Magnolia CMS Powers Content for SOA-based Website LOVEFiLM
LOVEFiLM, a leading European film & TV subscription service, was looking for a CMS to help run their editorial back-end. After an extensive due diligence process that looked at a variety of CMS products, proprietary and Open Source, LOVEFiLM chose Magnolia because it was Open Source, but with Enterprise-grade support. Magnolia’s extensibility coupled with their SOA approach has enabled LOVEFiLM to provide content services to a variety of areas of the business such as: Editorial, Sales and Marketing.
As one of the most respected entertainment and film sites in Europe, LOVEFiLM delivers an unbeatable service of films & TV to your PC, internet TV and DVD rental by free post, with over 67,000 titles to choose from.
LOVEFiLM has an active user base of over 1.3 million members and operates in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. LOVEFiLM’S members have generated over 80 million ratings, written over 850,000 reviews, and watch on average over 2 million trailers per month. In the UK it is the second most viewed Movie website, and has over 4.3 million unique visitors every month.
LOVEFiLM is a pioneer in digital film delivery in the UK, where their watch online service has thousands of titles available for members to stream direct to their computer or watch on Internet enabled TVs.
By choosing Magnolia, we saved about $100,000 USD in licensing alone over the next-best proprietary option.
Mike Blakemore, CTO, LOVEFiLM
|Infrastructure||2 servers, each containing one Author and Public instance, 1 development and testing server, entirely Open Source LAMP stack, integrates closely with Perl applications via APIs.|
|Newsletter subscribers|| |
The Need: A CMS That Will Play Nice With Existing Perl-Based Application
LOVEFiLM wanted to redesign their newsletter and other Editorial sections, as well as improve the ease of managing this online content. The in-house, bespoke application they wrote to handle their main rental site was too complex and inflexible, and not able to provide the Editorial team with enough freedom to creatively manage their content. They needed something that made content entry and management a snap, but that could work on the back-end and serve the content via APIs and syndication to the main application for rendering and display.
No tools immediately jumped out at LOVEFiLM as appropriate for the task. There was nothing available in-house that could handle all of their needs. LOVEFiLM knew that it was time to make a strategic investment in improving and simplifying the content entry process for their site.
The Search: Evaluating all Options, Open and Proprietary
LOVEFiLM conducted an extensive search for a solution that fit their needs. They evaluated a variety of CMS products, open source and proprietary, PHP, Java and Perl.
They needed a system that could:
- Be easily used by non-technical employees
- Easily exist in a Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA), through APIs and syndication
- Scale smoothly to enterprise-level needs
- Be supported and developed by local development shops
- Have a solid enterprise support package
- Co-exist within their already-existing Open Source infrastructure
After searching high and low, LOVEFiLM found Magnolia CMS Enterprise Edition and their UK development partner, Sceneric, to assist with implementation.
Magnolia CMS has a good, open technology stack, is easily extensible, and there are good development houses providing valuable implementation services.
Mike Blakemore, CTO, LOVEFiLM
Straightforward Content Editing
Magnolia's focus on simplifying content entry and editing pleased LOVEFiLM's Editors. Its open nature allowed for easy set up with their existing LAMP-based architecture.
Support by Magnolia's Core Developers
Most importantly though, not only was there a local consultancy, Sceneric, with Magnolia CMS experience, but the core developers for Magnolia CMS were willing to work directly with LOVEFiLM's engineers, getting them up to speed quickly and helping with the SOA integration with their main Perl application.
The Results: Magnolia's Functionality Provided Creative Opportunities and Efficiencies
The selection of a CMS was based on a long term list of requirements, with the hope that the chosen solution could scale with the site as it grew. Initial Magnolia implementations for the Editorial team have included the weekly newsletter, reviews, interviews and movie clips – as well as an image management tool for this content. This editorial content also has extensive metadata associated with it, and they have extended Magnolia to push this content in to a SOLR index. This means that Magnolia content will appear within the main site search results, and potentially on other parts of the site using SOLR's faceted search feature.
By using Magnolia to handle editorial content entry and management, while also using their own Perl application to handle rendering and themes, LOVEFiLM hopes to attract site customers and visitors, with an exciting way of connecting with movie-lovers everywhere.
Choosing Magnolia CMS not only met LOVEFiLM's requirements better than the competition, they saved thousands of dollars on licensing costs over the next-best proprietary solution.
New Marketing Platform
Another use that Magnolia was adapted for, was LOVEFiLM's marketing efforts. Magnolia CMS allows commercial team Editors to create unique partner branded special offer / splash pages, without any ongoing technical expertise.
Being able to offer that degree of interaction and control for their commercial team and their advertisers, was a major win for all involved.
Conclusion: Successful Integration between Open Platforms and Magnolia CMS
Magnolia CMS simplified how LOVEFiLM deals with content in a powerful way. By being able to craft and manage content, images and layout in a browser-based rich text editor, Editorial staff were able to take charge of both editing and publishing the newsletter, parts of (eventually all) the Magazine section, and commercial advertorial pages. Magnolia manages and organises the content, and the internal Perl based system manages the ability to render the preview and live content.
Magnolia in conjunction with UK based development partner, Sceneric, aided the LOVEFiLM technical architecture team in designing their production environment and service oriented architecture (SOA). Magnolia's use of open standards and its documented, accessible API allowed it to integrate tightly with LOVEFiLM's page rendering platform. This is an important story about the ability to accomplish great things through integration between open platforms.