Knowledge Exchange

MENOS' IBC coup has cast the spotlight on content exchange networks.
Content management
Newtec CEO Serge Van Herck.
Newtec CEO Serge Van Herck.


The switch to tapeless workflows combined with the increasingly global nature of content production and distribution, has seen the volume of traffic exchanged between media entities skyrocket. takes a look at the Middle East's IBC Innovation Award-winning MENOS system, and a range of alternative services on the market.

Aside from the actual business of broadcasting video content to viewers, media owners have to move large quantities of data around the globe. There are a number of ways and means to transport files whether it is between branch offices, to and from clients or from a third party media owner.

The days of couriering reels of tape are (almost) behind the industry now and the switch to tapeless workflows has presented media companies with a host of methods available to use for collaboration and data transfer.

One such solution to this problem is the Multimedia Exchange Network Over Satellite (MENOS) service developed by Newtec and hosted by satellite operator, Arabsat.

The large geographical coverage of the Middle East, and the spread of broadcasting hubs in the region from North Africa to the Gulf, means the region is best served by a satellite rather than a cable or fibre network platform.

The Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) and its 28 member broadcasters can use the IP-based service to exchange everything from video content to phone calls over the network.

The ASBU and its members share the broadcasting rights to both the summer and the winter Olympic Games in addition to a large volume of other programming. This frequent need for content exchange and collaboration is now served by the ‘always on’ MENOS system which permanently connects those with a terminal.

The benefits of MENOS for broadcasters were aptly demonstrated at the Beijing Olympics last summer, enabling vital collaboration between ASBU member broadcasters for what is a complex broadcast event on the largest scale.

This was the first outing for the system which was launched commercially in January 2009.

The MENOS system has since been honoured with an IBC Innovation Award for Content Delivery.

“Newtec has a strong reputation for technological innovation and there is no better demonstration of this than the realisation of MENOS,” says Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec.

The IP-based system uses DVB-S2 modulation and statistical multiplexing of the combined data, voice, television and radio signals ensuring the optimum efficiency of the satellite bandwidth usage. MENOS terminals can also be integrated into flyaway kits and OB vans, allowing mobile production units to remain part of the broadcaster’s network.

“The introduction of MENOS is an extremely important milestone for us, the Arab region and the broadcasting industry as a whole,” claims Slaheddine Maaoui, director general of the ASBU. “We are all extremely proud of this award short-listing, giving recognition to our investment and belief in such a revolutionary concept.”

Alternative collaborative data transfer services are of course available using a number of different architectures. Some may prefer to stick to using FTP. However, this is neither the most secure nor the most reliable method and a host of alternative platforms are available to media owners to transfer content with near-100 percent guaranteed quality, while also being fully secure.



Simple and secure file based transfers

The Smartjog file transfer service provides a secure delivery platform for content, regardless of the file size or type. The company has its own dedicated transmission backbone that includes 100Mb/s and Gbps fibre.

The company has 650 global locations covering 65 countries, including Morocco, Turkey and the UAE.

Smartjog claims to use military grade encryption. In addition to the virtual private network (VPN) encryption, each individual file-transfer is given its own unique AES-256 key, generated specifically for that transfer. Smartjog counts pay TV operator Orbit-Showtime among its clients in the region.


Unprecedented access to Chinese market

CDNetworks operates the third largest content delivery network in the world. The company offers several points of presence in the Middle East including Rabat, Tunis, Cairo, Doha and Dubai.

The company has racked up some impressive references in the past including the live broadcasts of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, traffic-heavy Barack Obama campaign videos and a number of other sporting events.

The company can also tailor packages for smaller operations requiring content exchange functions only. CDNetworks boasts a total capacity of 1100 Gb/s.


Strong Middle East presence, global reach

GlobeCast offers a wide range of terrestrial and satellite content delivery options and has deals in place with several MENA broadcasters.

The company also offers a content exchange service enabling secure sharing of large files. Registered users can exchange information using a VPN making the system available on any broadband connection.


Tailor-made for media users

UK telco BT’s Global Media Network (GMN) is designed to pass through the world’s media hubs enabling broadcasters to link production sites, customers, partners and suppliers.

The GMN currently reaches 170 countries in total.

According to BT, the service achieves 99.999 percent availability and can maintain continuity in the event of a network failure.

The service enables video, voice and data applications, with BT’s own in-house traffic engineering team ensuring that appropriate quality of service can be assigned to each specific type of traffic.

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