Integrated Platform Improves Profitability for Major Sports Media Provider

Client Background

This company maintains one of the largest networks of independent, localized and team microsites focused on a variety of high school, college and professional sports. It was acquired by an interactive media services leader comprised of multiple sports media groups that wanted to bring this extensive network of online sports content to their user base. 

Business Problem

The Company has 4 to 5 million site visitors monthly, with an average of 500,000 unique visitors daily, making it one of the most read independent sports publishers in the country. To continually provide this customer base with the latest in sports information, the Company’s network of writers and content developers publish approximately 1,100 pieces a month across its more than 250 microsites. Following the merger with the major interactive media services provider, business leaders wanted to leverage this leading premium content model to create a better user experience and grow their overall customer base.

The Company decided to integrate its application infrastructure with the larger provider’s platform in order to consolidate management of the various sites in an architecture that would allow for simplified sharing of content. Business leaders also wanted to implement a new eCommerce application that would allow for expanded types and quantities of premium website subscriptions in order to better harness and leverage the premium content being delivered through these sites and ultimately improve profitability. Further, following the closure of an internal engineering office, the Business wanted to partner with an outside third party to manage the overall initiative and provide best practices knowledge and recommendations to ensure a successful, innovative solution – all while keeping project and maintenance costs down. 

Solution

The major media provider had previously undertaken an initiative to enable software as a service by working with Prolifics to build the microsites for its various sport and local channels on a single platform. As part of this initiative, Prolifics experts developed a new web content management system for the Provider, utilizing JBoss, Java, ASP .NET, and Oracle 10G RAC, to allow for centralized content management and sharing. In order to ensure that the solution was optimized for the Company’s needs, Prolifics performed an extensive analysis of consumer behavior to define segment-based premium content for the integrated website without eroding the existing subscription base. The portal solution led to substantial increases in the Business’s subscription base and advertising revenues, consolidating its standing as a top player in digital sports programming.

Building on this successful partnership, the media services provider called on Prolifics to migrate the newly acquired company’s .NET platform to their recently integrated platform and enable eCommerce capabilities to expand revenue opportunities, as well as provide ongoing application and infrastructure maintenance.

Leveraging a global, onshore and offshore delivery model, Prolifics experts worked closely with the acquired company’s team to migrate their infrastructure over to the Business’s environment. The Prolifics 

team then analyzed the platform and designed a new architecture, built on customizations to the Open Source software CRE Loaded and Akamai, that could support the desired eCommerce system. This new architecture delivers greater flexibility for site editors to create rules that determine the types of premium content that subscribers can access versus the content that is available to all visitors.

The team also enabled remote subscriber authorization using the Akami integration. Site authorization for the premium content is passed through the main Provider’s Akami instance to be validated, guaranteeing that only the right people have access to the right premium content based on their subscription levels. Another critical component of the new eCommerce solution was ensuring PCI compliance. Prolifics experts developed and integrated an Akami-hosted solution into the Chase Payment Gateway, enabling secure payment processing, allowing for seamless subscription auto-renewals and safeguarding critical customer payment information.

With the acquired company now on the leading provider’s integrated web content management platform, publishers can rapidly write, cross-reference, distribute and syndicate stories and information about sports from anywhere in the world. This provides online subscribers access to the latest sports news in real time, strengthening the Company’s commitment to provide its users premium content, enabling it to better handle a growing subscriber base and maintaining its unique position as the premier source for digital sports materials. Additionally, with a secure and reliable eCommerce solution in place, not only can the Business ensure PCI compliance, but subscribers can feel confident that their financial information is secure.