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Technical Challenges of the HBO Max Rollout

Learn more about AI and streaming at Streaming Media East 2022.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Can you talk a little bit about the biggest technical challenge that you undertook when it came to building HBO Max, and here at Streaming Media, we get a fairly technically savvy audience. So feel free to drop some acronyms if you want. Everything from encoding and transcoding to building the UI and the apps for delivery.

Jason Press: Sure. I'll focus first on that it's been an incredible amount of work to get to this point. And I'm really thankful for the teams at HBO Max and, and the participants that worked on this process with us. But as we got into it, if you think about the heritage of WarnerMedia, these three separate companies existed, and those three separate companies had different workflows for how to create content. And so all the way from the rights management systems to how we encode to how we package to how we do QC localization, like captioning and subtitles.

These were all different processes. So we had to homogenize all those workflows in systems so that they could feed into HBO Max in a singular way, a huge challenge in terms of those workflows. On the product side, HBO Go, HBO Now, and Cinemax Go were all separate products and we had separate platforms around the world globally.

And so there was a lot of work to think about--how do we change the UI and the experience so you can take multiple brands into that experience. DC Universe as a brand hub. HBO as a brand hub. And so we had to really reimagine the experience and do a lot of work on the UI in terms of that as it relates to the formats that we wanted to support. HBO Go and Now, circa 2019 and 2020, didn't even support 4K HDR and Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. And so the highest quality of show and content, it didn't have features like downloads. And so being able to have folks take that subscription on a plane and be disconnected. So there's a lot of feature parity that really needs to be done to keep up with the marketplace.

And so really a lot of technical work went into rolling that out, and then what we've done recently, as we're on this journey around global expansions is, first and foremost, we got the platform right for the U.S. audience. And now we're adding that platform capability in a global way around the world. And so we're doing migrations of customer bases. We're doing migrations of payment types. We're doing migrations of content ingestion around the world and all the localization and dubbing and subbing that has to go into that is just a humongous amount of work and challenge. And so a lot of technical things that we've done and that as well as just regionalized our infrastructure, our infrastructure was very much based in the U.S. and then local to specific third-party platforms. Now it's a global platform with a global reach with localized regional infrastructure and how we deliver the video is all localized as well around the world. And so it it's been a lot of technology change and I'm really proud of what the teams have accomplished with that.

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