The thing with a television network having a hit TV show is that everyone wants to watch it. And while it can be huge for their bottom line, there is also a significant technical challenge when the program is being streamed. That’s what HBO experienced with the cultural phenomenon that has been the hit program Game of Thrones. The popularity of the program increased with every successive season, leading to massive spikes in streaming demand when each episode aired. But this challenge led to a new opportunity for HBO to take more control over the direction of the business.
For several years, HBO had been relying on a third party to help it deliver programming to viewers on demand. While the platform worked well under ordinary loads, there were issues with the massive scaling required when Game of Thrones aired. As the final seasons of the program approached, the network made a decision to bring streaming capabilities into the company and develop its own comprehensive streaming platform. Centralizing the technology would improve efficiency and take the company in a more strategic direction for other deployments moving forward. The key to a successful launch of the new service was ensuring instant scalability to support viewer demand. In order to make that happen, HBO needed extensive load testing capabilities for the new platform.
In searching for a partner, HBO was impressed by Apica’s load testing capabilities including our proven performance in platform scalability and extensive experience in advanced enterprise testing. Additionally, Apica’s load testing abilities give companies complete visibility into the expected performance of applications and services in the most demanding circumstances, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the customer experience. These features suited HBO’s needs perfectly, leading them to select us as a partner for their enhanced streaming initiative.
The release of the final Game of Thrones season was a huge technical success for HBO. Apica’s load test platform evaluated the site’s performance before release with 10+ million viewers starting streaming in same second. The ability to validate infrastructure scaling and systems resilience is a key result of using Apica’s test platform.
The success has set the stage for even more streaming initiatives with HBO and its parent company, AT&T Time Warner. Apica’s technology will also be featured prominently in the development of the new HBO Max service, which will offer a wider variety of content than HBO alone. As with the Game of Thrones release, testing the scaling capabilities of HBO Max will be a critical part of the 2020 launch of the service.