Phenix is a live-streaming platform that specializes in real-time streaming at scale. Although most people think “live-streaming” and “real-time” are synonymous, Phenix says they are not. And it likes to clarify the difference. Live-streaming comes with latency, buffering and streams that are not in sync, says Phenix. While real-time means that all viewers, no matter where they’re located, see the content synchronously.
Synched content becomes really important for sporting events, where the big moments can be spoiled if there’s long latency. Synched content is also imperative for sports betting.
Phenix engineers have customized their own software to deliver real-time streaming at scale.
Jed Corenthal, chief marketing officer at Phenix, said the vast majority of companies that stream live content use HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), an Apple-based product developed more than 17 years ago to allow broadcasters to stream their content to large audiences. But Corenthal said HLS doesn’t deliver real-time.
Instead of using HLS, Phenix uses a customized version of the WebRTC protocol. “All the current video conferencing tools like Zoom or Facetime use a form of RTC,” he said. “But the version of WebRTC that everybody uses doesn’t allow for a scalable audience. It wasn’t built for that more than 1,000.”
Phenix re-built the WebRTC protocol so it could stream at scale to millions of people. “That’s what makes us unique,” said Corenthal. In addition, the company created its SyncWatch technology that allows everybody to watch at the same time, regardless of connection, device or place in the world. Phenix has patents and patents pending on its custom software.
“You can imagine where there’s anything with interactivity is where we really shine,” said Corenthal. “We do away with spoilers or fraud from a sports-betting standpoint.”
Phenix is currently working with “one of the big NFL partners” on developing some features for a sports app for the upcoming NFL season, said Corenthal, although he declined to name the partner. But he said the mobile app will provide multiple camera angles of the action on the field.
Phenix vital stats
Phenix is about six years old, and it has raised more than $20 million in funding, so far. The company is headquartered in Chicago, and its team of about 29 people work from locations all around the world.
Its customer list includes Disney, ABC, Sony Pictures and BT Sport, according to its website. Corenthal said, “We work with anybody who owns the rights to live content — sports leagues, broadcasters, agencies who represent those who own the rights, sports books, betting companies, movie companies — anybody that has content that they want to stream out to an audience.”
To support is software technology Phenix employs a multi-cloud strategy, using cloud services from both Oracle and Google to ensure that if there’s an outage with one provider the other cloud provider ensures immediate redundancy.