Broadcasters now have an industry-standard, independently-measured representation of their online viewing. We endeavor to provide our customers with data as close to real time as possible. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with AWS to improve the insight and services we provide to Australia’s television broadcasters and wider media industry.
Padraig O’Donovan Digital Strategy Director
  • About ozTAM

    OzTAM is Australia’s official source of television-audience-measurement, covering Australia’s five metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) and nationally for television subscriptions. OzTAM’s Video Player Measurement reporting service provides Australia’s first official figures for viewing of Internet-delivered TV content. OzTAM ratings are the accepted metric by which Australian television performance is evaluated. 

  • AWS Services Used

  • Benefits of AWS

    • Increased average daily content measurement by almost 250%
    • Achieves availability of 99.999%
    • Eliminated data loss that compromised customer reports
    • Delivers near-real-time services 

Technology is fast transforming the TV experience. The emergence of the Internet and apps that enable live streaming has prompted broadcasters to make content available on a range of connected channels, platforms, and devices—sometimes even before it airs on traditional television channels.

For OzTAM, these trends presented an opportunity to evolve its broadcast-audience-measurement services and expand its audience-measurement metrics. Since 2001, the business has been providing minute-by-minute TV-viewing data in Australia’s five mainland capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth) and nationally for subscription television networks. OzTAM ratings are the accepted metric by which Australian television is evaluated. The media industry uses OzTAM data to help understand viewer behavior, assist in program development and advertising planning, and measure the performance of television programs, networks, and advertising campaigns.

As people’s viewing options now go beyond traditional TV channel schedules and the TV screen itself, OzTAM looked to measure and report these new ways of watching, to give clients a more complete picture of how Australians are consuming TV content.

“To deliver our new reporting service for internet-delivered TV content, which would complement our broadcast-TV ratings service, we needed an infrastructure that could scale to accommodate standard online-viewing patterns as well as spikes for landmark events such as the Melbourne Cup horse race each November,” says Padraig O’Donovan, digital strategy director at OzTAM. “We cannot afford to lose data under these conditions as this compromises our ability to provide accurate daily reports to broadcasters.”

To address the media industry’s needs, OzTAM decided to run its online TV-measurement service the OzTAM Video Player Measurement (VPM) Report on the cloud. The business chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it could scale to support demand spikes and ensure the business did not lose any user data.

OzTAM runs this service on an infrastructure that spans two AWS Availability Zones within the Amazon Asia Pacific (Sydney) Region. The business uses Elastic Load Balancing to optimize application performance by allocating traffic to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances.

The Amazon EC2 instances collect viewing events and run in an Auto Scaling group that allows OzTAM to scale capacity up and down based on loads. One Amazon Kinesis queue collects raw data and a second queue is used for processed data. Team members access the sanitized data to process the events into files for each viewing hour and push them into an external Elasticsearch service for visualization and storage. The files are also placed into Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and made available to participating broadcasters, as well as internally for reporting purposes.

OzTAM also uses Amazon Route 53 as its domain-name system. Traffic is distributed across two AWS Availability Zones in Sydney Region and enables the infrastructure in each to scale based on load variations.

OzTAM also engaged with Bulletproof, a Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), to build, optimize, and fine tune its AWS architecture. “We worked very closely with Bulletproof to construct and establish operational guidelines for our environment,” says O’Donovan. “We have a dedicated section within the Bulletproof documentation that covers the maintenance of our infrastructure. Bulletproof also actively patches our infrastructure in accordance with agreed guidelines.”

O’Donovan is extremely pleased with how proactive Bulletproof has been in supporting and optimizing its infrastructure. “Bulletproof has approached us directly to help us achieve even greater value from our AWS investment,” says O’Donovan.

When OzTAM started delivering the VPM Report to broadcasters and the wider industry in February 2015, it was measuring an average 13 million minutes of content per day. Just over a year later, this number has risen to an average of 45 million minutes. “With the report, broadcasters now have an industry-focused, independently measured representation of their online viewing,” says O’Donovan.

The company can also scale seamlessly to support fluctuations in online viewing that occur each day as individuals and families return home after school and work, and look to relax.

Deploying Amazon Kinesis has allowed OzTAM to all but eliminate data losses that could potentially compromise the delivery of accurate, timely data to broadcasters. Furthermore, OzTAM is recording infrastructure-availability levels in the order of 99.999 percent, giving broadcasters confidence in the reliability and integrity of the VPM Report.

“While providing data in real time has never been part of our agreement, we endeavor to provide our customers with data as close to real time as possible,” says O’Donovan.

Deploying AWS has given OzTAM access to a vast repository of data to help resolve issues when they do arise.

In the future, OzTAM is considering using AWS Lambda—which lets customers run code without provisioning or managing servers—to accelerate the process of building applications and creating new features. “Our public-facing product changes infrequently, but the technical components change considerably,” says O’Donovan. “AWS already enables us to complete these changes quickly, but AWS Lambda provides opportunities to accelerate the process even further.”

“Broadcasters now have an industry-standard, independently-measured representation of their online viewing. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with AWS to improve the insight and services we provide to Australia’s television broadcasters and the wider media industry.”

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  • A Premier Consulting Partner of the AWS Partner Network (APN).
  • Bulletproof is a leading cloud-services provider in Australia and New Zealand and a partner to 750+ organizations.
  • For more information about how Bulletproof can help your company build and manage your AWS environment, see Bulletproof’s listing in the AWS Partner Directory.  

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