How EX.CO Helped Turn 1XL into a Video Powerhouse

June 26, 2024 - by
1XL Case Study

1XL is one of the most significant English-language digital media cooperatives in the world, providing advertisers access to 43 local and regional news publishers across the UK and Ireland. With a de-duplicated user reach of 34.7 million, it provides scalable access to over half of the UK digital population—a large, loyal audience that any publisher would envy. Ironically, though, the very commitment to quality that built that audience brought on a unique set of challenges for 1XL.

The company was in a bind. On the one hand, they were committed to maintaining the positive user experience their audiences had come to expect from their premium publishers. On the other hand, the dictates of publishing meant they needed to drive revenue, and fast. 1XL's leadership knew as well as anyone the sacrifices that are often made to hit revenue goals—how once-respected websites can quickly deteriorate through an excess of pop-ups and banner ads. They hoped to avoid that fate—to boost reader engagement and generate revenue without sacrificing quality. 

They knew video would play an important role here—but they also knew integrating video wouldn’t be easy. Collectively, 1XL is composed of hundreds of sites—Newsquest Media Group alone operates 200+—and each of these has different readers, different priorities, and different UX needs. 1XL would need a tech partner that could handle each website with the same care as the next, keeping UX top-of-mind while also managing to successfully monetize their video content at scale. And that's not to mention all the backend technical work that goes into any new partnership: transitioning CMS integration, migrating video libraries, matching video IDs, on and on.

In EX.CO, 1XL found the perfect partner for this pursuit. Our long-standing experts in the local media space were able to accommodate the many unique challenges presented by 1XL's portfolio—and to take the company to a new level of profitability.

How did we do it? Read on to find out.

In digital publishing, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all

At EX.CO, we don't believe in plug-and-play. We go to great lengths to meet the needs of each partner we take on. It's the difference between buying a suit off the rack and getting one tailored to your precise specifications—our goal is to make sure that everything fits, that there are no unsightly loose ends to potentially distract users.

In the case of 1XL and its vast portfolio of local media sites, that meant, first, meticulously mapping out their CMS' use-cases and features. From there, we equipped 1XL with the corresponding API endpoints needed to facilitate the transition, and to ensure a smooth switch in behavior, appearance, and content management from their existing online video platform (OVP) to the EX.CO platform.

We then leveraged our in-house solution to connect via API to their current OVP—seamlessly migrating their entire media library (including context like upload dates and metadata) to EX.CO. At the same time, all previously uploaded content was mirrored and replaced with EX.CO player equivalents throughout the migration process. This involved creating new EX.CO video IDs that corresponded to the video IDs of 1XL's initial OVP, in order to ensure a seamless transition.

These kinds of highly technical, custom-built solutions are EX.CO's bread and butter—and speak to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to video monetization success.

Contextual in a post-cookie world

Again: 1XL wasn't interested in simply loading up their properties with chintzy, easily-ignored junk advertisements. They wanted to grow engagement organically—by keeping users on-site for longer and using that spike in engagement to increase advertising revenues. Here, too, EX.CO's video monetization platform paid significant dividends.

Each of the thousands of EX.CO video players now dispersed across 1XL's pages functions as a content recommendation engine. Via AI, these players lead 1XL's vast audience down engagement rabbit holes, feeding them a seemingly endless stream of relevant content recirculated from 1XL properties. The contextual recommendations facilitated by EX.CO's online video platforms are especially useful here, as 1XL's local media properties all serve very specific geographic regions. 

This kind of seamless contextual content is more important than ever. Few would deny that contextual is the future of digital media—and with EX.CO's help, 1XL has received a head start.

Doubling revenue in just three months

The result here was exactly what 1XL had hoped for: ultra-engaged users encountering ultra-relevant contextual content—and dramatically boosting revenue in the process. The numbers speak for themselves: EX.CO's technology integrations resulted in an impressive 30 million+ monthly player loads and a nearly 4X higher dwell time, leading 1XL to double its monthly revenue within just three months.

And because EX.CO was able to tailor new user interfaces to individual 1XL publishers—granting them access to essential tools like video uploads and dynamic playlists—the partnership actually improved the relationship between 1XL and its publishers. Given the discord that top-down revenue decisions usually generate within media cooperatives, this was an extremely welcome outcome.

It's never been a harder time to be a media company: seemingly each week, there's another set of headlines about layoffs, contractions, and sell-offs. In this unhappy climate, 1XL has emerged as a genuine success story in the UK—modeling a way forward for digital publishers who want to expand their monetization efforts while enhancing, instead of sacrificing, user experience. EX.CO is happy to have played a role in that success through our best-in-class video monetization platform.

Interested in learning more?

Read the case study

Speak to an expert