FOX Corporation is a leading media entertainment corporation that produces and delivers compelling news, sports, and entertainment through a portfolio of brands, including FOX News Media, FOX Sports, FOX Entertainment and FOX Television Stations. FOX is accessible to almost all U.S. households and operates dozens of digital properties delivering content to nearly 500M monthly devices (MTUs).
With the rapid increase of cord cutting and accelerated adoption of digital viewing, FOX needed to deliver more personalized and compelling digital experiences for consumers across its portfolio. Unfortunately, separate tech stacks across brands and disconnected data slowed teams down and prevented advanced customer data strategies.
Daryl Bowden, Executive Vice President of Technology at FOX Corporation, was tasked with finding a solution to standardize and deliver customer data to a complex stack of analytics, marketing, sales, and advertising tools. Daryl turned to Twilio Segment to align all brands around a single source of truth for customer data, gain a singular view of all users, and personalize digital experiences across channels. As a result, FOX is able to move faster and create optimized user experiences at scale.
Disconnected data slowed FOX down
For all its success over the years, FOX didn’t need to build direct relationships with individual consumers. FOX’s market segments were giant categories of audiences with broad attributes. FOX did not have or need visibility across its many business units, nor did it need tools to bring all of its consumer interactions into one place.
However, with the media and entertainment landscapes continuing to shift toward mobile and OTT streaming, FOX needed to focus on more engagement through its digital platforms. For FOX to be successful now, the organization required access to centralized customer data.
Unfortunately, a complete understanding of users across properties was nearly impossible with the patchwork of data collection frameworks implemented across the organization. Plus, each of FOX’s digital brands had 40+ applications that were integrated to 30+ downstream tools, resulting in nearly 1200 integrations the engineering team had to build and maintain. In order to make customer data useful, engineering teams had to spend enormous amounts of time cleaning and standardizing data and connecting tools, which made it difficult to implement advanced data strategies and improve the user experience.
FOX needed a solution to avoid these bottlenecks and give teams access to standardized customer data to deliver optimized digital experiences.
Moving faster with data standardization and integrations at scale
After evaluating a number of solutions, Daryl and team chose to implement Twilio Segment across a few of the FOX brands, including FOX, FX, and National Geographic. FOX saw immediate results; Twilio Segment made it faster to deploy data products, and reduced the number of engineering hours required to connect tools and maintain integrations.
For example, one of the FOX newsroom brands wanted to trial Chartbeat to better understand customer interests. The process of connecting Chartbeat to Twilio Segment took no more than 15 minutes. Without Twilio Segment, the typical turnaround for this type of instrumentation would have been a two-week sprint. In just this one example, FOX saved nearly 2 weeks of time using Twilio Segment. In Daryl’s words: “This is still one of the main reasons that we use Twilio Segment today. And if this is all that Twilio Segment did for us, I'd still be incredibly happy.”
Following this success, FOX implemented Twilio Segment across all of its business units and digital properties. FOX now runs all historical data through Twilio Segment to its warehouses and has enabled more than 680 unique integrations (1,200 total) within 3 workspaces with Twilio Segment. Centralized customer data infrastructure has saved thousands of engineering hours on data pipeline work, and enables FOX to save thousands of additional engineering hours when integrating newly acquired companies, like Tubi, Credible, or OutKicktheCoverage, into the FOX infrastructure. FOX can now move faster and accelerate the success of new tools, new companies, and new teams with Twilio Segment.
Connecting with hundreds of millions of users at scale
On top of being able to collect, unify and connect FOX’s data, Twilio Segment provides a singular view of users that enables teams to create personalized experiences across brands and digital touchpoints. FOX marketing, advertising, analytics, product, content, and editorial teams now have self-serve access to customer data and the flexibility to activate that data to deliver optimized digital experiences. Daryl explains how this has enabled teams across the company to build direct relationships with digital users:
“When you use any of our apps, you should be greeted like an old friend. When we deliver an ad to you, it should be relevant. When we suggest content to you, it should be in line with your tastes. This is all thanks to Twilio Segment.”
For example, FOX Sports recently redesigned the FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports app, incorporating enhanced personalization at its core. FOX Sports uses data-driven insights to deliver the personalized stories and content users care most about. For instance, the FOX Sports “For You” product uses Twilio Segment data to give passionate fans access to content covering their favorite leagues, teams, and players in real-time. The data running through Twilio Segment, which is being leveraged in real-time through ML modeling, allows FOX Sports to provide a more engaging experience, deliver the most relevant content, and provide up-to-date statistics and sports news to users in highly consumable formats.
Daryl explains why this is so important to building deeper relationships with sports fans:
Sports are ephemeral and you need to process everything in real time. Normally this would be a huge lift, but Twilio Segment allows us to make changes really fast and build customer loyalty by delivering the relevant content users want, when they want it.
Likewise, FOX News is also leveraging Twilio Segment to gain new users and improve customer loyalty via hyper-relevant content. In FOX Nation, FOX News’ new paid streaming service, loyal users pay for access to stream exclusive shows, series, documentaries, movies, daily programming, news stories, and more.
FOX uses Twilio Segment data to build acquisition segments to acquire new FOX Nation users. The team has also implemented a multi-armed bandit ML model to constantly test and improve the content collections promoted to users and deliver the content that is most likely to appeal to them.
Daryl explains the role centralized data plays when it comes to turning a FOX Nation user into a fan or superfan via content recommendations:
We know that the more series a user watches, the less likely they are to churn and the more likely they will evolve into superfans. So while the content team is busy producing and acquiring relevant content, our team is making sure through our centralized data strategy that the content gets seen by the right people as often as possible.
Delivering flawless digital experiences for the Super Bowl
FOX relies on Twilio Segment’s extensive data infrastructure to deliver content at scale across the entire digital portfolio. In February 2020, FOX broadcasted Superbowl LIV. The event attracted the largest ever streaming audience with 3.4 million viewers across a range of connected devices - an increase of approximately 23 percent in digital viewing over Super Bowl LIII. FOX’s best in class architecture, with Twilio Segment at its core, delivered a record-breaking and wildly successful game day for FOX.
Given the high pressure stakes of broadcasting the largest sporting event in FOX’s history, the FOX Data Services team set out to develop a framework for data intake and publishing to deliver a seamless digital viewing experience. In preparation, teams from FOX Data Services, Twilio Segment Professional Services, and Amazon Kinesis worked to test any and every scenario that could happen on the big day. In one extremely successful stress test, the framework was able to handle a peak of nearly 10 million unique concurrently streaming devices per second. On game day, Twilio Segment’s best in class infrastructure and Professional Services Team were some of the necessary pieces to the intake of approximately one million records per second.
Just one month after successfully delivering Super Bowl LIV, COVID-19 forced unprecedented quarantines and shelter in place orders. Demand for digital news and entertainment skyrocketed to nearly 500M, and the FOX teams were set up to continue to deliver flawless digital content and viewing experiences with Twilio Segment. FOX’s digital businesses could continue personalizing and optimizing digital experiences at scale -- faster, easier, and fully remote.
Daryl explains: “Delivering reliably and scalably during COVID-19 looked like the Super Bowl every day. If COVID happened 3 years ago, we wouldn’t have been ready or been able to do the personalization we needed to do.”
Centralized customer data enables FOX to move faster:
Ease of maintenance across more than 1200 tool integrations
>$1.2M in value of time saved annually
Reduced customer data QA labor by 75%
Reduced manual QA effort costs by $622k/year
Avoided costs of wasted downstream data user productivity by $500k/year
Singular source of truth enables FOX to deliver personalized experiences to millions of users:
Delivering personalized experiences on FOX Sports “For You” properties has resulted in:
376% more visitors to FOX Sports “For You”
33% more visits to FOX Sports “For You”
31% increase in stories consumed within FOX Sports “For You”
Delivering relevant, recommended content to users on FOX Nation has resulted in:
An average 347% lift in clicks/visits to recommended content modules
An average 62% lift in clicks/visits to “Recommendable Collections”
Twilio Segment + AWS infrastructure deliver reliability and scale for Superbowl LIV:
Concurrent Unique Devices – 3.3 M (intake of ~ 350,000 records per second)
4 Kinesis Data Applications
Data throughput – 17 GB/min
Record throughput – ~21 Mil/min
Kinesis Scaling – 62 KPUs
What’s next? Daryl’s team is busy launching even more advanced data strategies and preparing for more record-breaking digital viewership. In 2023, FOX will cover the midterm elections, FIFA World Cup, another record-breaking Super Bowl, and other major social and sports events; the team is confident they can deliver immersive digital experiences at scale with Twilio Segment.