Bringing Faith to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
Spirituality has played a meaningful role in people’s lives throughout history. As media and entertainment content proliferates across screens and devices in this modern era, faith-based organizations are working to make religion accessible on a daily basis to those with busy lives. When John Hagee Ministries (JHM) looked to extend its message, it sought an encoding partner that could process the number of video streams needed to reach a growing number of followers while demonstrating exceptional reliability and providing the highest quality viewing experience. Where could John Hagee Ministries find a video processing solution up to the task?
Background: Spreading a Message to a Global Following
John Hagee Ministries telecasts John Hagee’s national radio and television ministry in the United States on ten TV networks, including 62 stations aired to more than 150 million households. The ministry is shown on networks such as The Inspiration Network (INSP), Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Inspiration Now TV. While North America is JHM’s chief market, it also has a significant global presence, as programs can be seen in every country around the world.
GETV—Global Evangelism Television—is JHM’s Internet-based video channel that carries the majority of the ministry’s streaming content. GETV features both live and on-demand programming, such as Cornerstone Church Sunday services, classic sermons, special events, classes, music and behind-the-scenes programming. GETV’s mission is to make JHM content available to viewers whenever and wherever they want.
Challenge: Taking the Next Step in Content Distribution
When John Hagee Ministries started to delve into the IP-based side of video distribution to augment its traditional television broadcasts, it quickly found that its video processing infrastructure fell short in several areas. Its existing systems could handle only a limited number of video streams and thus could not produce adequate adaptive bitrate outputs. For viewers, this could mean lengthy video buffering and stuttering playback.
An even more pressing issue for JHM was encoder reliability. System failures resulted in outages and a subpar viewing experience for the entire streaming audience. This was in stark contrast to the quality-of-experience JHM provided with its broadcast programming. With a strong desire to grow its streaming offerings, the JHM team moved quickly to find high-performance, reliable video processing systems to replace existing encoding equipment.
Solution: Streaming Weekly Events and a 24/7 Channel
John Hagee Ministries identified Elemental® Live as the solution needed to stabilize and expand its streaming video offerings. At the 2011 NAB show, Brandon Young, JHM Director of Programming and Web Development, met with every video encoding vendor in attendance. After further research and speaking with trusted resources in the industry, he identified Elemental as the top pick in the encoding market.
“The reliability of other video processing systems was a major issue,” said Young. “We had problems with uptime and were unable to handle the amount of content we needed to convert within tight time constraints. Elemental was highly credible and simply delivered.”
Young runs the facility responsible for all JHM content distribution — including production of domestic and international television broadcasts as well as both live and on-demand video streaming over the Internet. Elemental Live made an immediate impact on JHM streaming operations.
The ministry leveraged the power of the four-SDI input system to create 26 output streams ranging from 110 Kbps to 2.5 Mbps in both HLS and RTMP formats, targeting devices such as desktop PCs, Apple devices and Roku boxes. JHM takes advantage of several Elemental Live features, including input switching — providing viewers a countdown to the start times of events — as well as high-quality deinterlacing, image insertion for logo overlays and live-to-archive functionality. In fact, Young began using the archive functionality to save each show’s “pristine” high bitrate H.264 master copy after receiving feedback on how exceptional the streaming quality looked.
JHM live streamed Sunday sermons initially, but over time has added more and more weekly shows to its streaming lineup, allowing Young to take advantage of the scheduling features available with Elemental Live. Now, the product is also used for the 24/7 streaming of the GETV IPTV channel, a testament to the system’s stability and robustness.
Benefit: Streaming to Hundreds of Countries with Room to Grow
With Elemental Live solidified in the John Hagee Ministries’ streaming workflow, JHM reaches an expanded audience. It is now normal for thousands of viewers in hundreds of countries to tune in on an Internet-connected device to see Sunday services in multiple languages. Growing viewership has allowed Young and the JHM team to plan for future video offerings from the ministry, with top-notch guidance from Elemental.
“The Elemental team has been great, always quick to help no matter the issue,” said Young. “They aren’t afraid to help with other parts of our video pipeline, even if it’s not necessarily related to their product.”
Going forward, JHM plans to support streaming to a number of Smart TVs and to put closed captioning capabilities to use. Today these features are supported by Elemental Live, but as additional requirements for JHM emerge, the platform’s flexible software architecture and highly upgradable hardware will be ready. Elemental Live will allow JHM to deliver its message for many years to come.
- Complement traditional broadcast distribution
- Secure a stable, reliable video processing solution
- Deliver a flawless streaming experience
- Create adaptive bitrate outputs
- Leverage a single platform for live and VOD
- Evolve from weekly live events to 24/7 streaming
- An improved viewing experience overnight
- Live video streaming to hundreds of countries
- Built for expansion to meet future requirements
“The Elemental team has been great, always quick to help no matter the issue. They aren’t afraid to help with other parts of our video pipeline, even if it’s not necessarily related to their product.”Brandon Young
Director of Programming and Web Development, John Hagee Ministries