Streaming Premium Content to Sports Fans Worldwide

Key takeaways

By transitioning content delivery to StackPath and leveraging serverless scripting, FloSports gated access to premium content in an efficient manner while delivering enterprise-grade, on-demand video streaming to sports fans worldwide.

  • Leverages serverless edge scripts to protect premium content while allowing non-authenticated users to freely consume free content
  • Conserves server resources by integrating with the existing authentication scheme at the edge
  • Lowers delivery costs with optimal end user experience (greater than 96% cache hit ratio)
  • Receives personalized, enterprise-level support that other providers charge thousands for

Situation

Innovative sports media brand faces content security challenge

FloSports is an over-the-top subscription sports broadcaster and streaming service that provides in-depth sports content to a highly engaged audience. Beginning in niche sports, the brand has since grown to include international competitions and numerous high-profile events.

Early on, FloSports experienced problems with viewers tampering with URLs to gain unauthorized access to paid content. To patch that hole, the company began individually signing each video URL to allow access, which created unnecessary round trips to the server. Since FloSports also offers free content, intelligently securing access to premium content became a core issue for continued brand growth.

Objective

Protect premium content without sacrificing quality

In order to continue delivering top quality content, FloSports needed to assign a signature to every video asset request to prevent URL tampering.

With the source video living in AWS S3 buckets, the company’s first pass was to generate a signed URL for each video view through Amazon’s CloudFront CDN. While this succeeded in securing the content, it added unnecessary round trips to the server. This impacted video start times for the user and put more load on backend servers than necessary.

In addition, CloudFront CDN comes at a substantially higher cost. This premium price comes with less points of presence and higher latency to end users than competitors. A more agile CDN solution was required.

Approach

Implement a developer friendly edge-side scripting solution

When the developers at FloSports began using StackPath they were able to put together a basic proof of concept in a matter of minutes. This meant leveraging edge-side scripts, looking for the JWT token, and protecting selected content.

With StackPath, FloSports developers can create an edge-side script with a few clicks. The intuitive inline editor (with code auto-complete) deploys changes to edge servers worldwide within seconds. Once beyond initial testing stages, developers were able to commit more complex edge-side code into their source control repositories and, with EdgeEngine CLI tools, integrate the packaging and deployment into their standard automated workflow. StackPath allows authentication to occur as close to the user as possible, thus reducing FloSports’ server logic load.

“StackPath is way ahead of the game as far as making it really easy to launch technical solutions at the edge.”

Jason Byrne • VP Software Development, FloSports

Results

Secure, enterprise grade content for all paying customers

FloSports required robust media asset protection in storage objects (S3 buckets) that are only accessible to authenticated, paying users. With StackPath, the FloSports engineering team built out an effective solution in short order.

Additionally, StackPath’s 40Tb/s of network capacity and 45 global PoPs offer a video streaming experience that rivals any other in the world, including the largest streaming video brands. FloSports uses StackPath CDN to deliver everything from CSS to JavaScript, to images to videos, with exceptional performance. (Their cache hit ratio is continuously over 96%.)

The broadcaster has achieved a 125+% YOY increase in net new subscribers. And, in June 2019, FloSports raised a $47M Series C, adding to a total of over $72 million in funding.

“StackPath added me to a Slack channel and answered every question I had. I would post something and five minutes later I’d have a response. It was amazing.”

Jason Byrne • VP Software Development, FloSports

Company Description

FloSports is an over-the-top subscription sports broadcaster and streaming service with streaming rights to sporting events that occur all over the world.

Industry

Media & Entertainment

Use Case

Premium content authentication and content delivery

Products

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