Interview with Egon Verharen, NPO (2 minute read)
Hit homegrown comedy series De Luizenmoeder and live events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are just two of the high-ratings programs aired by National Dutch public TV channel NPO. NPO was looking for a provider who could deliver these and other programs reliably to large numbers of end users over the Internet, and they needed to look no further than KPN Wholesale.
NPO has been a KPN client for 12 years – as long as R&D Manager Egon Verharen has been employed there. In addition to other KPN Wholesale services, NPO uses the Content Delivery Network (CDN) for live streaming and Video-on-Demand (VoD) services. Verharen was involved in the contract negotiations and architecture on NPO’s end and remains part of the project on an ad-hoc basis.
The only viable way for NPO to deliver video across the Internet on a large scale is to literally get as close to the end user as possible. This means NPO wants to be part of the network of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) which provides the eventual connection for customers. “Other CDN providers are always at the periphery of the network or have the same connection to the ISP network as we do, which is not a solution,” says Egon Verharen. “No one is more familiar with the Internet provider’s network than the Internet provider itself,” he continues. “If KPN provides CDN services in order to store videos as close as possible to end users, I’d be happy to use those services,” Verharen says.
NPO provides video streaming services on such a large scale that straightforward video delivery from their servers to end users – the way it was done in the past – creates problems on the network nodes. “Any company acting as a go-between provides extra connection points, so I prefer to deliver a number of streams and files to KPN, to be distributed directly to its end users. This ensures continuity and improved quality of experience, as we don’t need to switch to a lower bandwidth as often as in the past,” Verharen explains.
NPO Start, NPO’s video streaming service, serves as an on-demand catch-up service as well as to discover broadcasts and watch them live on the NPO 1, 2, and 3 channels, the various dedicated channels, and live events. If a subscriber of a KPN Internet provider does one of these things, all traffic is managed through the KPN CDN. The same applies to all NPO apps and websites and to all platforms (computers, Smart TV, cell phones, and tablets).
“KPN’s Content Delivery Network has helped us reach record heights. During the largest live-streaming events, half a million people watched the event simultaneously without any problems,” he enthuses. “The popular sitcom De Luizenmoeder was watched by 200,000 people on demand at the same time – 8 million times in all, which is a record for us,” he says proudly. “Sure, we run into the odd problem every now and again, but when that happens we put our heads together and come up with a solution.” He concludes: “I’m glad we have such a good relationship with KPN Wholesale, as this means we don’t just discuss contracts, but also the development of the platform and any other requirements we might have.”