The Telegraph: Delivering the future of news today

About Telegraph Media Group

The Telegraph is a multimedia news publisher with brands that include The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph is one of the most widely circulated daily broadsheet newspapers in the UK. It reaches a global audience of more than 89.1 million readers monthly over print, The Telegraph website, and digital apps.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: United Kingdom

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About Claranet

Claranet specializes in helping customers modernize and run their critical applications, data, and infrastructure. They operate in Europe, North America, and South America and offer managed services, professional services, and training.

Using Google Cloud Platform, The Telegraph analyzes digital behaviors to understand audiences and improve engagement and advertising performance across a growing number of channels and platforms.

Google Cloud Results

  • Gains insight into audience and customer landscape to inform product, design, and marketing decisions
  • Processes daily advertising campaign performance data in 8 minutes compared to 2.5 hours
  • Uses real-time analysis to instantly receive feedback on errors
  • Moved and modernized three environments of the legacy CMS, comprising VMs and 2 TB of data, to containers in GKE

Processed up to 4TB of data in less than a minute

The Telegraph delivers quality, trusted, award-winning journalism, 24 hours a day, across its digital and print properties as well as through leading digital partners. Founded in 1855, The Telegraph has built a diversified commercial model, with equal strength across advertising, subscriptions and circulation, commerce, and events. The Telegraph’s portfolio includes The Telegraph website and app, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph print titles, and The Telegraph Edition app.

Almost 22 million Britons consume content across the portfolio monthly, with a growing global digital audience through 89 million browsers a month enjoying The Telegraph’s perspective on the world. The Daily Telegraph is one of the most widely circulated daily broadsheet newspapers in the United Kingdom.

To remain competitive with other paid and free news sources, The Telegraph needs a greater understanding of how to reach customers effectively and engage them across channels. The company leverages a massive enterprise data warehouse that ingests more than 140GB of data daily to learn more about its existing and potential subscriber base.

The Telegraph began looking for a way to achieve real-time, actionable results to react to the changing market faster. Ultimately, the company chose Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to power its next-generation enterprise data lake. Through extensive testing and comparison, GCP proved to deliver the fastest, most cost-effective, scalable, and flexible solution for analyzing and delivering audience insights to support multiple facets of the organization’s digital advertising business.

“With Google Cloud Platform, we can effectively and efficiently bring together our granular data from multiple sources into a single data lake. We’re analyzing data and gaining insight in minutes so that we never miss our moment to optimize our interactions with audiences,” says Toby Wright, Chief Technology Officer at Telegraph Media Group.

“After migrating to BigQuery, teams can process the same data in eight minutes instead of in over two hours, with zero infrastructure management.”

Toby Wright, Chief Technology Officer, Telegraph Media Group

Engaging with readers

The Telegraph continually loads clickstream logs, advertising logs, and a range of other first- and third-party data sources into BigQuery for a deep and connected view of all behavioral data for analytics. By analyzing data from many sources, the publishing house gains a deep understanding of what interests its readers, which informs editorial, marketing, and advertising decisions.

Previously, it could take The Telegraph days to build, maintain, and tune data models. With Cloud SQL providing sub-second response times, GCP delivers deep-dive analytics in minutes so that teams can take advantage of the moment. Integration with Cloud Pub/Sub allows The Telegraph to provide millions of users with real-time content recommendations for even greater engagement.

Designing around data

Combining data and analysis in the GCP with TensorFlow, The Telegraph’s Data Science team constructs audience segments for content, recommendations, and advertisements that speak to readers. And on a bigger scale, understanding audiences can help publishing teams answer questions about product, design, and marketing.

As The Telegraph prepared to launch its premium subscription service, the company compared the reading habits of its most engaged customers to general audiences. “We could see that our most engaged readers were more likely to consume opinion and comment pieces, making these areas good candidates for premium content. This data fueled a productive discussion with our editors that helped shape the targets for premium production,” says Toby.

“Google Cloud Platform provides us the technology and data that we need to continue reaching audiences with quality content for another 160 years.”

