Video is a critical element of modern business strategies. Experts predict that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic. But until recently, videos have existed as large, containerized assets that are difficult to index for content-specific searches.
Australia-based Linius Technologies (Linius) has introduced a way to unlock video files, allowing its customers to expose and manipulate the flexible blocks of data within. Linius is a technology company with a mission to make the world’s videos accessible as data using its globally patented Video Virtualization Engine™ (VVE).
With the Linius VVE, companies can harness the power of data-driven video assembly to create searchable catalogs that are broken down into individual video frames. Customers such as sports broadcasters and digital rights holders can create curated video playlists on demand or define workflows to auto-generate new video clips from existing content. End users can then search for a particular event, match, or player to make their own videos from a series of clips, rather than scrolling through an entire video searching for specific content.
AWS has out-of-the-box tools that support our end-to-end media workflows and are simple to configure to our business purposes.”
CEO, Linius Technologies
Linius is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner and chose AWS to build its video virtualization platform using a microservices architecture. Chris Richardson, Chief Executive Officer at Linius Technologies, says, “AWS has out-of-the-box tools that support our end-to-end media workflows and are simple to configure to our business purposes. These tools are cost-effective and help speed up development by enabling us to short-circuit some of the processes that we would have had to build on our own to make this solution work.”
Throughout 2019–2020, Linius built three virtualized video platforms for Racing.com. Racing.com is an Australian thoroughbred racing media organization with live broadcast and on-demand video rights across its television and digital channels. Linius first developed a Replay Hub application that enables horse racing fans to create their own replay playlists based on a range of search criteria. It then helped Racing.com innovate data-driven video playlists with dynamic infographics to further enrich the user experience.
Matt Hill, Head of Product & Vision at Racing.com, says, “Videos on our site are now more user-friendly. Previously, viewers might have had to search through multiple videos to get the content they were looking for, but now they have it all at their fingertips in the form of smart playlists.” The website has boosted advertising revenue with sponsorships on new video content and has now created the opportunity to commercialize its offering through the distribution of virtualized videos to third parties.
To create curated, data-enriched playlists and ultimately an event-driven architecture, the Linius video virtualization technology was combined with tools from Racing.com’s technology stack on AWS. Racing.com uses Amazon DynamoDB as a fast, scalable NoSQL database and Amazon CloudFront as a secure content delivery network. It also deploys Amazon API Gateway to protect Racing.com’s internal application programming interfaces (APIs) from public access.
According to Racing.com’s technology and development team leaders Sreenivas Chary and Sanchit Sharma, serverless technology is key to the event-driven foundation for auto-generating video clips on Racing.com. The sports betting and broadcasting industry is characterized by extreme peaks in traffic around race time, which would normally require investments in surplus virtual machines that remain idle outside peak hours. Racing.com leveraged the Linius virtualization platform with AWS serverless tools such as AWS Step Functions for data presentation workflows and AWS Lambda to retrieve and populate data.
In addition to Replay Hub, Racing.com used Linius’ technology to enhance its Tipping Hub product. New features enable users to watch race replays for the horses selected by expert tipsters, including infographic bumpers with statistics and commentary between video clips. Since enhancing Tipping Hub across its web and mobile app in October 2020, Racing.com has doubled user engagement with this content. Tipping Hub page views reached 400,000 in March 2021 and further growth is anticipated during peak racing events.
The website has seen a consistent year-on-year increase in monthly video minutes consumed since the new product features utilizing Linius VVE went live in 2019 on Racing.com. “We’re producing 50–100 new videos a day with minimal effort, which has increased engagement with our website,” Hill says.
Linius measures user engagement by the number of personalized video minutes. During the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival—the largest event on Australia’s horse racing calendar—the number of personalized video minutes on Racing.com increased 125% from the same period the previous year, before the video virtualization site enhancements.
The third aspect of the virtualization solution is an internal Editorial Hub for Racing.com’s content team to generate new branded videos on the fly from existing assets. The solution streamlined editorial workflows so that any team member can now easily create video content with a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface. Videos can then be transferred to Racing.com’s content management system or directly published to production environments.
Racing.com’s digital producers have benefitted from having the flexibility to use existing video footage and branded bumpers to produce fresh content without adding additional resources to the team. The Editorial Hub accelerates time to market for video content and allows producers to embed curated playlists within articles on the website and mobile app.
“The ability to generate playlists on the fly and overlay them with data is quite powerful for us,” Hill says. “We’re looking to expand on what we’ve built so far, knowing that we don’t have to start from scratch every time we want to develop a new concept.”
Looking ahead, Racing.com is focused on enhancing personalization across all its digital assets. The company is exploring analytics functions to offer video recommendations based on past consumption in a bid to further drive engagement.
Meanwhile, Linius continues to build hyper-personalized video experiences for other customers in the sports industry as well as education organizations and corporate enterprises. It relies on AWS for a stable cloud foundation and will continue to leverage managed services to quickly bring innovative solutions to market that unlock the true value of video. Richardson concludes, “AWS ticks all the boxes for end-to-end microservices orchestration that fits the problem we’re trying to solve.”
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