Mediahub Australia turns 10

August 10, 2020 10:25

Mediahub Australia is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has reflected on its progress since launch.

It is now ten years since MediaHub was launched, a milestone event that changed the Australian broadcast and media technology landscape in Australia. Initially built as a playout centre for joint venture partners ABC and WIN, MediaHub proved that broadcasters can collaborate and share critical infrastructure for operations while providing cost savings and greater operational flexibility and resilience.

In the last decade since launch, MediaHub has grown beyond playout to be a comprehensive end to end service provider, expanding its range of services and consolidating its reputation as technology and innovation leader in Australia, ready to meet changing media management and delivery requirements of clients.

Beyond playout, MediaHub now offers a full spectrum of products and services including ArkHub, CacheHub, ExchangeHub, FibreHub, FlexHub, MamHub, PresHub and StreamHub. These top tier services are complemented by compliance recording services, data centre, disaster recovery, master control, NOC and transcoding services. The company now also provides over 400 broadcast and live streaming services for both Television and Radio across Australia.

That’s an incredible amount of growth and success in just a decade.

MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney explained, “Ten years ago a number of broadcasters got together to discuss potential ways forward that would allow for a centralised national playout operation, reduce capex and opex spend providing a green field operation that was completely file based. After consultation with many broadcasters at the time, WIN and ABC agreed to establish a joint venture to create a joint playout centre and MediaHub Australia was born.”

In November 2009, construction commenced on the MediaHub facility in Ingleburn and the first ABC TV channels went to air in April 2010. Just six months later, WIN had completely migrated its complex regional operation into the facility. Early MediaHub innovations such as commercial hot listing and flexible multi market playout enabled significant benefits to both clients far beyond the capability of their previous in-house playout facilities. This theme of technological innovation and ultra-efficiency has continued over the years growing from strength to strength.

Sweeney continued, “At Launch, MediaHub was basic playout only. It had no MAM or connectivity of its own and the only storage was a limited functional nearline to support playout. Then year-on-year as we met and exceeded our performance and financial targets we went to market.”

MediaHub’s early days included clients such as SBS, TVN and the FOX International group of channels. It has continued to grow, adding clients including Prime Television, Imparja Television, Australian News Channel (SKY News), Network TEN, Southern Cross and FreeTV.

It’s not just the number of clients that have grown but the services that are on offer now are on the cutting edge of innovation.

MediaHub Head of Product Derek Curtis added, “One of our major milestones was the creation of our FibreHub managed fibre connectivity services product. From a standing start FibreHub has grown to now have 14 points-of-presence across Australia and New Zealand and currently provides 37 high-bandwidth, low-latency services for clients such as the ABC, WIN Television, PRIME Television, DDA, Southern Cross Austereo, FreeTV, Network TEN and ANC-Sky News. This collectively amounts to over 1.2Tb/s of managed customer traffic, 365 days a year.”

Next MediaHub created its bulk Transcode Services product to process and transcode thousands of video assets and their metadata and expanded their StreamHub online television streaming capabilities for their clients.

Then having built and deployed Channel Seven’s 7Flix channels and planned, project-managed, built and deployed all of PRIME’s 65 free-to-air broadcast channels, MediaHub also launched its MamHub MAM services product.

It was around this time that the organisation also took its first steps into the telecommunications world with the migration of the Digital Distribution Australia (DDA) NOC to MediaHub, as part of its integrated MCR services.

2019 also saw MediaHub win the contract to provide disaster recovery services for the TEN Network.

At the same time, it was planning and developing its new, flexible, cost effective deep archiving solution, ArkHub, specifically designed to give all industries access to a world-class, cloud based, deep archiving service without the complications or bill-shock associated with other major cloud archive providers.

In the past ten years, MediaHub has grown from its core deliverable of providing stable, cost effective playout services to the broadcast industry to now developing and providing all of its services to any industry. The size and scope of the organisation still surprises and impresses some of its key employees.

