Presspublica needed to upgrade an increasingly popular video-content website that was quickly exceeding the company’s web capacity. Instead of investing in an on-premises infrastructure, Presspublica deployed a rebuilt website by using Windows Azure cloud computing resources. Now the company has enhanced the user experience on its website and broadened its audience.
Presspublica, based in Warsaw, Poland, publishes news and information in several formats: a weekly magazine; three newspapers, including Rzeczpospolita, one of the leading daily newspapers in Poland; and multiple news websites. In 2009, Presspublica launched a website called tv.rp.pl to present all the video material created by journalists at Rzeczpospolita. The publisher developed the site using the same content management system that it had used for the main Rzeczpospolita website (rp.pl).
The videos built an audience faster than Presspublica anticipated, and site traffic at tv.rp.pl quickly threatened to outstrip the system’s capacity. ”The videos were becoming increasingly popular, and the technology did not meet our needs,” says Natalia Węgrzyn, Director at tv.rp.pl. “To update the site we had to copy and paste fragments of the code, which was very time-consuming. And users had problems with low transfer speeds when they tried to watch longer videos.”
||We used Windows Azure to create something unique. This is an example of how Presspublica uses new technologies to benefit its customers and realize its business goals.
IT Director, Presspublica
Presspublica wanted a website that offered fast access to large files and advanced functionality such as video tagging, automatic display of related content, and comment and rating tools. At the same time, the publisher wanted to maintain high site availability, make it easier for site editors to manage content, and safeguard data from loss. The company also wanted a website that it could deploy quickly and that would be flexible enough to expand easily as tv.rp.pl grew. ”The main business goal of the project was to create a new, easier to use, and more open version of the tv.rp.pl website, which would attract more users,” says Artur Sawicki, IT Director at Presspublica. “It was a serious challenge from an IT point of view.”Solution
Instead of making a significant capital investment in an on-premises infrastructure, Presspublica decided to rebuild the tv.rp.pl website using cloud computing resources hosted in off-site data centers and delivered as services over the Internet.
The company worked with Insys—a member of the Microsoft Partner Network—to deploy a rebuilt website and content management system dedicated to video support by using Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment. Windows Azure provides on-demand compute, storage, networking, and content delivery capabilities through Microsoft data centers.
The Insys team in Poznań, Poland, helped Presspublica build the website by using Microsoft ASP.NET, HTML 5, and the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in. By powering the website with the vast computing and storage resources in Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure, Presspublica is confident that the site will be continuously available worldwide and viewable with any Internet browser. The site also has the capacity to deliver any size video file quickly with the full range of features that the company wanted.
In just three weeks, Presspublica rebuilt the website and content management system, and the publisher launched a beta version of the upgraded tv.rp.pl site in January 2011. ”We have launched only a beta version and the site already has all the necessary functions,” says Węgrzyn. “We can deliver high-quality videos, and we no longer experience problems with slow transfer rates. Users can rate and comment on videos, and we have integrated tv.rp.pl with Facebook.”Benefits
By delivering the rebuilt tv.rp.pl using cloud services, Presspublica enhanced the user experience and functionality on its website. The publisher also improved content management, development capabilities, and data protection, while demonstrating its technology leadership and broadening its audience.
High Availability, Better Site Experience
By using the globally distributed computing assets of the Windows Azure platform, which guarantees 99.9 percent availability
, Presspublica is delivering the same level of service to tv.rp.pl users all over the world. Site visitors enjoy fast access to large files and can play and skip fragments of videos, which used to slow or even stop content transmission.
”What is more, we can now interact with users by means of comments to videos and easy search options,” says Piotr Kropiński, Director of Websites at Presspublica.Enhanced Content Management, Development, Data Protection
Presspublica now has an upgraded system for adding new site material that is dedicated to video content. “With the intuitive interface in the content management system, we can save time and add features such as links between videos,” says Kropiński.
Because Presspublica can add Windows Azure computing resources as it needs them, it can expand tv.rp.pl quickly and without a high capital investment, enhancing options for further development and reducing costs of development and maintenance of the website. And Presspublica can safeguard data from loss because content stored on Windows Azure is replicated three times, making it much more fault tolerant. Technology Leadership
The tv.rp.pl website is one of the first sites in central Europe powered by cloud technology, and Presspublica is among the first companies in Poland to use such innovative technology solutions. “We used Windows Azure to create something unique,” says Sawicki. ”This is an example of how Presspublica uses new technologies to benefit its customers and realize its business goals.”
In the first full month of the upgraded website’s operation, Presspublica saw a marked increase in site visitors. Unique users increased from 52,000 in December 2010 to 100,000 by February 2011, and returning visitors increased from 15,800 to 21,000 during the same period.
“Undoubtedly, the website is more popular since we launched the rebuilt tv.rp.pl with Windows Azure,” says Kropiński. “The 100,000 unique users we had in February 2011 was the highest number in the history of the website. And the increased number of returning visitors indicates a positive reception to the changes we made.”
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