By Keith Barnett, Microsoft M&E Industry Marketing Manager


As I was watching highlights of the World Cup matches the other night, I wondered how such a global event is consumed by people worldwide.  Just like the Olympics, the World Cup takes place in one country but is watched live by people all over the world.  This creates a unique problem given the multitude of time zones that viewers reside in as matches take place right during the middle of the day for Americans and late at night for viewers in Asia. 


How are fans in every corner of the world watching the latest Italian slide tackle or Brazilian fancy strike on goal?  As it turns out, soccer fans are going to the Internet to keep up on all the latest. In fact, the World Cup broke Internet records with 12.1 million visitors per minute accessing news sites during the Mexico-South Africa match. That record superseded the previous record of 8.5 million visitors when Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election in 2008. This stat alone demonstrates that people want content when and where they chose, and  this is the same strategy media and communications organizations are deploying by building out their infrastructure to enable content distribution over multiple channels.


Yesterday, our partner Irdeto issued an announcement highlighting the importance of integrated solutions in delivering innovative content like the World Cup, seamlessly across multiple screens. Specifically, Irdeto announced that Astro, Malaysia’s leading cross-media broadcaster and direct-to-home (DTH) satellite pay-TV operator, is using Irdeto’s content management solution to power the live streaming and on-demand broadband delivery of all 64 FIFA World Cup matches on the Astro B.yond Player. Along with the content management system from Irdeto, partners like Akamai, Conviva, EVS and Microsoft created the complete streaming solution for HD content which will allow Malaysian viewers to access the World Cup whenever and wherever they want. As the transformation of the industry continues, we will see more and more solutions like this as consumers are demanding it.   


Now if only the American soccer team could build a sound strategy and deliver upon it! ;)