Based in Skien, Odds Ballklubb carries a storied tradition as Norway’s oldest existing association football team and a member of Eliteserien, the country’s top professional league. Prior to the 2018 season, Odd, as the team is commonly known, sought new paths to generating revenue from its high-value video content. Rather than selling rights to a third-party broadcaster or content provider, the team’s leadership preferred a direct approach that would afford greater control over its content, facilitate innovation and experimentation, and support an engaging, personalized experience for its ardent fan base.
The time and expense associated with designing, acquiring and maintaining a traditional over-the-top (OTT) video infrastructure made cloud services an attractive option for Odd. Similarly, the time and resources required to develop systems for managing a paid subscription model called for outside expertise and a turn-key e-commerce solution.
In Crystallize, a cloud-based platform for building and managing subscription-based video services pioneered by Norwegian product developer Snowball Digital, Odd found both the video processing and delivery technology and the e-commerce capabilities it required, all powered by AWS services. Odd selected Crystallize as the foundation to launch a new subscription-based live and on-demand video service, Gullpila, bringing the service live in only six weeks from project kickoff.
Crystallize is a new service with a uniquely innovative platform-as-a-service approach to building and managing subscription-based video services in the cloud. It combines a robust e-commerce engine to manage subscriber access and process payments with a complete video processing and delivery infrastructure. Designed as a “headless” e-commerce solution, Crystallize enables Odd to customize the user experience for its audience and easily integrate with back-end services via REST API, GraphQL, and webhooks. The platform’s e-commerce functionality relies on the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), AWS Lambda function, Amazon ElastiCache for Redis, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk application.
AWS Media Services execute the cloud-based video processing and delivery for the Crystallize platform‘s video workflows. For Gullpila’s on-demand content, AWS Elemental MediaConvert transcodes file-based inputs uploaded to Amazon S3 by the Odd video team for distribution through the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network (CDN), with automation triggers provided by AWS Lambda and analytics supported by Amazon Kinesis Data Streams. Crystallize enables Gullpila’s live streams with AWS Elemental MediaLive, which encodes real-time video inputs, and AWS Elemental MediaPackage live video processing to prepare content for delivery to connected devices via CloudFront.
Within weeks of launch, Odd signed hundreds of subscribers, establishing a new source of significant recurring revenue, and its subscriber base continues to grow at a steady rate, validating the business model. Subscribers enjoy exclusive, unlimited access to live and on-demand streaming video including match highlights, player interviews, tips and tricks, and other fan-friendly, behind-the-scenes content, with monthly subscriptions priced at 59 kr (about $7.50 USD) or a one-time fee of 599 kr for the full season.
“Crystallize and AWS give us control over our content monetization strategy and the agility to quickly adapt to what subscribers value most from our service,” said Einar Håndlykken, Managing Director, Odds Ballklubb. “Both the transactional aspects and the technical workflows of a paid subscription video service are built into the solution, which allows our creative talent to focus on developing new content, innovating outstanding viewing experiences, and building connections between the organization and our supporters.”
According to Bård Farstad, CEO of Snowball Digital, “The Crystallize platform lets forward-thinking organizations like Odds Ballklubb customize video services to their audiences, while taking advantage of a virtually turn-key solution for distributing OTT video, at scale, to subscribers anywhere. We’re delighted by the capabilities of AWS solutions to enable services like Gullpila – and any Crystallize customer – to engage their audiences in new ways and generate new revenue streams.”