Arqiva, the leading UK communications infrastructure company, has announced its involvement in the delivery of Gulli Bil Arabi – an international version of France’s leading children’s TV channel, Gulli – to 18 new territories across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Channel owner Lagardère Active – the media activities arm of French media conglomerate Lagardère Group – enlisted Arqiva’s services to strengthen its presence in MENA with the delivery of a specific channel offering for children in the region.
Gulli Bil Arabi is distributed via Arqiva’s Remote Edge Playout product which utilises technologies from a leading vendor in Edge device solutions, seamlessly integrated with Arqiva’s well-established core Media Services solutions.
The internet-fed service, which uses a virtualised back-end cloud platform, comprises two outputs – a dedicated high bit-rate stream for contribution purpose and a lower bit-rate one which powers the Gulli Bil Arabi over-the-top (OTT) platform across MENA, dynamically creating multiple outputs and feeds to each of the 18 countries – including Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
A remote connection links the MENA service’s playout engines – located in Paris – back to Arqiva’s UK infrastructure. Communicating via a cloud platform, a team of UK-based engineers then configure, manage and control the service via a virtual environment – passing schedules and assets in various formats across to the MENA playout engines quickly and efficiently.
David Crawford, Managing Director of Satellite & Media at Arqiva said: “As the world of playout becomes increasingly complex, and as broadcasters look to new and emerging markets, different distribution models will increasingly be required.
Our Edge Playout solution helps channel owners – like Lagardère – find a simple path to reaching new territories and extending the value of their content beyond their home region. Offering commercial and operational flexibility and scalability with broadcast-grade reliability, we work with our customers to find the right approach for them; all-the-while guaranteeing service excellence.”
While the current Lagardère solution is only partially virtualised, the service is orchestrated to enable a fully virtualised end-to-end service in future, with all required infrastructure already in place.
Crawford continued: “Our work with Lagardère in MENA marks another important step in Arqiva’s virtualisation plans that span the next 12 months. Over the coming year, we expect to see an increasing number of partially, and fully, virtualised products and services come to market and are proud that Arqiva is among the first to embark on this journey of technical innovation with our customers and to be able to offer them new levels of flexibility.”
Caroline Cochaux, Managing Director of France & International for Lagardère Active TV and Gulli’s CEO said : “International expansion is one of our core growth pillars, opening the door to a number of long-term development opportunities. Thanks to Arqiva, the launch of Gulli Bil Arabi means Lagardère Active TV division is now present in more than 100 countries, as the channel joins 18 others broadcasting across Middle East North Africa zone. With Gulli Bil Arabi, Gulli is now present in 55 countries!”
“Arqiva has not only found us a commercially viable and flexible route to market, but presented us with a scalable, future-proof solution that is ready and waiting when we require further virtualised services in years to come.”