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For week ended October 10, 1999 Posted 10 Oct 1999

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After rocky start, Internet Conference broadcast serves thousands

Summarized by Kent Larsen

After rocky start, Internet Conference broadcast serves thousands
Kent Larsen 7Oct99 N1

This past weekend's broadcast of General Conference on the Internet went well, after problems encountered during Saturday morning's first session were cleared up. LDS Church-owned MStar, which sponsored the broadcast through its new site, said that the broadcast drew more than 25,000 streams for the Saturday sessions and more than 50,000 for the Sunday sessions.

Audio feeds were also available from KSL Radio, owned by the LDS Church's Bonneville Communications, and from BYU. In addition, BYU offered a video feed, the first time video of conference was offered over the Internet.

General Conference was available in a total of 14 languages through the various providers: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Tongan, Korean, Samoan, French, Mandarin, German, Cantonese, Cambodian, Hmong and Navajo. BYU, which hosted all of these languages, served more than 20,000 audio and video streams.

From a broader viewpoint, the number of streams was modest compared to the potential audience. Real Broadcast Network, which hosted the 6 most common languages for MStar (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French), reported that on Saturday the peak number of concurrent streams (i.e., people listening at the same time), was just about 7,500. But for an Internet broadcast, this is very high. Real confirmed to Mormon News that this was one of the largest broadcasts it had ever hosted.

The only problem experienced was a Saturday morning problem because of capacity. According to Jim Jenkins, Manager of Production and Broadcast Operations for Real Broadcast Network, the company was simply not prepared for the demand, "It was a configuration issue," said Jenkins, "There simply wasn't enough equipment available for the speed at which people were joining [the Broadcast]." To make the change to meet the demand, Real had to disconnect all streams briefly, and listeners had to connect again.

Fortunately, both Real and MStar learned from the problems with the previous week's General Relief Society Meeting broadcast. "The things that were learned from the problem with the Relief Society broadcast made it so that the process was in place for a quick response on Saturday," said MStar's Brad Olsen. In fact, Real's Jenkins reports that MStar's executive vice-president Paul Hansen was in the RBN broadcast operations center during the General Conference broadcast to make sure that RBN could contact the right people if there were any problems. Normally, clients aren't permitted in the center.

Real also clarified the cause of the problem during the Relief Society broadcast. Unlike reports from MStar, which said that the problem was due to equipment failure, Real says that the problem was due to a configuration change made to the audio feed it was getting. "This is a fairly complex setup." noted Real's Jenkins.

Real had tested the feed, which depends on properly configured equipment, the day before the broadcast. Between the test and the actual broadcast, someone, either at MStar or at Bonneville Communications, where the feed originated, changed the configuration. It took an hour to fix the problem.

Still, Real was pleased with how well the broadcast went, and is pleased to get this business, "From [our] perspective, we are very excited to get this business," said Jenkins.

See also:

After rocky start, Internet Conference broadcast serves thousands
Kent Larsen 7Oct99 N1
By Kim Hagan: NewsNet Staff Writer


LDS Conference Broadcast Live Everywhere Via the World Wide Web Salt Lake Tribune 2Oct99 N1 By Bob Mims: Salt Lake Tribune

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information