For diehard football fans everywhere, COPA90 is “How Football Feels.” That tagline says it all: As the world’s largest independent football media business, COPA90 reaches millions of fans and followers across a multitude of online platforms and social media channels. Unlike traditional rights holders that stream live matches, COPA90 focuses on the world of fan culture – serving up a rich helping of content ranging from chats with favourite footballers and in-depth documentaries to amazing animations and explainers about the biggest stories in the game.
LARGE-SCALE CONTENT CHALLENGES
In its role as a content creator and publisher, COPA90 has amassed a tremendous volume of content over the years – close to 350 terabytes representing millions of individual video assets. Content was formerly stored on many different types of disconnected repositories ranging from portable hard drives to individual Google Drive and Dropbox accounts. With storage so fragmented, COPA90 editorial teams didn’t have a comprehensive means of searching on and discovering specific types of content.
“As we started to scale the business, we realized we needed a more effective way of managing our content assets to keep us as agile as possible,” says Barry Flanigan, chief product officer at COPA90.
“Job number one was to get our hugely valuable content archive into a secure cloud system, where it could be organized, intelligently tagged, and made instantly accessible to our editorial teams around the world. And job number two was to make it fast and easy for those teams to publish that content across our distributed media network, including our own websites and social platforms and those of our distribution partners, broadcasters, and OTT platforms.”
COPA90 explored various traditional Media Asset Management (MAM) options, including “rolling their own” in-house solution, but in the end decided to move to a 100% cloud-native MAM system. In addition to near-instant search, access, use, and distribution of targeted content, the COPA90 team felt that the cloud would offer greater security and system redundancy for protecting content assets.
A TEAM EFFORT
With those objectives in mind, COPA90 chose base – to deliver an end-to-end, multicloud solution based on best-of-breed technologies. With base providing Cloud Object Storage, the system incorporates cloud-native enterprise asset management. In addition, the cloud MAM system drives a branded white-label portal for management, delivery, and monetization – including the optional e-commerce functionality to license content to media partners around the world.
In record time – a little more than four weeks – the team completed the first phases of the project. All 350 terabytes of data were securely backed up and migrated to the cloud, and each asset was indexed and tagged with rich metadata to facilitate fast and easy search and retrieval and delivery to COPA90’s global platforms.
Ben Foakes, founder and managing director of base, comments,
“Typically, old-fashioned MAM projects are notorious for taking months and years and millions of dollars to complete. But with automation built into the Media Hub applications, we were able to build the multicloud MAM solution on time and on budget. And since this is a pay-as-you-go, software-as-a-service cloud solution, it will scale very easily as COPA90’s content continues to grow.”
“It’s early days with the AI features, but our vision is to deliver tailored content to individual fans on the device of their choosing, based on their location, the teams they support, and the types of content they have interacted with previously. That requires outstanding metadata enriched by AI, and an automated process that goes beyond what our human editors can accomplish.”
With aiWARE , COPA90 will be able to automate content tagging and apply rich metadata that incorporates features like facial recognition, object detection, and automatic content/image classification.
“The ability to surface tailored content to fans automatically is just one huge advantage of rich metadata. The aiWARE platform will also make it much easier to find and reuse assets with specific items appearing in the shot; for instance, we have a huge volume of content shot over the years at exotic locations around the world with specific football stadiums in the background,” Flanigan notes. “Unless the editor specifically tagged the content with the name of the stadium, it would be really difficult to find that content. But with AI-driven tagging, we’ll be able to search and access these assets in an instant and use them to add even more color to our coverage.”
DEVELOPING NEW REVENUE OPPORTUNITIES
As a front end for content search, access, and retrieval, the Media Hub is already in use internally by the COPA90 team to create playlists and aggregate content for editorial teams around the world. As a next step, COPA90 is working with base to build out the portal as a “shop window” for the types of content that can be licensed to specific distribution partners, including large media outlets.
“We’ve recognized that this huge volume of content that we’ve created over the years is actually a commercial product in its own right, with huge new potential for monetization,” Flanigan says. “We already get inbound requests from people such as broadcasters, filmmakers, and documentarians for specific clips, and now we see opportunities to create and market even more robust licensing products to our large media partners.”
He adds, “The Media Hub will make it possible for us to organize the assets and then make it quick and easy for people to come in and access the content they’re looking for, under the terms of a commercial, marketing, or editorial relationship. And one of the great things about the Media Hub is the built in flexible terms that give different partners different types of access, based on their requirements and the specific license.”
CONCLUSION: BORN TO THE CLOUD
To date, COPA90 has migrated around half a petabyte of high-resolution media files to the multicloud MAM platform, launched international content distribution services, and enabled global file sharing between their London- and New York-based production teams representing hundreds of staff members. COPA90 is forecasting petabyte-scale growth in video assets – an expansion rate that simply would not have been achievable if they had chosen to build a traditional on- premises MAM infrastructure.
“Our long-term goal is to get our content on as many screens as possible around the world,” Flanigan notes.
“The exciting thing about the FIFA World Cup last June (2018) was that it showed us how much we could achieve by moving our content assets to the cloud – and we could innovate in the realm of content publishing for a major worldwide sporting event.”
He adds that just before the football tournament, COPA90 launched a new service in China with help from a local partner that translates videos into Mandarin and assists with publication of content to the largest Chinese social media platforms. By August, COPA90 had generated more than a million new followers in China.
“Our Chinese launch is a brilliant example of how the multicloud MAM allows us to publish content in English and then make the project immediately available for localization in another language. They’re not just slapping on Mandarin subtitles – they have all the layers of the project, which enables them to recut and re-edit the video to make it relevant to Chinese fans,” Flanigan explains. “Trying to do something like that without the cloud would have been an incredibly clunky process of moving files around. And the end product would not have been as good because it would have been more difficult for the local partner to access the raw files needed for the localization.”
Working with base has opened new horizons for COPA90 to expand its business, reach new global markets, and respond nimbly with exciting, fan-pleasing content for every major happening in the global football world.
“With our business built on scalable, flexible cloud-native technology, the sky’s the limit,” Flanigan says.