“Metal Toad was a true partner in every way. Their managerial partnership unified an array of disparate business units to produce a single strategic vision. And their consultation was instrumental in marrying our business goals with the right tech solutions. They designed best-in-class architecture that will solve not only our immediate needs—but also position us for rapid growth and innovation going forward.”
—Heather Field, Executive Director of Digital Content at Fox (Film, TV and Sports)
Business problem: Metadata management entanglement
The Fox Corporation entertainment enterprise is a powerhouse of properties, producing and distributing video content across a vast array of channels. Over the years, acquisitions and mergers have further expanded Fox’s family of brands—and its reach across the globe.
But along with that expanding domain came a problem endemic to M&E enterprises throughout the industry: a slew of fragmented processes and systems for metadata management, as well as disjointed online video platforms for broadcast, streaming, and video on demand (VOD). The result: inefficiency, quality-control issues, and barriers to innovation. Fox needed a transformation to streamline operations, maximize efficiency, and optimize coordination.
Enter the Fox Mississippi initiative: a plan to align all business units with a single holistic solution. Fox came to Metal Toad in search of such a system, focused on solving three key business problems:
- Expensive and redundant licensing of varied online video platforms—all using different, incompatible standards and approaches to video workflow
- Inconsistent, error-prone metadata practices—that impacted both operational efficiency, advertiser value, and viewer experience
- A tangle of disparate, inflexible legacy systems—which slowed down operations and made it difficult to launch new, personalized products
Strategic discovery: Untangling the knot of live and VOD platforms
Metal Toad was a natural partner in realizing the vision of the One Fox initiative. We helmed a large-scale strategic discovery project focused on Fox’s entire tech ecosystem and methodologies for metadata management, online video platforms, and VOD.
The result: a detailed plan for a new master data metadata schema and a revolutionary cloud-first video management platform to enable seamless distribution of video across the Fox family of brands and content channels.
The system encompasses three key pillars that overcome Fox’s challenges:
- Metadata management foundation
- Adds robust automation to reduce manual data entry and errors
- Integrates metadata and video workflows to optimize efficiency
- Enables flexibility to support innovation and capitalize on new business opportunities
- Aligned online video platform
- Reduces licensing costs for both VOD and live broadcasts
- Reduces friction in user experience across channels
- Promotes user content sharing across apps
- Seamless, cloud-first video management system
- Creates stickier user experiences, including personalization and related content linking
- Shifts from inflexible linear models to dynamic event-based models
- Streamlines content-delivery infrastructure for improved operations and viewer experience
Tech solution: A holistic cloud video platform
The new platform will replace legacy systems with a solution that unifies viewer experience and aligns operations across the enterprise.
- Agile workflows built on a common set of cloud-native AWS services
- Flexible distribution, from video ingest through encode and delivery—including clipping, captioning, QC, and more
- Holistic delivery of linear streaming, VOD, and digital exclusives across all apps, websites, and partner channels
- A service-oriented API model that delivers efficient user experience for operators and editors managing linear and non-linear transcoding, real-time switching, instant VOD creation, complex feed management, various advertising strategies, and advanced event operations
- AWS data lake architecture to ingest, transform, and store metadata in a single flexible repository
Impact: Metadata management mastery
Fox now has in hand the detailed plan they need to make Fox Mississippi a reality. Metal Toad’s discovery project delivered user personals, stories, and journeys that map a highly engaged and profitable viewer experience—along with the technical architecture, governance, and metadata schema required to implement this revolutionary system across the enterprise.
As Fox moves forward with implementation, they project that the new system, once built, will return a host of tangible, long-term benefits, including:
- A projected 85% reduction in metadata schemas, transforming operational effectiveness and increasing reliability
- Highly personalized user experiences that drive increased engagement and profitability across channels
- Automated and scalable workflows that drive operational efficiency and enable faster launch of new business initiatives
By partnering with Metal Toad, Fox was able to leverage our team’s deep knowledge of the latest cloud innovations and AWS ecosystem. This expertise delivered the strategic insights necessary to solve not only Fox’s immediate pain points, but to also lay the groundwork for the long-term metadata management and an online video platform to propel ongoing innovation.