Play Kraków Uses AWS Partner Insys Video Technologies to Deliver Cultural Events Digitally

Executive Summary

The Kraków Festival Office (KBF) launched Play Kraków, an innovative new solution that enables Kraków to engage a wider audience by delivering cultural and artistic content on demand. When Kraków was named the European Capital of Culture in 2000, the city tasked the organization with delivering local cultural content digitally. AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Insys Video Technologies created a solution to launch full-featured video on demand across multiple systems. The solution uses Amazon CloudFront and other AWS services and enables the KBF to maximize the efficiencies of cloud media workflows. Now music, literature, theater, or movie enthusiasts can watch Kraków’s cultural events digitally.


Krakowskie Biuro Festiwalowe (KBF), or Kraków Festival Office's mission is to support cultural initiatives by helping organize events and festivals. When the city tasked the KBF with creating an online site to deliver local cultural content digitally, the KBF decided to launch Play Kraków, a video service users could access using mobile phones and web browsers.

The video-on-demand (VOD) solution would need to scale quickly with the flexibility to handle fluctuating viewer numbers while keeping the project cost efficient. The KBF also wanted to securely stream live performances online and monetize them to help offset the cost of running cultural events. After investigating provider options, the KBF chose Insys Video Technologies (Insys), an AWS (Amazon Web Services) Advanced Consulting Partner, to deliver Play Kraków using the white-label solution Insys VOD. The result was a complete, flexible cloud solution that enables users worldwide to access full-featured on-demand media on multiple systems. The solution also gives the KBF the option to monetize specific VOD media and live streaming events or grant viewers access for free.

“If music, literature, theater, or movie enthusiasts will not be able to come to Kraków, we encourage them to participate digitally in Kraków’s cultural events through this solution.” 

- Izabela Helbin, Director, Kraków Festival Office

Making Kraków’s Cultural Scene Available Digitally

Every year, the KBF hosts hundreds of internationally renowned cultural events covering various disciplines, from music and theater to film and literature. Kraków’s Conrad Festival is one of the most important literary events in Europe and won the prestigious Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe Award 2019–2020 for outstanding art festivals. The Kraków Film Music Festival of music and cinema is one of Poland’s most popular events. Several significant festivals showcase early and contemporary music, including summertime events such as St. John’s Fair and the Wianki Music Festival. Poetry fans look forward to the annual Miłosz Festival, a world-famous event.

The KBF decided that Insys VOD was a perfect choice: a ready-to-launch over-the-top solution that enables organizations to share a library of video content online without a cable company or direct-broadcast satellite television network. The system includes a live-event streaming module and provides options for monetizing content. “The events organized in our city are open to everyone,” says Izabela Helbin, Director of the KBF. “But if music, literature, theater, or movie enthusiasts will not be able to come to Kraków, we encourage them to participate digitally in Kraków’s cultural events through this solution.”

Providing Cloud-Based Scalability and Flexibility

Insys VOD and AWS services enable the KBF to maximize the efficiencies of cloud media workflows. The solution uses AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service that can run code without needing to provision or manage servers. Once ingested into the system, AWS Lambda triggers AWS Elemental MediaConvert, a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features, which automatically converts every new file into the proper file format. AWS Elemental MediaLive encodes live video streams in real time, taking a larger size live video source and compressing it into smaller versions for distribution to viewers. AWS Elemental MediaPackage prepares and protects the video for delivery over the internet.

The library of videos is automatically stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service that offers scalability, data availability, security, and performance. As a result, Play Kraków has simple-to-use management features to organize its video data, keep it secure, and navigate storage to find content on demand. Insys VOD also enables recommendations and personalized content promotion. The solution protects the KBF’s transcoded video files from piracy by using digital rights management, client-side watermarking, and location-based blocking. Digital rights management systems provide keys to AWS Elemental MediaConvert for content encryption and licenses to supported players and other consumers for decryption.

“With the Play Kraków project, the city of Kraków and the KBF are creating a new way for consumers to engage with a wide variety of cultural and artistic content.” 

- Norbert Kaczmarek, Key Account Manager, Insys Video Technologies

Broadcasting Live Events and Distributing On-Demand Content

Play Kraków now streams a mixture of live and on-demand content, including musical and theatrical performances, discussions with authors, and other materials that have been recorded and shared by Kraków’s cultural institutions. Much of this material is available for free to viewers around the world. The content encourages people from across Europe to attend festivals that form part of Kraków’s rich cultural life, stimulate cultural tourism and local businesses, and transport audiences to different worlds. The KBF also encourages other cities to publish events on the system to create an all-encompassing cultural resource.

On Insys VOD and AWS, the KBF can securely deliver video content to consumers no matter where they are. “It is more important than ever to keep the arts alive,” says Norbert Kaczmarek, Key Account Manager at Insys. “With the Play Kraków project, the city of Kraków and the KBF are creating a new way for consumers to engage with a wide variety of cultural and artistic content. Although this is important right now, it is also laying the foundation for the KBF to engage with a wider audience than ever before.”

Play Kraków

About Play Kraków

The Kraków Festival Office is a municipal cultural institution created by the city of Kraków to promote creative institutions and support businesses, cultural tourism, and leisure industries. It accomplishes this mission with Play Kraków, a media streaming site developed with Insys Video Technologies.

About Insys Video Technologies

Insys Video Technologies (Insys) offers implementation of over-the-top media streaming projects, from strategy and design to development, deployment, and maintenance. More than four million consumers use video services powered by Insys solutions.

Published July 2021