Molotov Scales for Growth with Disruptive TV Service Model
French startup Molotov TV launched in July 2016 on an ambitious mission to fundamentally change the way French audiences consume television. Less than a year later, in April 2017, the service had already surpassed a million users, attracting and keeping its fast-growing audience with a revolutionary combination of high-impact content and rewarding user experiences.
Molotov’s service is tailored to the changing nature of video content consumption, aggregating fresh TV programming from all major French networks and several specialty channels for live and on-demand viewing through its Molotov.tv app. For audiences who want access to the top-quality content for which French TV networks are well known, with a viewing experience that fits their lifestyle and preferences, Molotov has quickly become the over-the-top (OTT) TV Distributor in France.
Subscribers choose from two service levels: In its free version, Molotov offers 35 channels of 24 x 7 entertainment, or for less than 10 € per month, paid subscribers gain access to more than 70 channels.
For users, the Molotov.tv app represents a new way of exploring TV content. Live, on-demand and upcoming programming are brought together in a single, easy-to-navigate menu and search function that make it simple for users to find exactly what they want or discover new programming. Users can launch the app and immediately see everything that Molotov has to offer at that moment in time. The app supports a broad range of platforms and devices, so users can access Molotov on their computers, smartphones, tablets or connected TVs running iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux as well Apple TV, Android TV, LG and Samsung Smart TV services.
User-centric design carries through to the Molotov viewing experience. Each program has its own icon with details about the content and a progress bar indicating when a program or series was interrupted. Users simply select the program they wish to view and watch it live in real time or restart from the beginning. For programs they’ve already started, users can resume viewing from where they left off, on any of their devices, and the service also incorporates a cloud-based DVR so viewers can record and save content to view later.
Molotov’s ability to deliver its successful blend of outstanding content and engaging user experience was dependent on building and sustaining a high-performance, reliable and efficient video processing workflow.
A powerful, efficient video workflow
“Not long ago, a forward-thinking and disruptive service like Molotov would have seemed incredibly challenging if not impossible to achieve from a technical point of view. But today, the technology exists to make such a service not only possible, but scalable, cost-efficient and capable of delivering the quality of service that viewers have come to expect from broadcast television, backed by a user interface that empowers the consumer to experience TV in ways they’ve never enjoyed before.”Sébastien Faure, Molotov’s head of video and deputy chief technology officer
To deliver its uniquely comprehensive, constantly updated content offering and the robustness that defines its user experience, the Molotov workflow must ingest live signals from the more than 90 networks from which it aggregates content and transcode them both as live content and video-on-demand (VOD) assets. Content is packaged for streaming in a single, OTT adaptive bitrate format for delivery to every multiscreen device through the full range of environments and services the Molotov.tv app supports.
Molotov launched its service with two AWS Elemental Live video and audio encoding solutions at the heart of its workflow, performing real-time encoding and output of live streams to feed the full complement of live and VOD content the service provides. As its business has grown, Molotov’s AWS Elemental deployment has expanded to keep pace with the burgeoning content offering and user base.
With live content a significant part of its offering, Molotov prioritized reliability in provisioning its video processing workflow. AWS Elemental solutions were chosen for their proven resiliency as well as their capabilities in encoding and delivering high-quality video streams. With AWS Elemental Conductor, Molotov can define 1+1, N+M or N+1 redundancy to assure continuous signal flow and uninterrupted service delivery.
As a venture-backed startup, Molotov takes a highly efficient approach to staffing, managing and maintaining its workflow. AWS Elemental solutions play a key role here as well.
“To deliver the experience our customers demand, we simply can’t have downtime. At the same time, we want our technical experts spending their time adding value to the service and supporting continuous innovation—not managing infrastructure or tweaking software settings. Our AWS Elemental solutions are set-it-and-forget-it; my team doesn’t need to touch them to keep generating well-formatted, high-quality streams, which greatly benefits downstream processing.”Sébastien Faure, Molotov’s head of video and deputy chief technology officer
Since going live less than a year ago, Molotov has been embraced by French consumers looking for the content they love at the time, place and screen of their choosing. Molotov is clearly living up to its disruptive mission and the promise it makes to its users; as the company says: “Nous allons vous faire adorer la télé.” Or in English: “Make TV great again.”