How it works – the architecture behind TicketCo TV

by | Apr 27, 2020

An interview with the TicketCo CEO, Kaare Bottolfsen, regarding the TicketCo TV product.

Our TicketCo TV product consists of a streaming solution where our customers can sell Pay Per View tickets (PPV). We are about to deploy a extension of this streaming solution where our customers can upload digital content such as videos with the purpose of selling Video On Demand (VOD).

When we created the TicketCo TV product wanted to utilise the already existing technology stack that we use, primarily through Amazon Web Services. We have sold millions of tickets through our existing technology stack and we have a very robust architecture to handle a lot of user activity.

If we look at what the high level components of TicketCo TV consist of from a event organiser (or artist) point of view they are:

  • Self serviced web app solution to create events
  • The ability to create pay per view tickets
  • A broadcasting endpoint in TicketCo that can be broadcast to (more about that later).

From the shopper (or viewer) end it consists of being able to see live streams or video content after buying a Pay Per View ticket. We have a a strong belief that a pay per view experience not only needs to contain a smooth shopper journey but also the ability to see HD content where it matters the most, on the TV.

So we have already created an Apple TV app and an Android TV app for shoppers. Here they can access the livestreams by activating their pay per view ticket. We are also working on releasing apps for Samsung TV´s (Tizen) and LG TV´s (WebOS).

In addition to this our web players that are used on mobiles and laptops can cast the videos to Airplay or Chromecast compatible devices. Typically the last one will consist of Chromecast devices people have connected to their TV´s.

If we look at the solution from a ‘how does it work and feel’ customer journey point of view our solution, this is what happens:

  1. The shopper buy a PPV ticket
  2. The shopper receive a PPV ticket on email with a ‘play button’ and a ticket ID
  3. When the shopper tries to access the livestream the shopper is directed to a ‘pre livestream’ waiting page with a countdown timer. When the event starts the viewer is redirected to the livestream page

Another thing worth mentioning is that TicketCo already contains branding tools for the event organiser. It also contains marketing tools and smart ticketing tools such as promo codes, discount functions etc. And more.

All together we believe TicketCo TV is a very powerful and good PPV and VOD solution for event organisers because it consists of a combination of a proper ticketing and streaming service. For us as a technology company that wanted to create an easy to use sales platform. Therefore it was not a option to disjoint ticketing and streaming. This would create a lot of extra work for event organisers and a bad customer journey for viewers.

As mentioned initially we wanted to approach the streaming part by utilising our existing technology stack. And this meant looking towards Amazon Web Services for relevant new tech components. For the streaming part of our service we utilise AWS Elemental suite components.

Key parts of this suite is the AWS Elemental MediaLive, MediaStore and MediaPackage.

Architecturally it works as the illustration below demonstrates:
 
The solution is combined with Amazon CloudFront which acts as a Content Delivery Network (CDN). The job of the CDN is to deliver video to the viewers and it can host millions of viewers.

All the data in the solution is packaged for viewers in such a way that it will adapt to the bandwidth of the viewer.

As a streaming solution this is a very robust media solution for both live-streaming and video on demand.

Any event organiser can utilise our service as long as they use a broadcasting software that is RTMP compatible. (Wikipedia).

There are several broadcasting software that is RTMP compatible. Some examples are:

When broadcasting into our streaming service we recommend to broadcast in a minimum of 6 Mbps. This will ensure a HD quality viewing experience for the viewers, provided they have sufficient bandwidth.

As a provider of a combined ticketing and streaming service we monetise our solution on two levels:

  1. The event organiser pays a fee for selling PPV tickets. Typically this will be a fee of 8% of the payment volume sold through our platform.
  2. The event organiser pays for bandwidth consumption. This is a more tricky topic to explain as it depends on bandwidth consumption at the viewer end. The event organiser will buy X amount of terabytes as part of the package of using our PPV service. TicketCo will measure and report on consumption of bandwidth as part of the service. But as a simple rule of thumb a one hour show where a viewer will view in HD quality (1080p) they will consume about 1,5GB of data. TicketCo will charge NOK 5, 38p, SEK 4,73

We will continue to add more smart features to the TicketCo TV product but we have already got running events on the technology and look forward to partner with more event organisers in the future.

I would also encourage event organsiers to sign up to our webinars that we will host on relevant topics together with partners.

It is of course no coincidence that we’ve launched this product in these COVID-19 times. We are trying to assist our customers as best we can to adapt to the situation. But we also believe TicketCo TV is a product that will have a lot of exiting opportunities post COVID-19. Not only for our existing customer groups but also new ones. Basically anyone that want to offer sales of streaming content such as Pay Per View and Video On Demand.