Meeting short- and long-term sustainability goals in broadcasting
Digital content and streaming services are increasingly seeking partnerships with businesses that share their carbon reduction goals. To ensure that it meets its own carbon targets and wider sustainability goals, the leading Dutch broadcaster, RTL, is partnering with Akamai and using its highly sustainable technology, which is closely aligned with RTL’s short- and long-term mitigation strategy.
Setting ambitious goals for carbon emissions
As governments and businesses worldwide put climate change at the top of the agenda, the world’s largest broadcasters have redoubled their efforts to minimize carbon emissions. RTL is no exception. Like most global streaming companies, besides producing content that generates a lot of CO2, much of RTL’s environmental impact and energy needs come from its streaming platforms, data centers, and Wi-Fi and broadband transmissions.
In recent years, the mother company of RTL Nederland, RTL Group, which is the largest broadcaster in Europe with interests in 67 television channels, 10 streaming platforms, and 38 radio stations, made sustainability a priority. This included an ambitious strategy for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. As part of the group, RTL Nederland has already taken important steps to reach this goal and has set clear milestones between now and 2030 to ensure it remains on track.
Charles-Edouard Monier, Manager of Tech Business Planning & Insights, Ad Tech, and Sustainability at RTL, says, “We are determined to take action to help protect the environment by reducing energy use and its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and this is reflected in our drive towards using more sustainable sources of energy.”
All the energy used in RTL’s offices in The Netherlands is now 100% renewable and windbased. Lighting in its locations is, on average, 70% LED-based, with some buildings already at 100%. RTL is also replacing its company car fleet with electric vehicles. Future initiatives include offering advertisers carbon-neutral inventories and purchasing carbon credits to offset outstanding CO2 emissions.
An important aspect of RTL’s long-term sustainability strategy is reducing the carbon footprint of its supply chain, including those of its technology partners. Monier says, “As we increase sustainability throughout our supply chain, we increasingly partner with organizations that are aligned with our net-zero strategy.”
Understanding the emissions landscape is complex, but of all our technology providers, Akamai is now a key strategic partner not just for delivery and security, but also for our sustainability goals.Charles-Edouard Monier, Manager, Tech Business Planning & Insights, Ad Tech, and Sustainability, RTL
Cutting-edge technology that cuts back on carbon emissions
Akamai is one of RTL’s most important technology partners in this drive to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. The broadcaster uses the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform to distribute content to customers from local servers, increasing the availability, scalability, and security of content delivery.
The Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform is also the primary focus of Akamai’s own greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts. The company’s network operates in more than 130 countries, making life better for billions of people every day. But with 92% of its GHGs generated by this network, Akamai works nonstop to find new ways to mitigate these emissions.
These mitigations include software and hardware efficiencies, responsible e-waste management, and the use of attested renewable energy wherever possible, in partnership with data center providers. Akamai also secures net-new renewable power to offset its global electricity load.
“We were very impressed by how advanced Akamai was in its emission mitigation efforts,” says Monier. “Understanding the emissions landscape is complex, but of all our technology providers, Akamai is now a key strategic partner not just for delivery and security, but also for our sustainability goals.”
In day-to-day operations, Akamai lifts the weight from the shoulders of the RTL operations team. “Akamai ensures that we manage data traffic smoothly, especially during the peaks of user demand,” says Peter Mook, Operations Engineer at RTL. “It means that my team can focus on adding strategic value to the business rather than monitoring our wider digital broadcast infrastructure, including energy consumption and the carbon footprint.”
A sustainable strategy, whatever the weather
A good example of the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform in action is RTL’s popular weather app, Buienradar, which gives users a comprehensive overview of the weather in their location at the click of a button. The app has an average of 4 million unique monthly users and 10 million users on the web in The Netherlands.
Mook says, “The Akamai platform offers us a lot of advanced options to ensure the users of our weather app receive the best experience, and it’s built in a way that helps us to drive our sustainability efforts too.”
RTL will improve the carbon footprint further by planting a tree for every 50th subscriber to the Buienradar premium service, called “Buienradar Plus.” “It’s a good example of how we apply sustainability at every level of the service, from technology providers to the forest and nature management organizations that work with us to plant the trees,” says Mook.
For Monier, there’s another reason to put sustainability at the heart of RTL’s business strategy. “A more responsible approach makes us attractive to new hires and existing employees. We also know that customers and advertisers increasingly base purchasing and viewing decisions on the sustainable policies of broadcasters. With Akamai’s help, we can maintain a leadership position in this space.”
What’s impressed us with Akamai is the granularity of their data and the extent to which they will be able to support us on our mission to provide consumers with transparent information and maintain strong relationships with other commercial partners.Charles-Edouard Monier, Manager, Tech Business Planning & Insights, Ad Tech, and Sustainability, RTL
Reducing CO2 emissions, increasing the detail of data
For the future, Monier is looking beyond CO2 emissions and is strategizing how RTL can further reduce its total energy consumption as well as provide more granular information about sustainability, which consumers increasingly expect from retailers and service providers.
“If you open your bank application, or if you buy a product at the supermarket, you have very detailed data about the volume of CO2 they generate. In the coming years, it will be the same for media and digital communities,” he says. “What’s impressed us with Akamai is the granularity of their data and the extent to which they will be able to support us on our mission to provide consumers with transparent information and maintain strong relationships with other commercial partners.”
About RTL Nederland
With five linear TV channels, RTL NL is the leading TV player with the biggest market share in the Netherlands. Various digital activities, such as Buienradar and Videoland, make the company one of the largest players in the digital market. RTL Nederland is a 100% subsidiary of RTL Group, Europe’s largest TV, radio, and production company. RTL Group is 75.1 percent owned by Bertelsmann, a large international media group. Sister companies of RTL Group are the publishers Penguin Random House and Gruner + Jahr, music company BMG and customer service provider Arvato. www.rtl.nl
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