PRISA Group: Breaking news and driving engagement with better analytics

About PRISA Group

PRISA is one of the world’s leading Spanish and Portuguese-language media groups in the creation and distribution of content in the fields of culture, education, news and information, and entertainment. With a presence in 24 countries, PRISA reaches millions of people through its global brands EL PAÍS, LOS40, Santillana, W Radio, and As.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: Spain

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PRISA built a scalable, high-performance analytics platform with BigQuery to gain insight into its customer base and improve its media products, including major Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS.

Google Cloud results

  • Ingests, processes, and analyzes data for powerful insights with BigQuery
  • Helps to deliver reports 27% faster through Google Data Studio, empowering key decision-makers to act quickly
  • Drives user engagement with more relevant content on the homepage and pre-moderated comments

Cut project development time from four to six weeks to three to five days

The days of reading print newspapers may be coming to an end in Spain, according to a 2018 survey by the Estudio General de Medios, which indicated that the audience for print newspapers has almost halved in the last 10 years. With two thirds of respondents asserting that they access the news on smartphones, it may not come as a surprise that over just 12 years, 26 newspaper presses in Spain have closed their doors.

"To support this transition, we needed to provide our business and editorial teams with the ability to design, build, and deploy new functionalities in hours or days, not in weeks or months.”

Jorge Tomé Hernando, IT Architecture & Infrastructure Director, PRISA Tecnología

But while the Spanish newspaper industry is declining, its biggest selling national newspaper, EL PAÍS, owned by PRISA Group, has successfully transitioned from print to become the leading Spanish language news site worldwide according to ComScore data. Incorporating all elements of new media including text, video, and even social media apps, EL PAÍS has become a digital powerhouse, delivering Spanish and Portuguese language news to 90 million unique users every month across the world.

To manage this transition, PRISA Group had to become more skilled at driving traffic to its various channels, including EL PAÍS. But it was clear that if success was to continue, the Group needed to do more than just drive traffic. It needed to engage customers more deeply than before and work harder to understand what they cared about.

“To support this transition, we needed to provide our business and editorial teams with the ability to design, build, and deploy new functionalities in hours or days, not in weeks or months,” explains Jorge Tomé Hernando, IT Architecture and Infrastructure Director at PRISA Tecnología.

He adds: "Google Cloud Platform gives us the right set of tools to be able to cope with these demanding expectations about IT agility, capacity, and intelligence.”

Deeper insights, deeper engagement with Google Cloud

For years, traditional news publishers have been struggling with declining subscriptions and ad revenues. At the same time, many have been slow to adapt to digital media. EL PAÍS was determined to thrive in the new digital landscape and use technology to transform from a traditional “one size fits all” model to a more responsive, customized one that can engage with users.

The existing infrastructure meant that much of the data operations and management was still done manually and ad hoc. The company wanted to create a new system that could automate as much of the operations as possible, freeing journalists and developers to work on generating better stories and content.

It also wanted to get more information about customer behavior, which required a much more sophisticated data solution. However, analytics at that scale was simply not possible with the existing infrastructure, so EL PAÍS turned to the cloud. While familiar with more traditional data products, the IT team chose Google Cloud for its machine-learning solutions and after seeing how easily the platform integrated with the company’s existing content management system and architecture.

“With BigQuery, we never worry about deploying new hardware. We simply add the resources we need each moment. Deployment time is impressive, so we can adapt capacity easily, which allows us to adjust the cost to what we really need, and we can keep being focused on our business.”

Jose Manuel Meroño, Data Strategy Manager, PRISA Noticias

After deciding on Google Cloud, the first task for EL PAÍS was to collect and collate all its data in one place. With a proprietary tool, the company transforms all its data to the JSON format. The IT team then built an internal content API with Cloud Endpoints and App Engine, which transfers the standardized data to BigQuery, acting as both repository and analytics platform. With BigQuery, the IT team can use the command line directly in Google Cloud, which means working quickly and efficiently. The lack of hardware also means EL PAÍS can scale its analytics operations on demand to quickly accommodate large sets of data without having to sink costs into new infrastructure.

“With BigQuery, we never worry about deploying new hardware. We simply add the resources we need each moment,” says Jose Manuel Meroño, Data Strategy Manager at PRISA Noticias. “Deployment time is impressive, so we can adapt capacity easily, which allows us to adjust the cost to what we really need, and we can keep being focused on our business.”

EL PAÍS has also enhanced its analytics capabilities with some of the machine learning elements of Google Cloud. The Cloud Natural Language API analyzes all the articles written on the platform and extracts all kinds of information that wasn’t collected before, such as syntax and composition. It also gives the company far more insight into users’ comments, helping to screen out toxic commenters and creating a better community for users. The Cloud Vision API helps EL PAÍS to automatically categorize every image it holds for easier management and distribution.

“We generated operational, editorial, and analytics dashboards accessible to all employees with Google Cloud. That democratized our data and made us much more efficient. Now that we are all speaking the same language, the decision-making process is more fluid.”

Angélica Domínguez, Customer Strategy Manager, PRISA Noticias

Democratizing data, satisfying customers

By September 2018, EL PAÍS had a data platform built with cutting-edge machine learning and analytics tools that could collect and analyze more information than ever before. The creation of the operations dashboard had a huge impact on project management.

“We generated operational, editorial, and analytics dashboards accessible to all employees with Google Cloud,” says Angélica Domínguez, Customer Strategy Manager at PRISA Noticias. “That democratized our data and made us much more efficient. Now that we are all speaking the same language, the decision-making process is more fluid. We’ve reduced development time for new projects from four to six weeks down to three to five days.”

Key decision-makers in the business now receive richer content reports 27% faster than they did before, allowing them to react faster with better information. With a more efficient and automated process, the IT department at EL PAÍS can now reassign its data team to work on more strategic tasks for the business and look for new insights and features.

EL PAÍS customers meanwhile have already seen improvements, with more relevant stories on their homepage. Now that there are fewer toxic comments, thanks to the pre-moderation, readers can also engage in more fruitful discussions over the stories they care about.

With Google Cloud, EL PAÍS, supported by PRISA Group, has found a way to listen to its audience and transform itself to better care for their needs, with data-driven solutions.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About PRISA Group

PRISA is one of the world’s leading Spanish and Portuguese-language media groups in the creation and distribution of content in the fields of culture, education, news and information, and entertainment. With a presence in 24 countries, PRISA reaches millions of people through its global brands EL PAÍS, LOS40, Santillana, W Radio, and As.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: Spain