Information System Update for a Multimedia Production Company

Transformation of a set of websites and services into a single high-performance system.  


Harpo Productions is a major multimedia production company delivering large volumes of content via a wide variety of distribution channels (TV, print media, web sites and services). Harpo Productions' founder is American talk show host and media proprietor Oprah Winfrey.

Our customer, Harpo Productions, has been successfully developing the Oprah Winfrey brand for more than 29 years. Every month, more than three million users visit the site and more than two million people read The Oprah Magazine.

One of the client's prime objectives was to transform an existing set of loosely coupled web sites and services into an easily manageable, high-performance, and highly scalable system. The system had to work on a single platform and make maximum use of the customer's key elements (e-mail, user directories, handling and storage of web content and media materials, generic information blocks, and branded graphics).


Axmor formed a dedicated development center, which worked exclusively on the client’s projects. The process of setting tasks, monitoring implementation, and identifying priorities was carried out in collaboration with our client. The main development cycle, including the selection of specific technical solutions, architecture design, code creation, and the first stage of testing was performed entirely by Axmor.

Java Enterprise Edition and Oracle Fusion Middleware platform were selected as the technology stack. This choice provided the advantage of deploying different sites and user services via the Oracle Portal, allowing us to use common content and design elements across various contexts (public portal, registered users zone, internal applications, thematic sub-sites).

Oracle Application Server
Oracle AS Portal
Spring Framework
Oracle Web Cache
Oracle Database
Oracle Intermedia
Apache Lucene
Oracle Internet Directory
Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On
Oracle JDeveloper
Oracle SQL Developer
Functional Capabilities
Unified User Management System

Axmor developed a common system for access control as well as user, group, and community management across all customer sites and services.

Marketing Campaign Tools

Axmor specialists developed modules for displaying thematic subsites and information blocks, enabling permanent and seasonal marketing campaigns to be carried out more efficiently. We also established mechanisms for running user sweepstakes, contests, and perks carried out by our customer and its partners. A complete promotions management cycle was implemented to assist site administrators. Features range from creating test-mode lotteries to a random generator for selecting winners, and automated notification tools.

User Community

We transferred personal user diaries to the new system and created a module for administrators to work with user feedback. To make communication on the customer's sites more convenient, we added components based on Clearspace for creating thematic discussion forums, "question-answer" systems, wikis and microblogs. To avoid dependence on external hosting and traffic loss, we equipped the system with a feature that allows users to upload, transcode, and store their photos, audio and video files directly onto the site. We created an easy-to-use search utility based on media type, format, size, keywords, and a wide range of other technical parameters (resolution, duration, codec, etc.). Axmor specialists also implemented pre-moderation options for photo, audio and video files, and the automated removal of outdated and untouched data.

Reorganizing the Media Archive

Prior to our collaboration with Harpo Productions, their media content was stored in folders of a regular file system, and the search was limited to file names. Together with the client, Axmor specialists designed and implemented a common storage and access system for photo, audio and video content - with advanced search, preview, format conversions, and users segregated by roles (reporters, photographers, videographers, editors, technical experts).

Auxiliary Tools for Technical Staff

During the work process we carried out a significant amount of tasks aimed at simplifying and facilitating the work of technical and administrative staff working on the client’s sites and services. Axmor implemented end-to-end analytics and reporting on visits and user activity across the entire family of sites and customer services (unique hits, conversion rate, search terms, etc.). For reсcurrent tasks and reports we implemented a mechanism for scheduling periodic actions. Furthermore, we created tools for migrating unstructured information and media content from the old to the new system with the addition of various metadata, aiding the creation of categories and simplifying the search functionality.

Advantages We Offer
  • Axmor specialists ensured that Harpo Productions maintained maximum use of their existing system when migrating their services and sites to the new system.
  • By fine-tuning the cache for the non-personalized elements of the web interface, we were able to substantially increase the loading and rendering speeds of the pages, at the same time decreasing the load on the client’s servers and network infrastructure.
  • Creating a secure web-based media archive management application available in all major web browsers eliminated the need to install software on employee workstations.
  • Organizing a dedicated center meant we were able to effectively distribute the workload related to the client's numerous projects. Thanks to our dedicated center, the customer enjoyed the benefits of quick decision-making and efficient technical support.
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