Speeding up video delivery

At PGA TOUR Digital, we’re always looking to deliver the best content to our fans and part of that is ensuring that the experience of consuming content is both easy and enjoyable. Video is an important part of our content strategy and every year the amount of video coverage we deliver increases exponentially. In 2015 alone, we published over 11,000 videos across all our platforms. While the amount of content has continued to increase, we haven’t done much in the way of improving the viewing experience since our website relaunch in 2014.

If you’ve ever visited PGATOUR.com, there’s a good chance you’ve watched at least one video and an even better chance you could have taken a short nap between the time you hit play and when the video actually started. We’re not proud of it, but we’re here to tell you, that’s changing. Over the next few months, we will be making drastic improvements across our website and apps to enhance the video viewing experience.

Before we get into the fun stuff, it’s important to look at where we’re at now to establish a baseline by which we can compare our improvements to later.

First View

PGATOUR.com First View

Repeat View

PGATOUR.com Repeat View

 

First View* Repeat View w/ Cache* Target Goal
First Paint 3.28s 3.59s < 2s
Fully Loaded 34.99s 12.65s < 8s
Video Display to Start 9.02s 5.12s < 2s
*5Mbps download/1Mbps upload

 

How Do We Get There?

We’ve got a lot in the queue coming up in the next several months to revamp our video experience. Some of the highlights include:

HTML5 Video Player – HTML5 video players have been around for quite some time, but until more recently there were a lot of issues with browser support and adaptive bitrate playback for delivering smooth streaming with less buffering. Even YouTube, who debuted an HTML5 player in 2010, didn’t start defaulting to HTML5 until 2015. Now’s our turn! We will be switching to a brand new HTML5 first player that will be light and fast to load.

Optimizing Page Assets and Delivery – Our video pages are pretty bloated right now, increasing the overall page load time drastically. We’ll be doing a major overhaul of our current page architecture to bring down the overall page size and to prioritize the loading of assets to speed up page load times and load the most important content first.

UI/UX Updates – There will be a number of cosmetic and functionality updates we are going to make to our video pages in an effort make navigating and searching our vast library of content faster and easier than ever before. No spoiler alerts here.

Performance Tracking – The plan isn’t to make these updates and forget about them, but to continue to build upon these numbers and make sure going forward, our video experience stays the best it can be. With our video performance analytics, we’ll be able to monitor our baseline and ensure we’re continuing exceed it.

Keep checking back to PGA TOUR Labs for a follow-up post on our progress after our initial round of video updates!