How Picvario helps the Championat sports portal publish news

Case study
The Championat portal is a Russian sports website that publishes news, match results, interviews, and analytics. The Championat contains a huge volume of photos: more than 400,000 images, including material from 2005 to the present day. Images are used by editors to illustrate news, copyright materials and interviews, and are posted in the website gallery.

The image bank before Picvario

Before the introduction of an image bank, all media files were stored on an FTP server and external hard drives. The editorial archive is supported by a photography department of four employees, who are busy with on-site shoots and searching for and describing images. The selection of images from a standard file structure was inconvenient and took a lot of work time, so the search process needed to be optimized.

Storage of the editorial image bank in the server file system
In addition, contributing journalists and editors often want to select images for their publications themselves. However, it was impossible to provide them access to the image bank. A new system was required.

The situation was even more complicated because parts of the archive were stored on external hard drives that could only be accessed by two employees. Sometimes images were needed outside the photo editors's working hours, so they had to spend their free time on it.

It was important that the issue of image availability was resolved for other departments and that the search process was made faster.

Therefore, the main goals of image bank implementation were:
  1. to reduce the time that photography department employees spent on routine operations, such as searching and selecting images,
  2. to make images available for authors and journalists,
  3. to enrich archive metadata by adding descriptions and face recognition. This increases media data value.

Importing assets into the system

Archived images and new images can currently be imported into the system.


Importing archive files
Picvario provides various scripts and tools for importing assets into the system, including bulk upload via FTP. However, the editors preferred to download archived images using drag'n'drop in order to simultaneously parse archive folders, add additional descriptions, and classify the archive.

Importing new images as they appear
On average, the photographers shoot two events a day. More than 200 images are uploaded to the system after each event. Although the Picvario script allows photographers to describe images themselves, build editors in the editorial office are usually responsible for this. This means they don't have to wait for the end of the event, but can quickly describe images and create a photo report on the website.

Website and Picvario integration

The editors at Championat.com decided to change the concept and post images in news publications. Therefore, they need photographs as soon as possible after an event ends. News editors constantly require snapshots for their publications.

Image size settings in Picvario

So that they could view and use the images themselves, the editors decided to integrate the system into the website via API. To achieve this goal, it was necessary to add image size (length and width) attributes to the platform to adapt images to the website's requirements. It was also necessary to set up access for the api@championat.com mail.

The website admin panel now has a Find photo button that can be used to search for images through Picvario. The website accesses Picvario API to process the search request. A system search is performed directly from the website admin panel.
The admin panel interface provides the option to use images from Picvario via API integration
For example, if you search for "Artem Dzyuba", the search results will display all images uploaded to the image bank. The editor can then choose which image to use. The image will be attached to the news directly from Picvario. You do not need to save the image to your computer and upload it to the website.


Website and Picvario integration allows news editors to access the photo archive.
Example of a search result made via the portal's admin panel

Adjustments requested by the portal

New sorting type
Sorting by Date Added, which the system previously used, was not very convenient. The option of sorting assets by Date Taken was added following a request from the editors. This was necessary to preserve the correct timeline of events. An additional metadata Date Created field has been added to the system to achieve this. Additional sorting options will be added in the next release: from the newest image to the oldest and vice versa.

New sorting type in Picvario by Date Created

Smart search
The portal's photo archive is divided into collections by event. There are curently more than 3000 collections. They serve as the primary image search tool. Before Picvario 1.12, the collection search only worked correctly if the word exactly matched. For example, if there were quotation marks or if the phrase was written "Team Russia" or "Russia's Team" the search results were significantly narrower. The portal asked us to improve the system's capabilities: wildcard requests or operators were implemented. This makes it possible to expand search results and quickly find the original image or collection.


Championat.com collections in Picvario. Requests using operators can expand results in Picvario

Benefits

When implementing each program, it is important for the customer to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions. The analytics module dashboards in Picvario DAM help to analyze system performance. We uploaded the report from the Championat portal and received fantastic results*:

  • More than 300 search queries are processed every day. Just remember: searches used to be done manually in the file system for each asset and they took a lot of time! Searching via Picvario is much easier and faster,
  • More than 1,100 photos are uploaded to the system every day since the import process was implemented,
  • 3,400 collections created instead of regular file folders on the server and external hard drives.
*average values
System usage statistics for the last 90 days
Asset search and collection search usage statistics over the last 90 days
The system is actively used: image bank history of events for the last 3 hours

Future plans

The editors are planning to implement the option of transferring images directly from the photographer via the "camera - FTP server - collector - Picvario" chain. Technology for the direct transfer of images to the system has already been implemented and is used by a number of our clients, including Dynamo tenant users. This will allow editors to upload live shots from matches.

In addition, the editorial office intends to monetize its assets. The option of licensing images through partner agencies is already available. In the near future it will be possible to buy the images directly available through the Picvario interface.

After discussion, our clients' plans can be included in the Picvario development roadmap. We develop our platform in close coordination with our customers.

Alena Sakharova
editor at the Championat.com photo service:
«The Championat photo archive has existed since 2005 and contains more than 400,000 images. The main task when creating a photo bank was to establish communication between the photo service and journalists, as well as to ensure that all editors can access the archive. With Picvario, this is easy to do. The photo service has optimized the image search process and made it convenient for all employees in the department. At the same time, integration enables the editorial office to use images directly from the website admin panel».
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