Head of Operations Scott Jolly said, “Many people are surprised to discover that WIN TV carries programming from all three commercial free to air television networks in Australia, not just one. This adds an interesting twist to breaking news and live sports as at any one time, if you think about the amount of sport usually on over a weekend across all of the broadcasters. That said, MediaHub manages all of this across all channels simultaneously and seamlessly. When I joined the company, we launched over 100 channels in just a few months in a greenfield site which many doubted was even possible. Not only have we proved the doubters wrong, but we take great pride in what we have achieved and continued to achieve.”

To Jolly’s point on staff contentment, MediaHub has enjoyed the same executive management team for its entire 10 years of existence. Staff turnover is extremely low and the company has employed such successful staff retention schemes and activities that it beat over 20,000 other companies to win the NSW Business Chamber’s coveted Employer of Choice award.

Fast forward to today and MediaHub is an operation that has been fine-tuned to add new clients to its portfolio and a full end to end suite of products that match the ever changing broadcasting and telco landscapes amongst many others.

There have been many achievements along the way as Sweeney explained, “Gaining each new client was huge as they could have remained in-house or gone elsewhere. The fact that they were willing to put their faith in MediaHub was and still is very humbling. We now add more value to our clients than ever before as they are able to cross connect into our FibreHub fibre ring from their own DC facilities. This has also allowed MediaHub to build out our other suite of products making us a full-service player in the broadcast industry. Our proven systems allow considerable flexibility for all our clients and we are continually enhancing our services.”

MediaHub will continue to add new clients and expand key services such as its ArkHub deep storage and its content acquisition and delivery solutions as it increasingly leverages the power of its FibreHub platform.

Alan Sweeney concluded, “Our success with technology advancement and improvement has been replicated in our people culture to the point where MediaHub staff have always felt empowered and happy. As a result of our low staff turnover the IP alone that exists within the MediaHub team is second to none. Where we changed and added value to the broadcasting landscape, we are now making the same progress and expanding into in the worlds of telecoms, finance, education, health, and government. Our philosophy has always been to innovate, grow, add value and stay ahead of the curve and that’s exactly what we plan to do for the next ten years.”

MediaHub Australia Shifts to Remote Broadcast

June 26th 2020 - 01:00 PM

MediaHub Australia transitioned to a work from home scenario during lockdown with assistance of Magna Systems, Grass Valley, Akamai and RTS.

Head of Broadcast Operations, Scott Jolly explained, “As part of the mitigation of COVID-19 impacting MediaHub operations, the MediaHub Senior Management Team made the decision early to move to remote working wherever possible. The consequence of a COVID-19 outbreak within the facility would have been very serious for all concerned. MediaHub, as an essential service business, is responsible for providing critical news programming from the prime minister, federal and state government officials as well as the chief medical officer across both metro and regional television and radio services both nationally and internationally for our clients, so we simply could not allow this to happen.”

Jolly continued, “It was essential for frontline operations staff to have a remote working solution as closely aligned to being at MediaHub. This meant investing in additional devices including laptops, Chromecasts, tablets and monitors for each of the team, allowing each operator to recreate their workspace at home in a familiar set up.”

Many of MediaHub’s platforms are cloud based enabling them to move ingest, playout, network operations centre (NOC), IT and engineering support teams to remote operations quickly.

MediaHub Head of Technology, Simon Scott added, “We collaborated with a number of vendor partners such as Magna Systems, Grass ValleyAkamai and RTS to set up our users with a fully-functioning WFH solution. This included GV for remote control platform software, Akamai for CDN and security services and RTS VLink Virtual Comms to extend our talkback system over the internet. This integrated solution meant that not only had we achieved a level of sophistication that enabled our staff to completely operate the system from home, but there were significant savings in terms of operations space and equipment as we didn’t need to build a remote Disaster Recovery suite.”

MediaHub also provided low latency live streams of their monitoring multi-viewer outputs delivered using Akamai CDN and via standard streaming players to their users in their homes. This meant the MediaHub team could now see their monitoring screens on their standard home TV – a major part of the WFH solution.

