Information System Update for a Multimedia Production Company

Customer

Harpo Productions is a major multimedia production company delivering large volumes of content via a wide variety of distribution channels (TV, print media, web sites and services). Harpo Productions' founder is American talk show host and media proprietor Oprah Winfrey.

Challenge

Our customer, Harpo Productions, has been successfully developing the Oprah Winfrey brand for more than 29 years. Every month more than three million users visit the oprah.com site and more than two million people read The Oprah Magazine.

One of the customer's prime objectives was to transform an existing set of loosely coupled web sites and services into an easily manageable, high-performance and highly scalable system. The system had to work on a single platform and make maximum use of the customer's key elements (e-mail, user directories, handling and storage of web content and media materials, generic information blocks and branded graphics).

Software Solution

Axmor formed a dedicated development center, which worked exclusively on the customer's projects. The process of setting tasks, monitoring implementation and identifying priorities was carried out in collaboration with the customer. The main development cycle, including selection of specific technical solutions, architecture design, code creation, and the first stage of testing was performed entirely by Axmor.

Java Enterprise Edition and Oracle Fusion Middleware platform were selected as the technology stack. This choice gave the advantage of deploying different sites and user services via the Oracle Portal allowing us to use common content and design elements across different contexts (public portal, registered users zone, internal applications, thematic sub-sites).

Functional Capabilities

Unified User Management System

Axmor developed a common system for access control and user, group and community management across all customer sites and services.

Marketing Campaign Tools

Axmor specialists developed modules for displaying thematic subsites and information blocks enabling permanent and seasonal marketing campaigns to be carried out more efficiently. We also established mechanisms for running user sweepstakes, contests and perks carried out by our customer and its partners. A complete promotions management cycle was implemented to assist site administrators. Features range from creating test-mode lotteries to random generator for selecting winners, and automated notification tools.

User Community

We transferred personal user diaries to the new system and created a module for administrators to work with user feedback. To make communication on the customer's sites more convenient, we added components based on Clearspace for creating thematic discussion forums, "question-answer" systems, wikis and microblogs. To avoid dependence on external hosting and traffic loss, we equipped the system with a feature allowing users to upload, transcode, and store their photos, audio and video files directly on the site. We created an easy-to-use search utility based on media type, format, size, keywords, and a wide range of other technical parameters (resolution, duration, codec etc). Axmor specialists also implemented pre-moderation options for photo, audio and video files, and the automated removal of outdated and untouched data.

Reorganizing the Media Archive

Prior to our collaboration with Harpo Productions, their media content was stored in folders of a regular file system, and the search was limited to file names. Together with the client, Axmor specialists designed and implemented a common storage and access system for photo, audio and video content - with advanced search, preview, format conversions and users segregated by roles (reporters, photographers, videographers, editors, technical experts).

Auxiliary Tools for Technical Staff

During the work process we carried out a huge number of tasks aimed at simplifying and facilitating the work of technical and administrative staff working on client’s sites and services. Axmor implemented end-to-end analytics and reporting on visits and user activity across the entire family of sites and customer services (unique hits, conversion rate, search terms etc.). For reсcurrent tasks and reports we implemented a mechanism for scheduling periodic actions. We also created tools for migrating unstructured information and media content from the old to the new system with addition of various metadata aiding categories creation and simplifying search.

Advantages We Offer

  • Axmor specialists ensured that Harpo Productions maintained maximum use of their existing system when migrating their services and sites to the new system.
  • By fine-tuning the cache for the non-personalized elements of the web interface, we were able to substantially increase the loading and rendering speeds of the pages, at the same time decreasing the load on the customer’s servers and network infrastructure.
  • Creating a secure web-based media archive management application available in all major web browsers eliminated the need to install software on employee workstations.
  • Organizing a dedicated center meant we were able to effectively distribute the workload related to the client's numerous projects. Thanks to our dedicated centre, the customer enjoyed the benefits of quick decision-making and efficient technical support.

Technologies

Data Storage & Handling
Oracle Database, Oracle Intermedia, FFmpeg, Apache Lucene
User Management
Oracle Internet Directory, Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On
User Database
ClearSpace
Development Environment
Eclipse, Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle SQL Developer

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