As part of a an overall technology refresh, TV4 wanted to improve the management of metadata coming back from its external supplier at the same time as avoiding point-to-point integrations.
TV4 started by conducting an analysis together with Mediasmiths with the two companies collaborating on creating a vision for what the solution should become. Crucially, the vision also included what problems the solution should not attempt to solve.
The vision involved having a centralised metadata broker that would be able to store metadata from many sources and then serve it to consumers in a standardised way.
“We knew we needed a new delivery approach for our integrations and our collaboration with Mediasmiths helped us create a vision that provided clear direction and reduced risk in a way that was new to us”
The Metabank is now on its fifth major release and serves programme metadata and scheduling information to business critical systems at TV4, including the press information system, EPG exports to operators, the external ad sales platform and the TV4’s online video platform.
Collaborative Implementation With Continuous Improvements
Before implementation started a road map was developed that contained prioritised functionality that could be re-prioritised as business needs evolved. A set of explicit exclusions were also created to communicate the purpose of the system and avoid the risk of scope creep and drift.
The first step of the implementation was to create RESTful interfaces around a legacy metadata system.
The new interfaces fetched metadata from the legacy system and presented it using a new data model developed by TV4 and Mediasmiths. This way a big bang decommissioning of the legacy system could be avoided and applications gradually shifted to the new interfaces.
The backend services were then gradually expanded to include more of the metadata model and associated images as well as increasing the number of operations that the Metabank exposed.
The Metabank implementation has been built through a truly collaborative approach using developers from Mediasmiths and TV4 working side by side. Each iteration has brought incremental steps of improvement and reduced the risks associated with making changes.
“Mediasmiths have given us an open platform that we are free to extend in any way we want and we choose to stay with Mediasmiths as our main supplier thanks to the collaborative approach they provide and their understanding of our needs and business drivers”
The Metabank currently handles over 250,000 weekly metadata updates to over 160,000 programme metadata records, with nearly 600,000 associated publication events and 70,000 images.
“The Metabank bridges the metadata domains of linear broadcasting and online publishing in a way that most broadcast systems can’t”
In February 2015 the fifth and major release of Metabank was deployed into production. Between major releases there have been near weekly production deployments of minor changes.
Since the first release, new updates to the Metabank have been rolled out continuously and production deployments happen completely transparently to the applications that make use of the metadata.
About TV4 Group
TV4 Group is Sweden’s largest commercial TV company with a 30 per cent share of total viewing in Sweden and during an average week TV4 reaches 7 out of 10 Swedish TV viewers. TV4 has been delivering engaging news, grand entertainment of great variety and quality, live sport and top-class drama to Swedish viewers for more than two decades and runs a wide range of web and mobile sites and on demand services, such as TV4 Play.