Reality Digital Powers MLB.com Actober Web Site

By Andrew Lippe

MLB Advanced Media’s Actober.com Web site, designed to provide fans a forum to recreate their favorite postseason moments, was powered by Reality Digital’s social media platform Opus.

Reality Digital’s Opus platform enabled MLB.com to transcode and distribute videos on the Web. Fans were able to select from an archive of more than 60 great postseason moments from Willie Mays historic catch, to Big Papi heroics, to Aaron Boone’s game winning homer for the New York Yankees in 2003. Submissions were uploaded to the site where three creators of the winning videos each received trips for two to Game 3 of the 2007 World Series in Colorado.

“MLB has a massive fan base and when they opened the flood gate, they knew the first weekend it would get pounded by video views,” says Mitchell Linden, Vice President of Business Development for Reality Digital. “MLB could not have the site collapse.”

“Reality Digital’s tools were the best for our fans,” says Justin Shaffer, SVP of New Media for MLB Advanced Media. “We were very cautious due to our breath of fans but their tools were very straightforward.”

Reality Digital’s Opus platform is made up of a digital media management framework (DMMF), a set of web services that can be mixed and matched to meet customer’s needs. The interface allows for the uploading and transcoding of video, and the wrapping of video and audio images.

“We present our customers with an online tool set to manage the media on their site,” adds Linden. They can see the videos that are getting the most watched, and what is getting the most commented on.

MLB provided some great archival footage as part of their contest to fans. Each week MLB would provide five memorable postseason clips. MLB asked fans to create their own video remaking a historic moment. Fans could even add crowd noise if they wanted too. A MLB moderator viewed all videos before they were posted.

The Opus platform also has the ability to moderate the content from a language perspective as well as a content perspective. The system has the innate ability to analyze all incoming media.

“That is a bit of a black art these days because there are some many different variations of video codec’s and audio codec’s out there,” adds Linden. “Our service is to analyze the video and route it to the proper encoding service.” Files are opened right away and then sent to encoders.

Reality Digital offers Microsoft Silverlight encoding, Flash, as well as a dv25 codec. Videos are presented in a storyboard view so an MLB moderator can change the representational thumbnail. “If you are a moderator you can get a very quick view of what the entire video looks like,” adds Linden.

The workflow allows media to be uploaded very quickly while an uploader is deciding on the metadata fields. All text including title, comments, and descriptions is moderated. “We provided MLB and all customers with a word filter that automatically filters out racist or inappropriate words,” says Linden. MLB had their own customized filter as does other clients of Reality Digital.

For distribution for the MLB site reality Digital used the Limelight CDN network. Every video submitted to actober.com is in the site’s archives, including each of the top five winner’s from each week of the contest. Since its launch at the All-Star Game in July, actober.com has received more than three million page views.