TMZ Case Study

TMZ Case Study

by Kosish Bhandari
Leading entertainment news network looking to expand capabilities and enhance revenue strategy

Challenges
  • Outdated codebases and user experience on both iPhone, iPad and Android
  • Under-explored potential in improving advertisement revenue
  • Under-explored growth strategies
  • Poor reviews on the app stores
  • Inability to scale due to existing technical challenges and limited in-house resources
  • Lack of Technical Project Management and agile processes resulting in long release cycles
  • Lack of presence on Apple Watch
Thinking
  • Implement advanced analytics to learn user behavior and iterate.
  • Develop and maintain a universal iOS application and an Android application with scalable architecture and codebase, based on the learnings
  • Implement intelligent advertisement strategies for scalable ROI
  • Implement strategies and third-party technologies for growth and improved app store ratings
  • Establish a sprint-driven Scrumban approach for development and launch
  • Develop an extension, learn and iterate on Apple Watch
Results
  • Streamlined user experience on iOS and Android platforms with refined applications
  • Better emphasis for viewing news, photos and on-demand and live streaming video content
  • 350% improvement in advertisement revenue over 18 months
  • Predictable release cycles and better buy-in from all stakeholders (exec team)
  • Improved synchronization with other teams at TMZ
  • Implementation on Apple Watch to provide live notification and instant access to news on the go
  • Universal codebase and quality for better maintenance and scalability

Introduction

Owned and operated by Warner Bros, TMZ is a leading celebrity entertainment news network, with over 80 million global monthly views. TMZ provides information related to various categories, including photos, videos, exclusives, celebrity gossip, celebrity justice as well as celebrity beauty, celebrity fashion, celebrity relationships, sports, and games.

Challenges

In the recent years, TMZ has expanded from web to mobile to reach out to an unprecedented number of users. They have created and managed multiple applications in iPhone, iPad, Android and Mobile Web. The management and the product team wanted to provide better emphasis to every news update throughout the day. However, TMZ faced many technical and project management challenges that it could not reach the audience at the right time. Not only, it was harder for TMZ to manage the non-scalable existing technologies with limited in-house resources, the applications were falling behind the required user experience and nimbleness to match the expectations of the users. Additionally, TMZ could not maximize revenue potential. A strategic overhaul was long due.

Thinking and Solution

TMZ chose us as their strategic partner for two main reasons:

  • Leverage our technical project management skills to establish agile methodologies and better coordination between teams.
  • Solve technology challenges in scalability and advertisement strategies to maximize growth potential.

We created a native Universal native application for iPhone and iPad with an extension for Apple Watch and an Android native application. With a strong agile development model (Scrumban), the first version was completed and published to the app store within a remarkable timeline. We incorporated advanced analytics to learn user-behavior and carefully created iteration plans based on the analysis. An extension on Apple Watch provided more real-time reach to users on the go. We also implemented better and non-intrusive advertising strategies in collaboration with the Ad Operations team of Warner Bros.

Results

The solutions and methodologies dramatically increased the emphasis on every news update, video and photo gallery based on popularity, which was the primary concern of the management. The technology improvements provided scalability, ease of maintenance and predictability in release cycles, ultimately resulting in growth and increased revenue. TMZ saw 350% growth in ad revenue from its mobile applications over 18 months.

Improvement in user experience resulted in App store reviews changing from 3.5 stars to 5 stars over a span of few months and 15k additional reviews. It also resulted in growth in number of daily active users.


Conclusion

As TMZ continues to excel in their ability to offer content to its vast amount of users, they are confident to have a more elegant, scalable and profitable mobile presence with one most important objective: every news update needs to be in people’s hands in the blink of an eye. We are glad we could not only assist them with the main objective but help them with a multi-fold return on investment.