I estimate that we’ve saved 30% by selecting AWS over other cloud service providers.
Andy Wang Chief Information Officer

Sanlih E-Television is a leading cable TV company in Taiwan with about 25 percent of the national viewing audience. The network operates six channels: 24-hour news, drama, lifestyle and pop, international, finance, and music television. The network's drama channel is the most popular, with series such as Love, When I See You Again and Murphy’s Law of Love attracting millions of viewers. The company has been at the forefront of developments in viewing formats, and it has invested in high-definition production facilities. Sanlih E-Television is also conscious of growth in online streaming services and is currently launching the company’s own over-the-top video platform.

Cable TV providers worldwide face multiple challenges to maintain audience numbers. The explosion of digital platforms and the diversity of screens has splintered traditional TV audiences. Streaming services are taking advantage of widespread broadband Internet to penetrate the market and capture significant numbers of viewers. Sanlih E-Television saw these challenges as opportunities. The company wanted to take advantage of the new platforms and business models to add value to its services and build on a leading position in the market. Sanlih E-Television also wanted to gather customer data to understand viewer behavior through big data analytics. To achieve its goals, the company needed a platform to support a multichannel online strategy. Furthermore, it had to ensure that its IT infrastructure was flexible enough to handle sudden increases in demand and stable enough to deliver content however and whenever the customers want it.

Andy Wang, chief information officer at Sanlih E-Television, says, “From my IT experience, I knew cloud services were right for us, but the question was which provider to choose. I wanted high performance and stability but also a range of services to support the development of our new media and online strategy.”

As an IT professional, Wang was already familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS) when the project started. He says, “The timing was right because my team had been reading about AWS in Asia and was familiar with the services available.” In meetings with AWS, Wang outlined his plans to support the new media service for each channel in the cloud. Additionally, he spoke of incorporating a messaging service to deliver breaking news to mobile phones as well as updates on shows and related competitions. “We were very pleased with our discussions with AWS and we saw it offered the services to deliver our aims. We also had the skill sets to adopt AWS, and the documentation and guidance around AWS was very clear,” says Wang.

Sanlih E-Television is running its streaming service on AWS as well as its website and mobile apps. The company also uses AWS services for online campaigns related to its programs, including popular dramas, and for sending out news flashes to mobile devices. It takes advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to run the website as well as Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Amazon DynamoDB for a fast and flexible NoSQL database service. The company also uses Amazon Kinesis as an engine for real-time application monitoring and clickstream analytics. Furthermore, the company is adopting Amazon Elasticsearch Service and Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR) for deeper insights into customer engagement through the company’s multiple online channels. “The plan is to not only deliver a great service but improve on that service through customer data,” says Wang.

The figure below illustrates Sanlih’s environment in AWS:

sanlih_architecture

Sanlih E-Television is extending its reach among audiences and reinforcing its position among cable TV providers now that it's running on AWS. The company has successfully integrated Internet and mobile into its channel mix and launched Vidol, an over-the-top (OTT) platform in April. Wang is certain the organization made the right choice in AWS to support its Internet platforms strategy including TV, online news apps, e-commerce, and OTT content. “We have been very pleased with the stability of the AWS services, which have helped us provide an excellent level of service to viewers,” says Wang. “We have also benefited from the easy configuration and deployment of the service and can focus on software development without worrying about our infrastructure.

In addition, the company has been able to make significant savings by using AWS. Wang explains, “I estimate that we’ve saved 30 percent by selecting AWS over other cloud service providers.” He attributes this reduction in spend to the stability of the AWS platform as well as the competitive pricing of the service.

Wang is also clear that cloud services were the only viable option for delivering the company’s multiplatform goals. Sanlih E-Television still runs an on-premises infrastructure to support a number of business processes, and when Wang compares the management time for this environment compared to AWS, the difference is significant. “We have saved at least 50 percent in management time by opting for AWS over an on-premises solution. That reduction in time can determine whether a project is viable.”

Looking ahead, Wang says the introduction of big data will create a lot of value for the company. It will provide the kind of information that stakeholders need to better understand viewer behavior and to make more effective investment decisions. He says, “Big data collection, analysis, and recommendation through AWS will enable us to be smarter. We’ll be able to answer the needs of consumers, directing investment to areas that customers say deliver greater value."

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