London Live

How do you build the digital platform to launch a new television station in months not years?

Achieving a mission-critical deadline. Live streaming, video-on-demand, all infrastructure, all production workflows, and interactive studio screens – all within six months.

Overview

London Live is a new television channel, broadcast on Freeview, satellite, cable and online. The digital platform brings live and on-demand television, news, travel and interactive studio screens into an engaging cross-platform experience.

We ensured London Live launched exactly on schedule, glitch-free and with all systems in place. Within the short timeframe, we delivered the entire digital platform; live and catch-up TV, all production workflows, all infrastructure, 20 integration points, and interactive studio screens.

London Live studio and news broadcast

Services

Challenge

The London channel proposed an 18-hour schedule, with rolling live coverage for news, business, travel, weather, and sport across multiple platforms – terrestrial, satellite, cable, online, and social media.

With less than six months to launch, the studios still under construction, no existing infrastructure, and a production team that had yet to be hired, we knew we would need to run all project workstreams in parallel.

  • A cross-platform video experience - including the live stream, rights-restricted catch-up, and short-form video clips, each with different production workflows and broadcast rights.
  • All infrastructure
  • All broadcast and production workflows
  • Over 20 integration points - many of which were third-party systems yet to be procured (including a broadcast scheduling platform, which was only available 8 weeks before launch).
  • Travel and weather – and display this data directly to live broadcast.
  • Support an unknown amount of traffic at launch.
  • Ensure a faultless and glitch-free launch.

“It was essential to get the technical foundation right, and Graph was by far the best team to achieve this.”

Bryn Balcombe

CTO, London Live

Solution

The main challenge was that everything would be run in parallel. The critical broadcast scheduling system was still going through procurement and would not be in place until eight weeks before launch – yet, this data would be essential to drive all platforms.

Our strategy was simple. We would design the platform to remove all external dependencies from the outset. We would run the project as a series of weekly iterations, start the platform’s development with all integration points mocked and all data modelled in advance, and then retrospectively integrate these elements into the platform as core systems came online.

Critical points in the timeline

  • The live stream could only be tested once hardware encoders were in place and test transmissions started – 8 weeks before launch.
  • The scheduling system was still in procurement – and was only in place 8 weeks before launch.
  • The graphics system intended to display social media, finance, travel and weather would not deliver all of the desired experience, and we were asked to develop a set of interactive screens for live broadcast – four weeks before launch.
  • All systems were locked down and running with the full 18-hour schedule – two weeks before launch

Proposed London Live homepage design
Proposed London Live homepage design

Technologies

  • Video - Brightcove
  • Web - ASP.NET
  • Studio Screens – React
  • Database - MongoDB
  • Infrastructure - Amazon AWS

Methodologies

“Supported by David Mendels, Brightcove CEO, we had full access to the Brightcove development team to align our roadmap and develop against Brightcove's internal releases.

As a result, London Live was the first website to launch globally with the Brightcove HTML5 video player.”

Stefan Finch

Technical Principal, Graph

Results

We ensured London Live launched exactly on schedule, glitch-free and with all systems in place. Within the short timeframe, we delivered the entire digital platform; live and catch-up TV, all production workflows, all infrastructure, 20 integration points, and interactive studio screens.

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