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Content discovery network across hundreds of blogs

Axel Springer – Football Collective

Axel Springer is one of Europe's largest media companies and Europe’s leading digital publisher. They operate an incubator for promising new ventures. The Football Collective is set to be Europe’s leading football information platform, a blog syndication network with an AI content recommender and real time ML user classifier.

Axel Springer is one of Europe's largest media companies and Europe’s leading digital publisher. They operate an incubator for promising new ventures. The Football Collective is set to be Europe’s leading football information platform, a blog syndication network with an AI content recommender and real time ML user classifier.

Problem / Opportunity

Football is a fragmented, real time market. It has a core audience of passionate fans that hunger for the latest content. That content is served largely through independent blogs, which offer great opinion, but can be one sided. To provide the whole view and give a 360 degree picture to football fans, The Football Collective wanted to syndicate all content of member blogs, classify it along multiple dimensions, track user behaviour and recommend the most suitable content hyper-personalised to each user in real time.

Innovation Team

We were engaged from the earliest phases of this venture and worked directly with the product owner, blog network manager and various publishing specialists from inside Axel Springer. We brought in our innovation specialists, Creative Director, Architect and Business Analyst who formed the innovation team. We then sketched a central content aggregator site, captured user journeys, outlined the integration story for all members in the blog network and developed content personalisation strategies.

Tech

We published the central marketing site after two iterations, built the blogger self-signup & management portal and provided the integration widget to all blogs. With all this integrated, we racked up 15M daily page views within two months. To manage this data flood we built a highly scalable micro-services architecture using service bus with NodeJS based content & tracking servers processing 10k+ concurrent requests. The data is fed into an Hadoop / big table based ML cluster and evaluated in near real time. The output drives display personalisation for all visitors to any of the network blogs. This infrastructure is able to ingest in excess of 100M+ events per day.

Impact

Axel Springer was able to launch and run the most successful football blog network in Europe. So successful in fact that it was acquired by OneFootball, the leading football publisher in Europe after just one year of operation. At its peak, it served well over 60M page views, ingesting 10k news items and classifying over 12million users per day.

Methodology FB Created with Sketch. OneFootball SOLD TO Visitor Classifier Content Recommender widget Plug N Play integration Blog Network Platform ALPHA Hack and Craft Axel Springer Team members PROJECT ROADMAP 3. Scale 2. Development 1. Ideation
Dev FB Created with Sketch. WIDGET 2 WIDGET 1 BLOG 2 BLOG 1 SPRINT 3 SPRINT 2 SPRINT 1 WIDGET CONTENT DISCOVERY STORYLINE NETWORK BLOG 3 BLOG 2 BLOG 1 Axel Springer

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