Kick-off for synergies

How soccer unites a news portal and a set-top-box TV offering

Bluewin is the second largest news site in Switzerland. The company started out as an internet provider and like many providers they set the start page of the installed browser (bluewin.ch) and offer an email address (@bluewin.ch). The brand belongs to Swisscom, the largest telecom enterprise in Switzerland.

Goals

  • Speed up news agency imports and publishing
  • Enhance editing options of the newsroom
  • Publish to news portal, e-mail client and Swisscom TV

Results

  • Instant publishing and 1000 article imports per day
  • New formats like long-form and enriched sports offering
  • FIFA world cup on Swisscom TV set-top devices

The Challenge

The newsroom faced the challenge that editors were unhappy with their current system, Adobe CQ5. The system caused huge lags in its setup, keeping editors waiting for minutes before an article could be published. In addition, they imported a lot of articles from news agencies and once the importer was running hot (about twice a day) the whole system could become unresponsive for up to 30 minutes, leaving editors idling around waiting for timeouts to cease. All in all, a lot of productivity was lost.

Livingdocs first came to Bluewin’s attention at Pirates Hub, the innovation hub of Swisscom. A first pitch was organized. Seeing the components move around on the page in real-time, content being edited inline and published in a matter of milliseconds, Bluewin’s head of portal was hooked. In the summer of 2016, he asked Livingdocs to implement a proof of concept for the TV&Entertainment section of bluewin.ch.

Kick-off

The Livingdocs team delivered. Not only did the TV section work seamlessly within Livingdocs. On top, Livingdocs incorporated an improved design that Bluewin’s designer Ron had in mocks for over a year but was never able to apply to the live page. So together, we decided to take the brave step and suggest a replacement of Adobe CQ5 within Swisscom’s large organization that was just about to harmonize systems towards Adobe.

Unsurprisingly, a large enterprise such as Swisscom proceeded with caution. But within a couple of months, we won a growing group of Livingdocs supporters at Swisscom, strong enough to make the change happen.

At the beginning, supporting Bluewin was quite a challenge. At that point, Livingdocs was a system geared towards newspaper publishing, still lacking some of the functionality a portal required. We built an automatic importer queue that could easily handle 1000 news agency articles per day backed by sophisticated rule sets to automatically place, cross-link and advertise the content on the page. Timed scheduling and push notifications were incorporated as well.

Moreover, the portal faced another challenge that we were to help with. Bluewin needed to shift its business model, as it relied heavily on ads and margins in the ad market were shrinking. What we developed together is a novelty in the German speaking news world and to our knowledge world-wide. Read on.

A well played long ball

Swisscom provides the biggest set-top box TV offer for end-users in Switzerland. They managed to acquire the rights for a great sports program, with UHD transmission of the FIFA soccer World Cup and full rights on all games of the UEFA Champions League among others. Sports is becoming a major driver for Swisscom TV.

And that is exactly where the Bluewin news desk came in. Swisscom envisioned a system that uses Bluewin’s editorial content to enrich and highlight the Swisscom TV sport offerings. They called it content dossiers. The benefit is mutual: Bluewin gets a completely new business model by increasing TV subscriptions and Swisscom TV gets an edge over other OTT and internet-TV providers such as Netflix with innovative editorial content.

Extra time

Bluewin is now productively using Livingdocs since January 2018 across all three newsrooms in the German, French and Italian speaking parts of Switzerland. The software for the Swisscom TV dossiers was launched on May 23 2018 and it will be fully visible to all Swisscom TV subscribers starting with the soccer World Cup in Russia on June 14. And our journey with Swisscom continues: In autumn the UEFA Champions League will start with lots of great content offerings and Bluewin has a whole bag full of ideas to bring sport news in Switzerland to the next level.