Hey, Presto! Drupal drives personalized media experience for Foxtel Video-on-Demand Customers
Foxtel, one of Australia’s largest media companies, is using Drupal to power individual experiences for its video-on-demand service, Presto--one of the top-three VOD services in the country. Drupal provides Foxtel advantages in the management of vast amounts of content, and enables personalization while accelerating time-to-market for new features in an arena where speed, flexibility, and minimal disruption are paramount.
Presto offers movies and TV shows from Foxtel’s extensive international catalog as well as programming from one of Australia’s largest commercial free-to-air stations: Channel 7. The service is similar to other premium streaming video services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix (the latter now launched in Australia and regarded as a major competitor).
Drupal speeds content deployment and efficiency
This kind of entertainment service only succeeds when customers can interact with new content presented according to their personal preferences; and when the service can be continuously improved over time as new functionality is needed to meet the demands of tomorrow’s consumer media landscape. Before switching to Drupal in 2015, Foxtel’s video-on-demand platform suffered from slowdowns that negatively affected the customer experience and the company’s own ability to maintain an engaging service. This was reflected in poor customer recruitment and retention numbers.
One example of the challenges Foxtel’s previous platform presented to the Presto team: in order to change any text on the site, developers had to do full code releases. That is, release the entire site all over again for any change, no matter how small. Add one film to the catalog? Release the whole site. Fix a spelling error? Release the whole site. Having to do code deployments even to make simple changes was costly in terms of time, money and flexibility; as well as being fraught with risk. Drupal gave Foxtel all the tools it needed to enable non-technical site administrators to tweak the site, make basic changes, add new programs, and create and release promotional content whenever they need to.
Migration and feature expansion with Drupal
Australian Drupal service provider, Technocrat, migrated the service to Drupal in just three months and released the new version in early 2015. Foxtel was able to present users with a newly streamlined and customizable interface in time for Netflix’s launch in Australia. Porting the service to Drupal was a success, with many significant benefits for Foxtel and its Presto video-on-demand customers:
- Foxtel gained valuable flexibility and quick editorial turnaround, as well as the new ability to easily integrate promotional content into their web app. Using Drupal, Presto’s administrators can now create entire landing pages in a matter of minutes.
- Users now have a completely personalized experience. New account settings enable them to see information on their watchlist like how much of a particular program they have left to watch, or what content they are entitled to access.
- Users now shape the service and its community. Technocrat added community forums, encouraging discussion not only of new media among users, but also suggestions for site tools and the interface experience itself, improving customer retention.
Decoupling: powered by Drupal
Many parts of the Presto user experience are personalized and need on-the-fly updating. Technocrat chose to use Angular.js--a highly efficient and dynamic front end toolset--as a decoupled front end application to meet this need. Viewing habits are changing and Presto is now available via native app for smartphones and tablets, the Presto website, and more. Presto’s content editors needed to be able to combine custom content with content retrieved from other sources and API’s or web services to make landing pages and other features for the service, on any device a viewer chooses to use. Drupal is the perfect content management engine to tie together various backend processes and data sources and feed the Angular-powered site with the content it needed, when it needed it. The end result is a more engaging and interactive customer experience on Presto.
“We delivered a powerful page management system that combines custom data with content and functionality provided by the various Presto API’s. Drupal is the perfect technology conduit. Nothing comes close to the power of Drupal to bring technologies together!” - Michelle Stevens, Foxtel Experience Management
More, happier customers on new platform
Before the move to Drupal, the clunky customer experience led to a high rate of customer attrition that worked to undermine new sign-up numbers. Since the redesign and rebuild, Presto has reversed the trend and the site has seen a significant increase in sign-ups at the same time as more customers are becoming regulars and sticking with the service.
Foxtel’s own experience with the site has also dramatically improved. Where they couldn’t previously integrate promotional content into the site without a significant draw on scarce developer resources, the new site is flexible and customizable on a continuous basis. With the ability to change site copy without significant code modifications, Foxtel can maintain the up-to-date look and feel of the site without the disruptive downtime inflicted by previous changes. In particular, campaign sites and extended media information can be published faster, making both Foxtel and its Presto users much more satisfied with their investments.
Foxtel initially engaged Australian Drupal agency Technocrat to build a Drupal marketing front end for Presto. Based on the success of that project, Technocrat was engaged to refactor and extend the entire Presto web app using Drupal.
Technocrat is a Drupal agency that covers the full project lifecycle from strategy, UX, and design, all the way through to development, implementation, and support.