Technology and DIgital Innovations Represent Industry “Firsts” Power New Show “If I Can Dream”

May 26, 2010— 19 Entertainment, the industry powerhouse that created “AMERICAN IDOL,” has achieved a fresh milestone by building a global audience for its new show IF I CAN DREAM in over 210 countries in just 12 weeks by launching a series of digital innovations that represent industry break-throughs.  Designed with the web site at its center, IF I CAN DREAM is at the cutting-edge of an emerging trend that has the potential to change the media landscape: Launching network quality shows online and building a global audience faster than ever before.

IF I CAN DREAM is designed to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth behind what it takes to “make it” in Hollywood and invites the world to follow 5 aspiring artists as they pursue their dreams. In just 12 weeks, since its debut on March 9, as Hulu’s first episodic show to be made available to international audiences, IF I CAN DREAM has steadily built a loyal audience with fans in more than 210 countries around the world and expanded the boundaries of mainstream entertainment by putting the power in the hands of a global audience on a scale that is unprecedented.

In order to achieve this and create a show that offers viewers unparalleled access, the site architects built a unique system for the online broadcast. IF I CAN DREAM delivers to its audience the choice of 60 streaming cameras, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week positioned virtually everywhere throughout the IF I CAN DREAM House via its one-of-a-kind live streaming system and website for ultimate viewer access. This system brings together, for what is likely the first time, HD surveillance cameras, delivered in multiple bitrates via custom software, for presentation in an engaging web application.

The website allows users to choose between fully guided and self-guided viewing experiences by giving them three navigation modes. “House” mode provides a 3D model of the house with flags that tell the user what is happening and who is in each room. “All Cameras” mode gives more direct access to the cameras with a dynamic grid of camera previews, and “Just Watch” mode is a directed, switched feed of the best live content.

From the IF I CAN DREAM Control Room, a 24/7 production staff tracks the location and every move of the guests within the house and selects which camera is available in “Just Watch” mode. In this way they can provide data for assisted viewing and directed viewing modes alike. They also provide valuable data to the post production staff for the weekly show.

To provide the highest level of quality and access for online viewers, the streams are distributed over multiple Content Delivery Networks and managed by client-side software that can switch resources based on quality. This, combined with direct monitoring of over 350 streams across 3 CDNS allows the technical staff to manage the property in real-time.

With a weekly 30 minute Hulu episode, short daily clips and viral pieces created from in-house and out-of-house footage, expedited turn-around of media is facilitated by a custom IP based post production work-flow. Live streams are simultaneously recorded to hard drives so story producers can mine the recorded media’s meta-data, and story notes are generated by constantly monitoring staff, for ingest into a custom Final Cut workflow.

This system was designed from the ground up to meet the requirements of this new model of internet content creation. It supports a continuous flow of video assets, related notes and metadata from moments after it is captured through its delivery, while making the necessary tools available to the creative staff to tell the story. In building this window into the lives of aspiring artists, IF I CAN DREAM has introduced a whole new way of producing content.

To augment the experience, viewers have full access to the artists through MySpace, Twitter and Facebook in real-time.  As the artists succeed or fail, their places in the DREAM house open up and will be taken by new hopefuls chosen via MySpace auditions – empowering the new generation of entertainment fans to decide who has what it takes and who should have the opportunity to become a star. The ultimate cultural experiment, the show opens up the American Dream and democratizes the process through technology. Global audiences are following, embracing the concept, and making their voices heard.  The show has already hit #3 on Hulu – and several clips from the show have hit #1 on Hulu.

19 Entertainment worked closely with our partners to innovate, create, and execute If I Can Dream.

POKE New York is a design and technology services company that deeply collaborated and partnered with 19 Entertainment to create, develop and bring to life If I Can Dream as an innovative digital, interactive entertainment experience for both consumers and marketers alike.

AEG Digital Media brought their experience with some of the internet’s largest webcasts and provided consulting, technical project management, systems design and oversight for the video and data delivery systems for If I Can Dream. AEGDM architected many of the systems and assisted in managing the contractors and vendors to bring this technical achievement to life.

Twin Technologies provided custom software development of its DigiNodes technology and consulting integral to If I Can Dream’s unique platform. Systems developed enabled ingest, recording, transcoding and streaming from 60 cameras simultaneously, at multiple bitrates, and the delivery of high-quality audio and video recordings for integration into an advanced post production workflow.

If I Can Dream’s Content Delivery Network partners Highwinds, BitGravity and Akamai, seamlessly deliver the 60 High Definition on-demand live streams to our audience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. BitGravity provided proof of concept support to If I Can Dream during the initial development stages of the project. Highwinds played an integral role in developing the CDN integration and workflow, and provided on-site support in the production studio during the launch of the show.

Conviva’s Telemetry & Insights service provides If I Can Dream with continuous, real-time information about each viewer to avoid poor quality issues. Conviva’s Distribution Management service is used for the consistent delivery of live streams by switching between If I Can Dream’s CDN partners.

Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server is the backbone of If I Can Dream’s video distribution system, enabling viewers to watch a truly immersive online broadcast.

Reliam provides comprehensive Internet Application Management services to power the IICD application. Powering IICD is a custom designed, scalable infrastructure using Reliam’s private cloud as well as high performance dedicated resources.

tw telecom was able to deliver a 135-megabit Metro Ethernet connection to the IICD house; a considerable feat for such a secluded private residence. This unique application required a significant fiber-optic network expansion, provisioning, permits, construction, and equipment testing.

Walkabout Communications provided If I Can Dream with a 100Mbps wireless link, as back-up, to ensure the video never stops.

DZ Solutions, a full-service systems integrator, provided the storage and networking hardware and software, post production systems, and assisted AEGDM in the full design and integration of the video systems both at the DREAM House and the Post-Production Facility and continues to provide ongoing support services.