While Baseline was a division of the New York Times, the syndication business was based on a legacy FTP or XML solution providing full delta data feeds to it's early clients in the NYTimes, Yahoo Movies, and Variety. While a powerful solution any adjustments to the feed took weeks to create with no modifications available from the core data set. No API's were available for developers thus limiting growth despite having a superior data offering than that of larger metadata providers.
Syndication Platform Refactor
To combat the inability for us to scale our Syndication offerings beyond that of the legacy FTP or XML solutions we refactored our internal syndication platform with the goal of being able to create a legacy feed in a single day versus a number of weeks as well as create a standardized API platform for developer accessibility.
After 3 months of development we not only had a new home to manage existing and future syndication feeds, standardized API endpoints but also a end to end solution for a self service paid API solution with baked in invoicing.
Internal Mapping Tool
Baseline had just spent two years on an end to end refactor of our internal CMS which controlled the legacy Project, Organization, and Person tables. This release was a streamlined experience for the internal content editor staff of 40 to manage basic record information but no other entitlements. With this limitation we created a new Internal Tools home called the Baseline "Hub" for new data extensions and management. This new architecture was born out of a partnership with the Everett Collection and their historical film stills as well as on set library which was needed to be ingested into our Studio System offering. We took this a step further to create an extendable solution to ingest and mange additional data sources and feeds.
This new architecture allowed for us to expand out of a simple ingestion point for data into our flagship offering but a scalable tool that was leveraged to build internal IP and mange the following:
- Baseline to Third Party ID Mappings
- EIDR Normalized Mapping Keys
- Multimedia Management
- Box Office Ingestion
- Bulk data manipulation and query capability
Expanded Syndication Offerings
Due to the flexibility that our internal tools and syndication platform offered us were were able to cater to and craft elegant solutions to the clients referenced below plus so many more. Many syndication providers at the time offered rigid solutions of package A, B, or C and while the were the major players in the space they got away from it. With our bespoke solutions we were able to steal market share by creating one off solutions for clients in a short timeframe.
Reliably deliver high-quality DVD metadata and images to 27,000 DVD rental kiosks in the United States that conduct millions of transactions each day.
Baseline leveraged their relationships with the major home video distributors to collect DVD metadata in a timely and consistent manner, and designed a custom feed that integrated with Redbox’s existing database. Today Redbox is the fastest growing renter of DVDs.
Create a set top box application for media downloads that will engage customers and attract licensing partners.
Baseline’s rich dataset became the backbone of M-Go, a groundbreaking, multi-platform, touch-screen application that currently has several licensing deals in place.
DVDs are rapidly being replaced by digital downloads. Create an application that allows people to regain their sense of ownership of their digital media.
Baseline data became the backbone for Flixster Collections, an application for previewing, purchasing, and sharing digital content.
Concepts driving Customer Acquisition
With our leading concept to delivery timeline we were able to engage in concept creation to drive customer acquisition and prove out conceptual ideas also allowing for increased marketshare penetration. Below are some of those examples of both VOD exploration as well as multimedia destinations.
Project VOD Concept
With our level of project data, image set, financial data, and external mappings we were able to spin up project level prototypes with ease to showcase the breadth of our offering. These living prototypes along with the Studio System flagship site gave our syndication team all tools they needed to sell our metadata and image offerings for web or new platform integrations.
Person Record VOD Concept
One key differentiator in our syndication offering was the largest person biography database available for robust profile pages with full credit, awards, media, and social account mappings.
Television VOD Concept
With our depth of episodic level data the below is a sample of the project, seasonal, and episodic data sets we were now able to build with episode level image mappings as well as release and performance data. With our mapping to internet streaming services we were the go to mapping key for solutions seeking one click access to watch shows where they are available.
Multimedia Destination Concept
Leveraging our project metadata along with Everett Collection poster and still library the below is an example of a fan multimedia engagement destination with external mappings to project ratings.
Much of this product development and internal investing drove the eventual sale of Baseline to Gracenote for $50M in 2014. The acquisition acquisition did not follow the traditional revenue multiplier but was heavily weighted in internal IP, legacy data, and removing a competitor from the field and adding to Gracenote's global offering in music, video, and audio solutions.