Pex: Empowering rights owners with fast, accurate content tracking

About Pex

Pex delivers analytics and rights management with simplicity, speed, and accuracy, bringing transparency to the digital space. The Los Angeles-based company empowers creators, brands, rights owners, and analysts to uncover and explain the true reach of online video and audio, including what people watch, where they watch it, and why they share it.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

After experiencing unplanned downtime with its previous cloud provider, Pex moved its service to Google Cloud Platform, improving reliability, performance, and cost efficiency.

Google Cloud Results

  • Improves the speed and accuracy of content identification and analysis, giving Pex a competitive edge
  • Eliminates application downtime, improving customer satisfaction and cash flow
  • Scales easily and cost effectively, helping Pex grow 10x and achieve profitability in just 4 months

Processing billions of events daily on 25K+ servers

Since the early days of the internet, digital rights management has been a challenge for content creators and owners. With the advent of user-generated content, popular creative works are going viral at an unprecedented scale and speed, but often with little to no visibility for the creator and, hence, no payment either.

Pex is helping rights owners gain control over their content by bringing transparency to how video and other content is hosted, viewed, and shared across the web. Its rights management service uses audio and visual recognition technology to find content and monitor usage, helping customers quickly find and claim all copies of their content to protect their revenue and brand. Pex also provides real-time insights and analytics, helping customers uncover the true reach of their content to optimize their social footprint, better understand their markets, and earn more money.

To detect copyright infringement and viral content quickly and accurately, Pex operates on a huge scale. Its proprietary algorithms find, track, and monetize content on every major platform worldwide. As a lean startup facing larger competitors, Pex must provide fast and reliable service. To make sure its service could scale to meet customers’ needs, the company launched on a cloud-based infrastructure.

“We are tracking all of the video and music content ever uploaded online, which differentiates Pex from anybody else. With Google Cloud Platform, we can scale while keeping our service reliable and costs low. That enables us to deliver on big promises to our customers and explore new opportunities.”

Rasty Turek, Founder and CEO, Pex

“Pex is the only solution that can find matching content on any open streaming website out there,” says Amadea Choplin, Chief Operating Officer at Pex. “Instead of using simple metadata to detect similar content—as our competitors do—we fingerprint the content itself, which requires a massively scalable infrastructure.”

At a critical time in its business development, however, Pex experienced unplanned downtime with its cloud services provider. Although the downtime window was short, it was long enough to destroy most of the young startup’s infrastructure. After taking more than a week to bring servers back online, Pex moved to Google Cloud Platform, using Google Compute Engine to quickly scale up. With transparent maintenance and persistent disks, Pex can keep its service available, improving customer satisfaction and cash flow. Within a month, Pex indexed more videos than it processed in an entire year using its previous provider.

“We are tracking all of the music and video content ever uploaded online, which differentiates Pex from anybody else,” says Rasty Turek, Founder and CEO of Pex. “With Google Cloud Platform, we can scale while keeping our service reliable and costs low. That enables us to deliver on big promises to our customers and explore new opportunities.”

“Before we moved to Google Cloud Platform, it took 40 minutes to spin up or terminate 500 servers, and the same tasks take only seconds with Google Compute Engine. Network I/O is also way faster—with our previous cloud provider, we never got even close to the performance of Google Cloud Platform.”

Rasty Turek, Founder and CEO, Pex

Improving content tracking

Pex runs as many as 25,000 single-purpose servers simultaneously on Google Cloud Platform to identify and fingerprint content. The ability to quickly deploy thousands of servers makes an enormous difference to the company’s business, helping improve the speed while keeping the costs on a manageable level. Faster networking enables faster processing, reducing overhead even further.

“Before we moved to Google Cloud Platform, it took 40 minutes to spin up or terminate 500 servers, and the same tasks take only seconds with Google Compute Engine,” says Rasty. “Network I/O is also way faster—with our previous cloud provider we never got even close to the performance of Google Cloud Platform.”

Doubling data volume

As part of an application rewrite, Pex switched from RabbitMQ message brokering to Google Cloud Pub/Sub accessed via gRPC, a high-performance, open source universal RPC framework developed by Google. Data is automatically and intelligently distributed across data centers, sending billions of messages every day over the Google high-speed private network.

“Switching to Google Cloud Pub/Sub helped us double our monthly volume of data processed to around 4 petabytes, or 1 billion videos and songs,” says Rasty. “It’s a stable solution that we don’t have to manage. Building our own infrastructure to do something similar would cost up to five times as much.”

After processing, data is sent to Google BigQuery, a cloud data warehouse, for analysis and visualization using Google Data Studio. With just a few clicks, data analysts can create reports with full editing and sharing capabilities. Pex also uses Google Cloud Bigtable as a cache and Google Cloud Dataflow to simplify the processing of long, complex compute jobs.

“Google BigQuery is the most powerful query tool I’ve ever seen,” says Rasty. “It runs ridiculously complex queries in minutes, giving us faster insight into the data that is the lifeblood of our business.”

“There’s no other provider that gives us the speed, scale, and reliability of Google Cloud Platform, and it’s extremely affordable. We’ve grown tenfold, and we’re still spending less money. It literally saved our business.”

Rasty Turek, Founder and CEO, Pex

A shorter path to profitability

Four months after onboarding its first customer, Pex achieved profitability, a milestone that was made possible by moving to Google Cloud Platform. By using preemptible virtual machines on Google Compute Engine—affordable, short-lived compute instances suitable for batch jobs and fault-tolerant workloads—Pex reports it saves up to 80%.

“Google’s preemptible instances are more cost effective than the competition’s spot instances,” says Rasty. “There’s no other provider that gives us the speed, scale, and reliability of Google Cloud Platform, and it’s extremely affordable. We’ve grown tenfold, and we’re still spending less money. It literally saved our business.”

About Pex

Pex delivers analytics and rights management with simplicity, speed, and accuracy, bringing transparency to the digital space. The Los Angeles-based company empowers creators, brands, rights owners, and analysts to uncover and explain the true reach of online video and audio, including what people watch, where they watch it, and why they share it.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States
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12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE