BBC Uses Semantic Publishing to Power the FIFA World Cup Website

In 2010, the BBC used Ontotext technology to bring a new approach to publishing and managing their content. At the time, the technology was used to deliver dynamic content for their World Cup site, which already had more index pages than the rest of the BBC Sports website. Since that initial success, different divisions of the organization have adopted this approach for their own content. All this culminated in the development of the BBC’s Linked Data Platform in January 2013 with Ontotext technology at its heart.

The Goal

BBC Future Media had been tasked with finding a sector-specific solution for transforming the BBC’s static content management and publishing framework to a fully dynamic semantic architecture. By using ontologies and an enterprise-ready knowledge base with the power of inference, the BBC wanted to minimize expensive editorial management of content assets.

They also wanted to have a website navigation guided by what was important to the consumer (e.g., teams, countries, players, etc.). As a result, the BBC expected to see an increase in content aggregation, re-use and re-purposing without additional costs.

The Challenge

With 32 teams, 8 groups and 776 individual players, managing the website for the 2010 FIFA World Cup was a daunting task. There were simply too many pages and too few journalists to create and keep up with the site’s coverage of the event. The BBC needed a way to quickly and accurately generate large volumes of timely content about the matches, groups, teams and players without relying on the costly manual intervention of editorial staff.

The Solution: a Dynamic Semantic Publishing Framework

The Dynamic Semantic Publishing (DSP) architecture developed for the BBC’s 2010 World Cup website curates and publishes HTML and RDF aggregations based on embedded Linked Data identifiers, ontologies and associated inference.

RDF semantics improves content re-use, search engine rankings, journalist determined levels of automation (“edited by exception”) and support for semantic advertisement placement for audiences outside of the UK. The DSP approach also facilitates multi-dimensional entry points and a richer navigation, greatly improving user experience and engagement.

All of this is delivered by Ontotext’s leading semantic graph database GraphDB.

Business Benefits

  • 800+ Dynamic aggregations/pages (Player, Team, Group, etc.), generated through SPARQL queries
  • Average unique page requests/day: 2 million
  • Average SPARQL queries/day: 1 million
  • 100s repository updates/inserts per minute with OWL 2 RL reasoning
  • Multi data center fully resilient, clustered 6 node triplestore

Why Choose Ontotext?

The real proof that our technology works and makes a difference is the BBC’s World Cup 2010 Website – the first project running on the BBC’s Dynamic Semantic Publishing architecture and it was regarded very successful by both the BBC and website visitors. With the DSP Framework, the BBC achieved the desired efficiencies in content creation and curation. Consequently, they announced that the framework would be expanded to the rest of the BBC Sports section, including their coverage of the 2012 Olympics.

Continuing Success: Linked Data Platform

Since the initial success of the FIFA World Cup site, the BBC has committed to creating the BBC’s Linked Data Platform –  a next-generation tool for dynamic semantic content.

This is not a trivial feat for an organization of £5 billion in revenue and 23,000 employees. But the BBC has recognized the significant strategic advantage of being able to deliver content more intelligently and in greater detail than possible at the time.

To that end, Ontotext technology has enabled the public service broadcaster to re-use content across divisions and make it more visible while reducing production costs.

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