Toby Wright, Chief Technology Officer, Telegraph Media Group

Communicating results to advertisers

One key part of business is reporting campaign results to advertising clients. Comparing the audiences to the previous day traditionally required at least 2.5 hours to crunch the numbers, not to mention significant hours spent spinning up and managing the infrastructure.

“After migrating to BigQuery, teams can process the same data in eight minutes instead of in over two hours, with zero infrastructure management,” says Toby.

Audience segmentation also plays a role in advertising success. The Telegraph uses the insights into reader behaviors to connect advertisers with receptive audiences or to find the most attractive way to promote subscriptions and paid content. Making the most of these diversified revenue streams is key to the publisher’s success in the changing news market.

“With more ways for consumers to consume our content, we believe that a diversified model is the key to our success. Google Cloud Platform provides us the technology and data that we need to continue reaching audiences with quality content for another 160 years,” adds Toby.

Continued commitment to modernization

TMG is focused on a subscriber-first strategy with the aim of reaching 10 million registrants and 1 million subscribers to the Telegraph by 2023—dubbed 10-1-23. As part of this strategy, TMG is always looking for ways to bring more value to their readers by making evergreen content easier to find, in a modern template.

To ensure that their technology platforms are always up to date, a key strategy for them is to always be upgrading and modernizing their platforms, and critically, their content management and distribution systems. In the last cycle of this strategy, the CMS was replatformed, and the one it replaced was kept active to serve the millions of archive articles. It was later discovered that this archive content was incredibly popular and drove a significant percentage of traffic. However, this content was not presented in it’s best form and was difficult to provide a consistent and modern reader experience. Clearly, having an older system supporting all this traffic was a risky proposition, but the challenges faced to migrate the legacy CMS were very high and, at that point, uneconomical.

"Often old CMSes are neglected and forgotten about, but we found that this particular CMS was still responsible for 10%–15% of all our web traffic,” explains Andrew Gregory, Systems Engineer Manager. “Plainly the content on the CMS was still useful and interesting to our audience, so making sure it was fully modernized and operating effectively would contribute greatly to achieving our 10-1-23 strategy."

The CMS supporting infrastructure had been built using old tools, and due to its age was starting to become unreliable. Andrew and the team decided that the best thing would be to migrate the CMS from their current provider to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), rather than spend time and resources fixing it. But its age and condition meant that migration promised to be almost as painful as fixing it—until the team heard about Migrate for Anthos.

Migrate for Anthos was built to be straightforward to use, giving anyone an easy path to modernize existing workloads into containers. And ultimately it did live up to that promise. Great teamwork between Telegraph, Google Cloud, and the partner, Claranet, provided the joint technical prowess to keep things moving forward. “I know that the Claranet team actually helped write some of the documentation for Migrate for Anthos as we went through the project,” Amit Lalani, Senior Systems Engineer, remarks, “and the representatives from Google Cloud were just as helpful. Any time we had an issue, they were on hand to quickly get things resolved for us.”

The migration moved the three environments of the legacy CMS, each containing 10 VMs, from The Telegraph’s current provider to GKE—in total, 2 terabytes of data. With migration completed, the CMS is now running in containers on GKE, giving The Telegraph better agility, scalability, and reliability than they were getting previously.

"It’s been great for our sanity. Managing our front ends is now so much easier—we know that if one fails then a new one will spin up automatically. Our editorial users get exactly the same experience as they are used to—even down to the URL they have to visit to interact with the CMS. So from a business perspective, the migration has been really successful."

Andrew Gregory, Systems Engineering Manager, The Telegraph

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

Contact us

About Telegraph Media Group

The Telegraph is a multimedia news publisher with brands that include The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph is one of the most widely circulated daily broadsheet newspapers in the UK. It reaches a global audience of more than 89.1 million readers monthly over print, The Telegraph website, and digital apps.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: United Kingdom

About Claranet

Claranet specializes in helping customers modernize and run their critical applications, data, and infrastructure. They operate in Europe, North America, and South America and offer managed services, professional services, and training.