How an online sports video provider adapted to a mobile world

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Three years ago, XOS Digital (then XOS Technologies) was at a crossroads. A leader in sports video technology and digital media software, the company had built a good business providing the platform for major college athletics websites.

It had sold that business and the technology that went with it in 2007, only to get back into the Internet sports content management sector two years later, inking a deal with the Southeastern Conference (SEC). But XOS had re-entered an entirely different digital content game.

“The first year we used an outsourced provider for the platform,” says XOS founder Dan Aton. “By the following year the world continued to change and the market continued to request features that made outsourcing unwise.”

Those features, of course, were based on mobile technology and social media, both of which began transforming the digital publishing industry right around when XOS was selling off its first content platform.

So XOS began searching for a technology platform partner that would enable it to thrive in a mobile and social world. After taking a look at Drupal and Joomla, XOS settled on DotNetNuke, an open-source content management system based on Microsoft .NET.

“XOS needed a platform that could publish a lot of content, including video content, have mobile functionality, and it had to be socially enabled,” says DotNetNuke (DNN) chief executive Navin Nagiah. “Most of these are college websites, so most of the people visiting them are college students, and that means they’re likely using tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, a wide variety of devices to consume the content, including video content.”

DNN’s content management platform enables site developers to redirect mobile users to landing pages optimized for their devices, whether they’re tablets or smartphones, iOS or Android. A mobile content previewer allows site developers to see how content looks on specific devices without having to access those devices. In addition to iOS and Android, DNN’s platform supports Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry devices.

XOS Digital launched its first DNN-based platform in the fall of 2009. It now runs a number of major-college conferences, sports teams and events on its content platform, including the SEC, NCAA Football, the Big East Conference and the Pac-12 Conference.

“DNN acts as our technology partner for branded fan interaction,” says Aton. “That includes web presence, mobile apps, tablet apps, smart TV. We use DNN as the front end piece for the web and mobile web, and we use it for overall infrastructure platform management.”

As for the social media features of DNN’s content management platform – which are designed to build social communities and foster fan interaction – XOS uses those judiciously because the college conferences and individual schools don’t want to host “trash talk” on their sites, Aton explains, preferring to leave fan forums to third-party sites.

But one XOS customer that has a healthy fan forum is Grand Am Road Racing, where fans can discuss racing and upload photos.

The company released the 7.0 version of its platform last week.

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