Building Market Share Through Video
Learn how Brightcove uses Drupal, Acquia Search and the Acquia Network to build and operate their website and customer communities.
From entertainment to promotional and educational media, watching video has become a central part of the online experience. With a client list of household brands, Brightcove has been the standard for commercial online video publishing and distribution since 2004. Brightcove has built its business on turning video distribution into measurable business growth. Brightcove’s success can be attributed to a turnkey approach to uploading and distributing video, and the ability to monetize video distribution using analytics, promotional, and PR services.
The Need for Social Publishing
Like many organizations that seek out social publishing systems to manage their websites, Brightcove’s challenges were brought on in part by its own success. The Brightcove system of sites includes a primary corporate site (www.brightcove.com), as well as support, developer, and community portals. The architecture for these sites was decentralized, utilizing a combination of internally developed and third party systems. While there were ample opportunities for content to be repurposed across several of these sites, the manual nature of managing content made this difficult.
From a management perspective, the upkeep of these sites was intensive, redundant and costly. The high bar for custom web programming expertise resulted in a content bottleneck. For example, software engineers would pass their documentation and updates to a designated content manager for the site, who was responsible for uploading content. Their homegrown architecture demanded specific hosting requirements, resulting in substantial hardware costs.
Improving the user experience was also recognized as an opportunity to adopt a web content management system. Content was not organized efficiently, with confusing page addresses. Search tools were underperforming, and aside from a modest message board application, there was no social component for visitors to actively contribute content.
One of the most pressing challenges was localization of content. As a leader in global online media distribution, Brightcove enjoys a global customer community. Because of the manual, siloed nature of the site architecture, the ability to internationalize the framework was limited – essentially requiring a duplication of effort for each localized version of content. With so many logistical barriers imposed by their current framework, Brightcove decided to seek out a CMS solution that could meet these challenges.
The Move to Drupal
Brightcove realized that a social publishing platform was the only sustainable solution to these problems; the next step was finding the right technology. Brightcove examined the spectrum of content management and social publishing solutions available, from proprietary, traditional software packages, to open-source platforms. Both extremes posed risks; traditional software would incur substantial licensing and maintenance costs, while open source approaches had steep learning curves, and seemingly lacked the support of traditional software products.
As Brightcove investigated open-source social publishing platform Drupal, several factors made it a clear front-runner. Drupal boasted a broad array of functionality, with over 4,000 modules available to extend Brightcove web properties in any direction. The developer community generating these modules was also very active. Drupal also had the answer to several of Brightcove’s pressing challenges – including localization, user generated content, and the ability to move to lower cost, cloud-based servers.
While Drupal provided an abundance of resources to construct a new architecture, Brightcove wanted to make sure that support and services were available to augment what the Drupal community already provides. These concerns were answered by Acquia, a commercial open source company dedicated to supporting Drupal implementations. Founded by Dries Buytaert, the original creator and lead of the Drupal project, Acquia provides products, consulting, and technical support. By working with Acquia on the Drupal implementation, Brightcove realized it could enjoy the cost savings, flexibility and innovation of an open-source technology, while having the security of dedicated support from Drupal subject matter experts.
Planning and Implementation
Leveraging internal developers, Acquia consultants, and a contract developer recommended by Acquia, Brightcove’s Drupal implementation strategy began to take shape. Acquia offers Acquia Drupal, a packaged set of Drupal technology for a quick on ramp to Drupal. Acquia Drupal includes Drupal core code and an essential set of other modules designed to deploy sites quickly and to ease in site maintenance. In addition, Acquia provided the Acquia Search technology for site wide faceted search. With the help of Acquia, Brightcove was able to filter the thousands of available
modules and select 35 community-contributed modules that best met their needs. With the help of the Acquia recommended developer, Brightcove built 6 custom modules.
Through effective planning and training, the Brightcove development team was able to plan, build, and launch their entire phase 1 implementation within 2 months time, with only 30 days of actual production.
Lead Web Architect, Eric Johnson, cites the role that Acquia played in Brightcove’s rapid development progress: “Acquia contributed to our rapid deployment in several important ways. The Acquia package of Drupal core and modules gave us a better starting point and direction. They got us on the right track, by helping select mature, reliable modules that met our needs, and recommending a search utility that surpassed our expectations. Acquia also provided the support to negotiate development challenges.”
Brightcove’s Drupal Sites
Phase 1 implementation was focused on meeting the most mission critical needs, including the corporate, developer and support sites. Through Acquia Drupal, Brightcove engineers can post technical content and documentation directly and more efficiently. Brightcove cites a productivity increase of 150% in publishing and distributing content, due to the fact that this process no longer requires web programming expertise. Consequently, managing the sites is a much easier task for the Brightcove web development team. Content can now be intelligently reused and reapplied across various Brightcove sites. This also provides the team with room to start moving forward with phase 2 of their Drupal implementation.
Moving away to an open standard architecture enabled more cost effective server hosting options; Brightcove realized a 90% savings on hosting costs, simply from changing their hosting environment; which wasn’t an option in their previous homegrown environment.
For Brightcove site visitors, the switch to Drupal has brought a more satisfying experience. Content can be presented more thoroughly, based on relevance, for more effective site navigation. The integrated Acquia Search functionality translates to visitors spending less time searching, and more time consuming the content they want on Brightcove sites.
Jeff Whatcott, SVP of Marketing, explains how Acquia helped his company reap the benefits of Drupal: “While Drupal offered the potential for great things, Acquia brought the assurance of success. With so many top brands in our client list, we needed to reduce or eliminate factors that could put our project at risk. Acquia was there from the start, and provides the security we needed to embrace the benefits of an open- source web platform.”
As of the writing of this case study, Brightcove has finished phase 1 and are currently in the planning stages of phase 2, which will make a major push into social publishing and content management. This second phase includes full, automated internationalization and localization, and moving all blogs and forums over to the Drupal platform. Brightcove is looking at integrating support and CRM platforms with Drupal. Brightcove is also starting to participate in the Drupal community to make it easier to incorporate Brightcove-hosted video content in Drupal environments.
Acquia helps organizations of all sizes build social publishing websites quickly, easily and with a lower total cost of ownership by leveraging Drupal, the open source social publishing platform that blends content and community. Our products, services and support enable companies to leverage the power, technical innovation and economic value of Drupal while simplifying the experience, removing the complexity and minimizing the risk. Please visit: http://acquia.com. Download Acquia Drupal, the completely free Drupal distribution, at http://acquia.com/downloads.
- Confusing and frustrating user experience
- Extensive web programming demands consumed resources
- Site innovations were sidelined
- Internationalization & localization were impossible
- Hosting costs were substantial
- 90% reduction in hosting costs
- Ability to localize content
- Powerful search tools are integrated into site navigation