One of the early challenges MediaHub did face however, was how to deliver a full featured ‘at home’ experience for their operations team when clearly they had no control over their team members’ ISP at home and no choice in their users’ connectivity which varied between 4G, 5G, FTTN, FTTP and HFC. All of which in turn affected the home user’s ISP network congestion during their most active periods.

Scott added, “Operators on shift changeover, or in certain scenarios for live sports or news programming have overlapping access to live video feeds and systems, meaning more than one operator may require access to the same multi-viewer generated screen. So, we made a call early into the process to adopt a live OTT approach to the WFH solution. We partnered with Akamai to deliver this consistent delivery to our users across their CDN platform regardless of their ISP access. This allowed ease of access to the streams by any of the devices our staff were using and flexibility to scale out the number of people monitoring the streams.”

Security was a key issue within the MediaHub WFH solution and one they solved by again partnering with Akamai to provide distributed and encrypted remote access service to their systems. This allowed staff to access MediaHub’s platforms’ remote-control surfaces via any internet connected device with the Akamai service also providing additional levels of security and monitoring far beyond a traditional VPN solution.

According to MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney, the key to the success of their unique WFH solution was the total buy-in from the entire MediaHub team.

Sweeney said, “As a result of our teams’ efforts and the WFH solution we have implemented, I’m delighted to say that our client base were not only very impressed we got on the front foot early and planned accordingly to protect their outputs, but also that their services have not been disrupted in any way and it has been 100% business as usual from their point of view.”

SKY News switching playout to MediaHub


Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO Australian News Channel said: “We are pleased to have appointed MediaHub as our new playout service provider to facilitate the growing needs of our business as we deliver more unique news, weather news, sports news and national affairs programming to even more television viewers across Australia.
“Using MediaHub will allow our business and operational focus to be fully on creating even more premium Australian programming.  Our new playout arrangements also offer advertisers more seamless integration across the wide range of our channels on Foxtel or programming on WIN.”

MediaHub Australia MD Alan Sweeney said, “We are delighted to be the new playout partner and technology provider for Australian News Channel and their SKY News channels. As everyone in the industry knows SKY News sets the bar in terms of news reported and delivered as it happens, so we firmly believe that with our emphasis on efficiency, reliability and quality that our two organisations are a perfect fit that will work very well together for years to come.”
Earlier this week Australian News Channel confirmed a “SKY News on WIN” channel which will launch later this year across WIN’s regional network.

MediaHub currently services WIN Television, ABC, Australia Plus, Imparja Television, 7flix, and FOX Networks Group Australia featuring the National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo People, Nat Geo Wild.

MediaHub Australia is a large-scale, multi-client digital media, play-out and distribution facility, currently delivering over 360 live TV and radio channels to Australian and NZ metropolitan and regional markets using the very latest technology and cutting-edge data management and delivery solutions.
Services offered by MediaHub include PresHub, MediaHub’s historic core business and the playout of linear channels, FlexHub enabling the automatic transcoding of content from one format to any other, StreamHub for the streaming of channels to OTT services, FibreHub, providing connectivity services using the company’s core fibre network throughout Australia and New Zealand, ArkHub for data archive, MAMHub for all things Media Asset Management related and ExchangeHub, enabling efficient content delivery.
By David Knox

Australian News Channel and WIN Network sign ‘historic’ content agreement

photo: Angelos Frangopoulos and Andrew Lancaster (credit: The Australian)

MediaHub Australia Delivers for ‘Earth Live’

July 10 2017

Earth Live, the Jane Lynch and Phil Keoghan live hosted journey around the world, focusing on some of the most spectacular wildlife to be found had its Oceanic broadcast delivered through MediaHub Australia, the nation’s largest channel broadcaster. Leveraging MediaHub’s in-house satellite capabilities, this very special event was managed directly through the broadcast centre in Ingleburn, NSW to the National Geographic audiences throughout Australia and New Zealand via MediaHub’s channel broadcast system, and through the two live Streaming services provided by MediaHub’s live Streaming platform, ‘StreamHub’.

