adidas Runtastic: Thousands of pieces of audiovisual content for 172 million users
The traditional broadcast world, the one that includes television, has been forced to manage a growing volume of audiovisual assets. Both the explosion of new channels and the structuring of different target audiences have led to ever increasing efforts by corporations to generate customized, adapted pieces.
This trend has also pervaded the applications that we can find on our mobile devices, which serve as windows to thousands of audiovisual items. On occasions like the ones we are dealing with, these are specially created for a given event.
Adidas Runtastic, although it started as a small startup, is now a giant in the world of mobile applications. With more than 323 million downloads and 172 million registered users, it generates a significant volume of pieces produced entirely in-house every week. We found out more details about how the company manages its media section thanks to Andrzej Kozlowski, Workflow Manager for Media at Adidas Runtastic.
adidas Runtastic is a really popular app with millions of followers around the world. How many people work creating content for the app + related services?
What started as a small start-up in 2009 is now an international company in the digital health and fitness space with more than 280 employees from over 41 different nations. Together we work on creating the best products, content, and experiences. We can proudly say that our products are available in 10 languages. And although we’ve been working remotely for almost a year now, our amazing company culture hasn’t suffered under these circumstances.
What’s your particular role in adidas Runtastic, Andrzej?
I’ve been working as a Digital Media Designer at Runtastic for over 6 years, which is basically an all-round role including video editing, motion graphics, and even some 3D work here and there. However, as our marketing demands and team grew, I was more and more engaged in streamlining/-automating processes and workflows. That’s what led me stepping into my new role one year ago as Workflow Manager for Media. One of my first steps was researching and procuring an Asset Management system that would cover our needs.
What makes adidas Runtastic special compared to other apps in terms of content production and distribution?
We’ve been a proud part of the adidas family since 2015 and follow the same vision: through sport, we have the power to change lives.
– More than 323 million app downloads.
– With personalized training plans and a commitment to motivate and educate, Runtastic wants to create the best possible running and training experiences for the more than 172 million registered users. The goal is to inspire every individual to live a more conscious and active lifestyle, leading to a longer and happier life.
– We have various in-house experts, such as dietitians and fitness professionals, and as we’re part of the adidas family, we have access to amazing adidas athletes (e.g. Haile Gebrselassie, Karlie Kloss)
– Motivating features in our app that make us special.
– From videos, texts, localization, and more – everything you can see in our apps and our (social / content) channels is produced in-house. I think that’s what makes our company very special: we don’t outsource anything to agencies.
Does adidas Runtastic have an on-site studio to produce the content we view through our smartphones? If so, could you tell us more about that setup?
Recently, we’ve set up a brand new content studio, dubbed “The Foundry”, in which we can produce all our content in-house. It is already equipped with state-of-the-art cameras, lights, and revolving sets for our different content styles and we’ve had a couple of successful shoots there already. Upgrades and improvements aside, we are planning to introduce live broadcasting in the near future.
We know that adidas Runtastic publishes lots of content via social media. Is there a way to quantify this? How many hours of content (or number of pieces) do you work on monthly?
We are very active on social media – we are posting content on a daily basis on Facebook and Instagram, weekly on Youtube, most often localized in six languages. Although I don’t know the exact number, it’s a lot. From the Media Team’s perspective, I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of shoots we have over the last couple of years.
adidas Runtastic manages a large number of assets to provide original content to its customers and social media fans. What system do you use to manage these assets?
Until we partnered up with IPV we’d been struggling with proper asset management. All footage was spread out across network storage and external hard drives, hard to find and hard to screen. With IPV Curator, however, we’ve found a perfect fit for our needs. Many asset management systems deal with finalized assets, but our requirements were to have a proper overview and catalogue over our raw footage as well as support for our editors and designers during the post-production stage. Curator covers all of that.
What software do you use to create the pieces that are then shared by the adidas Runtastic team?
Our main tool is the Adobe Creative Cloud – Premiere Pro and Photoshop being the main tools, but we also make frequent use of After Effects and Illustrator.
Do you have a unified system within your facilities to produce the pieces?
As far as asset generation goes, especially video post production, we’re relying on IPV Curator’s production features. Before that, we had defined processes in place, on paper, but far from unified.
Covid-19 has transformed the way media houses work, especially when it comes to remote work. How did you adapt to remote workflows? What system did you use to continue working? Did you use tools in the cloud? Did you opt for a VPN connection?
Adapting to remote workflows was not too complicated from the general standpoint of the company, as we already had everything online (from Google accounts, Wiki, Slack, to VPN and Jira). Why? Because we have 3 offices in Austria (Vienna, Linz, Salzburg) and many employees are able to work from other countries. Therefore, a lot of communication between the offices and amongst the teams already was online before the remote set-up. That made it easy to adapt ourselves to the new circumstances.
However, for our media department it was not that easy. We had to resort to sending footage to our editors via postal service (on hard drives). IPV Curator is game-changing for us in this regard. Not only can our editors stream proxies from the cloud directly into Premiere, we can also conform remotely, as all of our footage is now stored in the cloud. No need for shipping hard drives any more.
On a general company level, we had to find new ways to connect as a team. We have more meetings to see each other virtually, connect with each other via virtual coffee chats or have regular online pub quizzes to support our vivid company culture.
We even hired lots (over 50 team members) of talent last year remotely and did the whole onboarding experience virtually.
What’s the biggest challenge regarding media at adidas Runtastic?
It was definitely a tedious challenge to have a good overview of our assets and the delivery thereof before we switched to Curator. Now it’s very easy.
However, our plans to grow content production is an exciting challenge, as well as creating an internal platform to work with and distribute our content, which Curator is a big part of. These challenges are well under way and it’s an exciting time of growth for us.
What’s the future of media at adidas Runtastic? Will you surprise your followers with Augmented Reality content, for example? Are you currently working on innovative formats for your fans?
One of our more immediate goals is definitely to create more content for our users and followers that is meaningful and helpful, and with the Foundry studio and Curator on our side we’re just getting started!
But our teams are also always researching innovative formats and concepts, be it in our adidas Running and Training apps or on our blog and social media.