project, including the development of live video streaming applications and a user interface to access other on-demand content. Accedo offers a combination of products and services to support each stage of video business development, from strategy, design, and conception through delivery and postlaunch optimization. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) product Accedo One provided MidcoSN with the flexibility to build, launch, and customize its video streaming applications in one convenient place. The entire suite of services is hosted on AWS to facilitate growth and scalability as well as a wide range of integrations through an extensive partner marketplace. “Midco Sports Plus gives our existing fans more flexibility in how they consume our content, as well as attracting new subscribers from across the United States,” says Craig DeWit, general manager of MidcoSN.
“One of the most important factors was to create a simple and engaging user experience that would delight fans and attract subscribers.”
- Craig DeWit, General Manager, Midco Sports Network
Bringing It All Together on AWS
By working with Accedo, MidcoSN reduced its time to market significantly because of Accedo’s prebuilt native app templates ready to be customized according to MidcoSN’s needs. Accedo managed technical integrations with several partner vendors to develop a robust over-the-top service, all hosted on AWS.
Midco Sports Plus enables subscribers to stream games live and watch on-demand content such as game-day replays and MidcoSN original programs. Viewers can access the additional programming directly through the Midco Sports Plus app on mobile devices and web browsers. Accedo One’s simple-to-use visual editor offers MidcoSN the ability to change the user interface and organize content differently depending on seasons, trends, or user preferences. “For us, one of the most important factors was to create a simple and engaging user experience that would delight fans and attract subscribers,” DeWit says.
By using AWS services, Midco Sports Plus provides subscribers with access to high-quality video, regardless of location or potential spikes in traffic. MidcoSN delivers content reliably using Amazon CloudFront, a fast content delivery network service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency and high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment. Amazon CloudFront works alongside Amazon Elasticsearch Service, a fully managed service that makes it simple to deploy, secure, and run Elasticsearch cost effectively at scale. MidcoSN can scale instantly as demand fluctuates, especially around live games, using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. Through a suite of AWS services, Accedo provided a robust product that enables MidcoSN to deliver content securely with high transfer speeds and quality. Equally important, MidcoSN started small and can now scale up or down to meet fluctuating business demands. “The ease of integration with other solutions within the media industry, coupled with Accedo’s expertise, has been extremely beneficial to this entire process,” says Amy DesLauriers, MidcoSN’s Product Manager.
“Accedo One has enabled us to launch a compelling and engaging user experience for fans across the country. Because we use AWS, we can simply scale up and down as required.”
- Amy DesLauriers, Product Manager, Midco Sports Network
Continuing to Expand Using AWS Solutions
Since its launch in December 2020, Midco Sports Plus has given fans access to an expanding mix of live and on-demand content through its simple-to-use interface. As viewership increases, using AWS means that MidcoSN can continue to deliver high-quality, low-latency video and scale instantly for popular live events that attract many viewers. This is especially important as Midco Sports Plus plans expansion beyond its current availability on Android, iOS, and web devices to extend to connected televisions. “Accedo One has enabled us to launch a compelling and engaging user experience for fans across the country,” DesLauriers says. “Because we use AWS, we can simply scale up and down as required.”
About Midco Sports Network
Midwest regional sports cable broadcaster Midco Sports Network offers live sports and related on-demand content. Thousands of viewers daily tune in for extensive coverage of teams from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
Published July 2021