PRIME outsources 60 channels to MediaHub in just 4 months


Media Group (ASX:PRT) has successfully completed the outsourcing of its playout of 60 discreet market channels to MediaHub Australia. PRIME reaches an audience of 5.3 million Australians, utilising 230 transmission sites to deliver its 60 unique, individually branded channels to regional markets. Shane Wood, Group General Manager, Operations of PRIME said: “PRIME and MediaHub have worked collaboratively to transition the services in four months and went “live to air” for all PRIME channels across regional Australia from MediaHub’s Ingleburn facility yesterday, which is a remarkable effort. “I would like to thank the team in Canberra, led by Trevor Clarke and Lyndon Cox, who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this project, particularly the work undertaken during the rigorous user acceptance testing process.” “MediaHub has delivered a clear commercial benefit to PRIME and provided us with a robust solution that has enabled technical improvements to our on-air presentation,” Mr Wood said. Alan Sweeney, CEO of MediaHub said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Prime’s very professional staff in delivering this project in such a short period of time. We are proud to welcome Prime to our growing client base and look forward to a long partnership with such a premium Australian brand.”

MediaHub Implements Disaster Recovery for Imparja Television


Despite what many might think it does actually rain in the red centre and when it does the results can often be devastating. This was the case recently when Alice Springs-based broadcaster Imparja TV was flooded. Such was the damage that Imparja’s broadcast playout partner, MediaHub Australia, had to step in with a disaster recovery initiative to keep the broadcaster on air.

MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney explained, “Imparja’s sensitive television scheduling systems were extensively damaged by localised flooding in Alice Springs causing an inability to provide the programming schedules to us, their broadcast playout facility partner, based in Sydney. Fortunately we are prepared for any such event and stepped in to keep things running.”

The extreme weather event caused extensive flooding which in turn affected network connectivity and had a knock-on effect on the File Transfer Protocol systems that provide the vital link for the provision of data between Imparja and MediaHub.

Sweeney continued, “The team at Imparja really stepped up but due to the flooding were unable to provide the programming schedules that, once processed at MediaHub, enable the transmission of their signal to over one million resident viewers via an extensive broadcast footprint of over 3.6 million square kilometres spanning six states and territories. To rectify this MediaHub Australia utilised existing past programming schedules and reformatted and recreated them for playout for the duration of Imparja’s technical emergency. This meant no loss of broadcast or air time.”

As a result of MediaHub’s intervention what is normally a highly automated system was turned into a manually managed project with a finite window in which the scheduling operation could be completed successfully. Processes were put in place to build the required schedules, incorporating both automated and human data entry.

Alan Sweeney concluded, “This was a real rescue and recovery mission. Staff at MediaHub Australia and at Imparja worked extremely well together to ensure the continuous transmission of the Imparja Television service and as a result of MediaHub staff’s technical proficiency and agility, Imparja TV’s transmission to its viewership was seamless and unaffected even with their facilities being largely inoperative due to extensive flooding. This meant that during a time of hardship for many people affected by the severe weather, important and vital regional news was broadcast as per normal.”

MediaHub The Chosen One For Seven’s 7flix Channel


The Seven Network has appointed MediaHub Australia for the playout of its new free-to-air digital television multichannel 7flix (channel 76) to all five capital cities plus regional Queensland. (by SALVATORE DI MUCCIO)

Seven’s head of broadcast operations Andrew Anderson (pictured above) said, “MediaHub’s infrastructure and operation perfectly suits the style of play-out that SWM require for 7flix. All media content, branding and schedules are prepared daily by SWM. MediaHub quality check and playout the channels 24/7.”
MediaHub already manages and is responsible for the playout of many channels including the ABC, WIN, FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, Imparja TV and Australia Plus.
MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney said, “7flix went live and began broadcasting at 6am on 28 February 2016 and is a smooth and reliable operation and we are delighted with the workflows that have been created for this. Anywhere you’re watching 7flix in Australia the signal is coming from MediaHub.”
MediaHub also supplies connectivity for 7flix providing totally diverse multiple one gigabit private IP links between Seven’s Broadcast Centre Melbourne (BCM) and the MediaHub facility at Ingleburn in NSW.
Sweeney concluded, “As broadcaster’s focus more on content while demanding significant reductions in operating costs, a technology-driven, multi-client facility such as MediaHub more and more reflects the future path of broadcast operations.”

