Banzai

Banzai enriches its digital video offering and ensures the best viewing experience on mobile devices

Thanks to Akamai, we can offer our viewers a seamless online experience and successfully manage seasonal traffic peaks. Akamai technology plays a fundamental role in our business development.

Andrea Santagata , Chief Executive Officer , Banzai Media

The Situation

Banzai is the leading Italian e-commerce operator as well as a major player in digital publishing in Italy. Founded by Paolo Ainio, a web pioneer in Italy, Banzai employs more than 440 people and, is one of the most important digital companies in the country with revenues of 153 million euros in 2013. Each month, over 18 million unique visitors access Banzai’s e-commerce and vertical publishing websites, which include, ePRICE, SaldiPrivati, GialloZafferano, Pianeta Donna, Studenti, IlPost and Liquida, among others.

With a catalogue of more than half a million items across hundreds of different categories and thanks to a wide range of different services offered, ePRICE is one of the largest Italian online marketplaces specialized in high-tech and household appliances. With more than 2 million registered users, SaldiPrivati is one of the most important online outlets selling clothes, shoes, and accessories as well as household and family products.

Thanks to an innovative approach, Banzai offers a distribution channel for more than thousands of brands and a communication channel for more than 450 advertisers.

The Challenge

Delivering online video is increasingly important for an Internet company like Banzai, leader in all editorial segments targeted at women, young people, as well as audiences interested in cooking and digital information. According to data published by ComScore for October 2014, Banzai Media ranks third in terms of users reached by its videos, with 8 million unique viewers in Italy alone, behind Google/YouTube and Facebook. Moreover, it is the leading Italian property, with 30% penetration among Internet users in Italy.

Banzai has historically relied on YouTube to satisfy the video demands of its web visitors. Although Banzai has appreciated the wider visibility and reach enabled by this channel, it needed greater control over the management of its video distribution and traffic peaks. While using YouTube, Banzai found there were limitations in its advertising format options and, most importantly, how maximizing advertising-generated revenues had become very challenging.

The Goals

Banzai needed to meet five key requirements to support its business objectives:

  • Effectively manage content delivery: Banzai needed a means of delivering content directly to end users, ideally using a platform that it could control and manage directly.
  • Enrich its digital video offering: The company wanted to implement new video formats, increase distribution, and multi-device viewing options.
  • Manage seasonal traffic peaks: Banzai wanted to ensure an optimal viewing experience, even when it experienced high-load traffic surges.
  • Increase advertising revenues: The company wanted to generate higher margins from its advertising revenue and activity.
  • Efficiently support the emerging mobile market: Banzai wanted to keep pace with growing consumer preferences for mobile devices without dramatically changing its workflow or infrastructure.

Why Akamai

Choosing the Best Technology

After evaluating different solutions, Banzai selected Akamai's Media Delivery Solutions for video delivery on both desktop and mobile devices. This, along with Akamai Media Analytics, provides maximum visibility of viewer service and merchandising preferences. According to Banzai Media’s CEO Andrea Santagata, “Akamai’s technology is the best for managing peak traffic and ensuring high-quality delivery.” Akamai solutions are complemented by Meride, a platform offered by Akamai partner Mosaico for the delivery and management of video content.

Engaging and increasing audience ratings

In 2013, Banzai made numerous investments to enrich its digital video offering. These include putting an editorial team in place entirely dedicated to video production and the implementation of new video formats and multi-device modes for consumption and distribution.

Banzai supports these improvements with advanced technology. Thanks to Akamai's Media Delivery Solutions, Banzai can strive for uninterrupted HD video streaming, manage online traffic peaks of up to 3Gbps, and aim to deliver 15Tb of traffic everyday. With Akamai Media Analytics Banzai can measure audience engagement and video consumption, as well as view user trends and more. In addition, through its use of Akamai technology, which delivers video to mobile applications on all platforms, Banzai can also offer superior mobile user experience.

Getting More from Video Advertising

By replacing YouTube with an in-house platform powered by Akamai, Banzai gained greater flexibility with all advertising formats, making it much easier to personalize its video content to reflect viewer preferences. This in turn helped it increase advertising revenues and achieving a higher profitability. Through a new video Content Management System (CMS) fully integrated with its existing editorial CMS and following a broadcast programming logic, Banzai’s video editorial team can deliver the same video throughout its network.

Handling Traffic Peaks with Ease

Ensuring fast performance – especially in the case of videos related to special events – is critical for Banzai. For instance, dramatic traffic surges are experienced yearly on its cooking website GialloZafferano during the holiday seasons; the same occurs on its portal targeted at students (Studenti.it) during the exams period.

These traffic peaks present a lesser challenge now thanks to Banzai’s use of Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator, which enables consistent performance for site visitors around the world. Since adopting this solution, Banzai has improved average site performance by 43% across Italy and by283% on a global level. Banzai’s web portals and videos can now always be accessed and viewed by visitors in high quality. Banzai has experienced an impressive increase of video impressions from 30million in the first two quarters of 2013to over 166 million in the first half of 2014. This 453% rise was registered in the four most important areas in terms of Banzai’s advertising income: women, cooking, news and young people. Notably, Banzai has achieved this increase without any additional infrastructure.

By taking advantage of Akamai solutions, Banzai has realized superior website performance, scalability, traceability and a positive ROI. “Thanks to Akamai, today we can offer our viewers a seamless online user experience and successfully manage seasonal traffic peaks. Now and in the future, Akamai technology will play a fundamental role in our business development,” concludes Santagata.

About Banzai

Banzai is the leading Italian e-commerce operator as well as a major player in digital publishing in Italy. Founded by Paolo Ainio, a web pioneer in Italy, Banzai employs more than 440 people and, with a 2013 revenue of 153 million euro, is one of the most important digital companies in the country. Each month, over 18 million unique visitors access Banzai’s e-commerce and vertical publishing websites, which include, among others, ePRICE, SaldiPrivati, GialloZafferano, Pianeta Donna, Studenti, IlPost and Liquida.