Launched in 2005, the Asian Leadership Conference (ALC) is South Korea’s premier international event where global leaders coalesce to discuss and provide possible solutions for the pressing issues currently facing the world.

The event is hosted annually in Seoul by ChosunIlbo, Korea’s largest and most influential daily newspaper. While planning for ALC2020 was underway, the COVID-19 pandemic progressed rapidly across the world, eliminating any opportunity for the event to be held in-person. As a result, Chosun was forced to make a choice - cancel that year’s conference or pivot to a virtually executed event.

Challenged by a global pandemic

The ALC started as a forum for Asian issues following the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Today, the ALC serves as an international event that seeks to find commonality in political, economic, social and environmental topics. Participants include world-renowned political leaders, global corporate CEOs, and scholars and is attended by C-level and senior executives, government leaders and senior officials, scholars, and students.

Guided by its mission of developing solutions to solve global challenges, Chosun knew cancelling the ALC at a time when the world struggled not only with the pandemic but deepening inequalities, climate change and other existential threats was not an option.

The question now became how to transition what traditionally was a two-day in-person conference that hosted more than 220 speakers and over 3,500 attendees. What would that look like and how would they do it?

Transforming ALC2020

The solution was to create an event that would feature a mix of in-person and remote speakers delivered virtually to conference registrants. The agenda would continue to feature speakers across four program tracks with sessions running back-to-back for 30 minutes to one hour each.

Maintaining the original November 11th event date, ChosunIlbo’s newsroom evaluated its options for executing this vision of ALC2020. Meanwhile, its technical team embarked on replatforming Chosun.com to Arc XP’s cloud-native digital experience platform, including the implementation of Arc XP’s online video platform, Video Center.

Built using AWS Elemental Media Services, Video Center offers live-streaming and live-to-VOD conversion in conjunction with transcoding, publishing and playback for a complete end-to-end video solution. Fully integrated into Arc XP Content and the Arc XP Experience Platform, Video Center enables the seamless creation and delivery of rich video experiences across all digital channels.

Jin Hyung Woo, Director of the Digital Strategy Office, and Chosun’s technical lead for the migration to Arc XP, recognized that the newfound abilities Arc XP provided, particularly with live streaming, could be just the answer the ALC team was looking for.

“At first, Arc XP wasn’t in the picture,” said Woo. “The newsroom was already weighing their video management options for ALC when the decision was made in the spring to re-platform ChosunIlbo’s content management and website to Arc XP. We were preparing to take Chosun.com live at the end of August when I recognized that Video Center was a viable solution for managing the video content and streaming of ALC2020 in-house.”

Bringing the ALC to the virtual world stage

After bringing this insight to ChosunIlbo’s leadership, the decision was made to proceed with Video Center for the backend management and virtual channel orchestration for ALC2020. A two-person technical team was then dedicated to the project.

With six weeks to the event date, this team focused on developing ALC2020′s Arc XP environment. This included the ingestion of both in-person camera and audio feeds, along with Zoom, Wirecast and V-mix streams, then stitching them together with pre-recorded VOD across the four tracks. In total, 16 channels were set up to accommodate the different on-sight camera views, virtual feeds, and real-time language translations with backups built-in.

With the environment in place, the ALC team engaged in several dry runs to ensure a smooth execution, including a full-scale rehearsal that ran for the complete 15 hours.

“Because of Arc XP’s intuitive interface, documentation and their training resources, by and large, our team was able to set up the environment with little support needed from their professional services team,” said Woo. “We had never executed anything like this before so while there were a lot of nerves, after our rehearsals we had full confidence in our team and in Arc XP that the event would run smoothly.”

At 9:00am Korean Standard Time on November 11, 2020, the ALC2020 event kicked off. Over the course of the next 15 hours, 3,000 registrants logged into the conference website and accessed the session of 160 speakers from Korea and around the world.

The conference website served as the main entry point for attendees while virtual speakers utilized zoom to deliver their presentations. On the backend, Zoom streams fed into a mixing station where a moderator coordinated the virtual and onsite camera feeds and audio. Everything was then encoded and sent to Video Center where the streams were distributed to the conference website for attendee viewing.

Using Arc XP’s content management and distribution capabilities, Chosun was able to expand the reach and impact of the ALC beyond in-person attendees for the first time. Through Video Center, select sessions live-streamed directly to Chsoun.com and third-party sites in the United States, China and India while the ChosunIlbo newsroom used Arc XP Content’s authoring tool, Composer, to swiftly create conference-related content and publish in real-time to Chosun.com.

Flawless execution that surpassed all expectations

The conference was a success, performing well beyond Chosun’s expectations.

“The execution was flawless. We ran 60 sessions from 160 speakers for 15 hours straight without a single error downtime,” said Woosuk Ken Choi, Editor/Director General, ChosunIlbo. “Jin had a vision and his team made it happen. They accomplished something we never would have been able to do before Arc XP. Moving forward, even when we return to hosting the ALC in-person, live-streamed sessions will remain a key component of how we deliver the conference.”

“For our attendees, while they missed the in-person interaction, they have spoken positively of the online experience and the ability to still hear from and engage with these global leader,” Choi continued.

For Chosun Media, the successful execution of the ALC is just a stepping-stone for what they hope to accomplish for ChosunIlbo and Chosun Media at large.

A key part of ChosunIlbo’s registration growth strategy is event execution, where attendees have to be a member of Chosun.com. Historically, these have been offline events as was the case with the ALC. With Arc XP, ChosunIlbo now has the ability to execute these events online, not only live but with VOD direclty on Chosun.com, providing a whole new dimension to their growth strategy.

“The ALC has given our newsroom great confidence not only in Arc XP’s technology, but what we can now do with that technology,” said Choi. “We’re in the midst of transforming our business and Arc XP is enabling us to do that.”


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