MediaHub Australia Named 2015 Employer of Choice

By the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber

MediaHub Australia, the television playout facility which broadcasts over 170 channels across Australia and the Asia-Pacific, has been named 2015 NSW Employer of Choice by the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.

Sponsored by CareSuper, the NSW Business Chamber’s Employer of Choice Award recognises businesses that have put in place strategies and initiatives to create a stimulating and supportive work environment for their employees.

MediaHub Australia CEO Alan Sweeney said, “We are absolutely delighted to have won the NSW Business Chamber’s Employer of Choice Award. We put a significant amount of effort into our employees’ development and the development of their workplace so this award is a great validation of those efforts.”

MediaHub Australia received the award at a gala dinner on Friday evening in Sydney attended by more than 1000 guests in recognition of its sustained efforts to improve the wellbeing of its employees. Current initiatives include company funded team-building events, subsidised gym memberships and other health-focused employee benefits. MediaHub Australia also has an employee recognition program, which through peer nominations recognises an Employee of the Year, Rising Star and Quiet Achiever.

The combined result of these initiatives has been a reduction in employee absenteeism by nearly one working day per employee and improved staff retention with almost 90% of the current senior team already chalking up three or more years with the business.

NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright congratulated MediaHub Australia for taking out top honours in the prestigious Employer of Choice category saying, “MediaHub Australia has clearly worked incredibly hard to establish a stimulating and supportive work environment that prioritises the wellbeing of staff and ensures they feel valued. This is a fantastic achievement for MediaHub Australia, and sets an excellent example for other organisations across the state.”

MediaHub wins Fox International Channels


MediaHub Australia has snared the job of handling all the channels in Australia and New Zealand for Fox International Channels Australia in a deal that includes FX and National Geographic.

FOX International Channels Australia, a division of 21st Century FOX, recently chose MediaHub Australia as its playout platform for all of its channels throughout Australia and New Zealand including the entertainment channel FX, and factual channels National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo People.  FIC develops, produces and distributes 300+ wholly- and majority-owned entertainment, sports, factual and movie channels in 45 languages across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

FIC Director of Technical Operations Stephen Lloyd said, “FIC was seeking a 21st century, high-quality, technology-led, efficient Australian-based full service media playout operation.  We found that and more in MediaHub, who demonstrated a great can-do working culture with the ability to be flexible and responsive ensuring we get the best on-air presentation for our viewers which is what matters most. I look forward to a productive partnership in the years ahead.”

Lloyd continued, “Not only did MediaHub meet and exceed every one of our requirements but they did so with a fully working and operational demo in twenty four hours. It really was quite impressive to see our channels up and running as if they had been with MediaHub for some time.”

The demo consisted of a full workflow and playout of channels that included ingest, storage, data centre services, media asset management, QC, system integration, and playout.

The implementation began in what was an incredibly tight timeframe from signing contracts to parallel broadcast operations. A fact and a feat not lost on Lloyd who remarked, “In just eight weeks MediaHub have managed to provide the total Australia and New Zealand playout platform and services for all FIC channels with very a compelling SLA target. This includes full data centre services for FIC, presentation, monitoring, logging and delivery of all feeds to Foxtel and SKY NZ. “

MediaHub Australia CEO Alan Sweeney said, “We are absolutely delighted to have an organisation of Fox International Channels’ stature as a partner and to be handling and managing the playout for all of their channels. Not only are the Fox International Channels premium channels, but their decision to partner with MediaHub further validates our offering to the market in general. MediaHub is open for business and very ready to manage new channels and data services as the market requires.”

The FX, Nat Geo (to Foxtel and SKY NZ), Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo People channels will be live and on air through MediaHub on 1 December 2015.

Source: Well Above Marketing