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BBC – Creating a Powerful Live Events CMS

The Challenge

The BBC wanted a powerful CMS that would simplify the process of covering live music performances.

Non-technicians had to be able to set up the coverage and update it at any time even during the festivals.

The system needed to provide a rich user experience while supporting usage spikes of over 100 requests per second.

The CMS needed to flexible enough to integrate with several systems both inside and outside the BBC. The system was required to deliver information in many formats including blogs, audio and profiles of performers, and a large amount of audio and video content including live multiscreen.

Our Solution

From the very moment we started and throughout the entire the project, we worked with the full range of people involved in all of the many disparate complex media systems.

We wanted to make sure that all possible information feeds were integrated seamlessly. We ran multi-site daily stand-up meetings and sprint planning sessions. We arranged face to face meetings with BBC development teams to make sure that changes in requirements were fully understood from both sides.

To handle the large number of visitors expected, the system used multiple levels of caching. This allowed the CMS to cope with the conflicting requirements of a very high traffic system that also needed to respond within seconds to changes made by editorial staff in the field.

The Result

Essentially, the BBC wanted to cover more events, better, cheaper, quicker.

Our solution dramatically reduced costs so that the BBC not only saved money but was also able to build event sites for many more events, even much smaller ones.

We reduced development time from several weeks of technical input down to a single afternoon requiring no technical knowledge. On the day, updates can be as live as the music.

We freed-up resources to allow the BBC to do what they really love doing: producing great festival coverage.

Our software debuted flawlessly at the BBC’s biggest ever free-ticketed live music event, Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend.

The CMS was built so that we have been able to continue to expand its capabilities. For instance, enabling live multi-streaming of events, multi-language support, and coverage for new types of events including, most recently, the BBC Proms.

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Java, Spring, JSP, MySQL, PHP, Zend

The project
Creating a bespoke CMS to run all the BBC’s event microsites, managing live content for festivals including Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds and the BBC Proms.

The results
Integrated with several existing BBC systems and highly scalable with usage spikes of 100 requests per second.