Our on-premises environment was very different back then and it could only handle 200,000 users. By using AWS, we are able to scale to 5 million users.
Raquel Fernández Head of Digital Media Solutions, Atresmedia
  • About Atresmedia

    Based in Spain, Atresmedia is a global media group that includes a portfolio of television, advertising, audio-visual production, and radio media channels.

  • Benefits of AWS

    • High availability achieved from new, cloud-based infrastructure
    • Quicker time-to-market, from two days to minutes
    • More time to innovate digital products
    • Capacity to handle 5 million users
  • Services Used

Atresmedia is one of Spain’s largest private media groups. Its portfolio includes six television channels and four radio stations, as well as advertising, digital content management, and film and audio-visual production. In its domestic market, it has an audience of over 27 million people. That figure rises to 73 million when taking into account international subscribers across Europe, Latin America, and North America who tune into its global channel, Antena 3 Internacional. Across its network, Atresmedia’s annual revenue is €1.2 billion (US$1.4 billion).

The media landscape is changing rapidly as new technology creates myriad ways to consume video and audio content. Fueling this evolution is a growing audience of younger, more digitally savvy users and it was this group that Atresmedia Digital—the part of Atresmedia that controls digital content and media—wanted to target as part of the group’s transformational strategy. Raquel Fernández, head of digital media solutions at I3, an Atresmedia television company, said, “Being late to adapt in this industry would heavily penalize the business because strong competitors have emerged in the digital space over the last five years, and we want to continue to lead it.” The group’s ambition to increase its digital audience required innovative ways to screen its programs, and Atresmedia believed that creating new, cloud-based platforms was the next step in achieving that. Two new channels within Atresmedia Digital, AtresPlayer and Flooxer, would screen new content and major sporting event coverage such as the Champions League Final. These highly popular events made it necessary for Atresmedia to seek a cloud-based solution that would provide the scalability necessary to handle unpredictable spikes in traffic.

To build these platforms, Atresmedia required a highly available infrastructure to accommodate a growing audience base, one with the flexibility to keep the organization evolving alongside the industry and the tools to help develop its digital experiences well into the future.

Atresmedia began using Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2012 to better handle spikes in traffic from its TV channels. To support its cloud-based projects, the media group knew AWS would be best placed to continue to support its growth.

Atresmedia runs its infrastructure on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to capture and file its data and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to automate administrative tasks such as database setup. This arrangement gives the media group more time to focus on Atresplayer—its main online channel—and Flooxer as it continues to grow its user base.

The company also relies on Amazon DynamoDB, a flexible NoSQL database service that provides extremely low latency and scales automatically depending on capacity. Atresmedia uses it on the Flooxer platform to manage the capacity of people opening push notifications while watching TV, and to record its users’ viewing habits. “Amazon DynamoDB offers the perfect service to help us track our audience and to streamline their viewing experience,” says Fernández.

To cache data and build on its open source data stores, the company uses Amazon ElastiCache. “Thanks to Amazon ElastiCache, we are able to quickly reply to users’ requests, one of our main objectives for the year,” says Fernández. Finally, to help deliver a better viewing experience, it takes advantage of Amazon CloudFront to broadcast 4K video streaming—even with 360-degree images.

Atresmedia’s main objective was to adapt to an evolving media landscape with more dynamic, digital services. By moving to a hybrid AWS infrastructure, the network saw its unique digital user base grow 25 times larger—to 5 million—because it could create and support its new, cloud-based projects, Atresplayer and Flooxer. These provide younger audiences with faster streaming speeds and more digitally rich experiences to suit the way they now consume media. “Our on-premises environment was very different and could only handle 200,000 users. By using AWS, we were able to scale to 5 million users, and now have as many as 7,000 users joining Atresmedia.com every day,” explains Fernández.

Not only has this enabled the company to handle growth, but it has created better viewing experiences. “Our technological milestone with AWS so far has to be the 2017 Champions League Final, which surpassed our expectations. We’re very proud of it,” says Fernández. Thanks to the new infrastructure’s availability, scalability, and key services like Amazon CloudFront, Atresmedia was able to broadcast the final match across its web channels in amazing visuals. Specifically, viewers could enjoy the game in 4K VR video quality and in 360 degrees, after the company set up a 360-degree camera at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. “In two seconds, we had 20,000 users log in and the system worked perfectly,” says Fernández. “It was amazing.” A similar strategy was used for the final episode of Velvet, a Spanish-language series. The closing 15 minutes of the program were recorded live and 20,000 subscribers could watch it in 360-degree quality.

By using AWS, Atresmedia can create an environment to deliver these experiences in just five minutes—much faster than the company could have done alone. Fernández explains, “If we were building new services using our own servers and on-premises database, it would have taken us two days to provision the environment. If we would have needed to purchase more hardware, that would have taken up to three months.” Furthermore, the availability of our systems has improved to 99.9 percent, and catering to the digital needs of its new consumers allows the brand to remain competitive.

Atresmedia is very satisfied with the service it can now provide to its users. Fernández sums it up by saying, “Just one word: amazing. Each challenge we’ve faced we’ve overcome by using AWS, and we’re very happy with the results.”