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Case study

Checkmating media management challenges with

chessdotcom is a prominent internet chess server and social networking website. With a vast user base and diverse content offerings, the platform faced challenges in efficiently managing its extensive media library and streamlining content creation processes.'s journey is a tale of passion, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to its community. Founded by two visionaries, Erik Allebest and Jay Severson, driven by a love for chess and a desire to elevate the game's prominence,'s ethos transcends mere profit. Instead, they focus on enriching the chess community and fostering an unparalleled workplace environment. Since starting out, they’ve prioritized impactful content over intrusive ads, allowing them to forge a unique path in the digital landscape. Their content offerings range from video lessons to live streaming of events and tournaments. With an all-remote workforce spanning the globe, operates without physical offices or rigid schedules, embracing nimbleness and cloud-based infrastructure.

Erik and Jay’s dedication has propelled from humble beginnings to a thriving enterprise boasting over 700 employees. Fast Company has recently recognized them as one of the world's top 50 most innovative companies.'s success is a testament to its unwavering commitment to its mission.

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The situation

As chess popularity surged, inspired by television shows like "The Queen's Gambit," experienced exponential growth in its user base. However, with an extensive existing content library and a growing demand for more content, managing it all became increasingly challenging. encountered several challenges in its media management processes. First, they struggled with the absence of a structured workflow, leading to inefficiencies in organizing, managing, and sharing content. Second, their review and approval processes via Slack or Google Drive proved inefficient, hindering timely decision-making and collaboration among team members. Lastly, they faced difficulties publishing content on platforms such as YouTube, limiting their ability to reach their audience effectively. 

These problems highlighted the need for a comprehensive solution to streamline their content creation and distribution processes.

The solution

To address these challenges, Benjamin Attias, media asset manager at, was tasked with overhauling their media management strategy. After investigating several solutions, Attias spearheaded the implementation of iconik.

Attias also pointed out that the ability to bring their own storage and iconik’s robust API were also key features required from his team to create a unique media management environment that worked for them.

Their workflows

Attias focused on incorporating iconik into their main video workflows: broadcast and VOD (video-on-demand).

Broadcast seamlessly integrates iconik into its broadcast workflows, leveraging its capabilities at every production stage. 

MediaLive writes directly to's S3 bucket during live broadcasts in transport stream format. These clips undergo transmuxing via a script, ensuring readable timecodes and conversion to .mov files.

The S3 bucket, acting as scanned storage, automatically syncs with iconik every hour, archiving new assets from the broadcasts. These assets include ISOs of talent, players, various camera angles, and program feeds containing multiple audio stems.

Editors swiftly create social pieces covering the event using this content. Meanwhile,'s broadcast tech team uses iconik to ingest clips for their playback machine, facilitating seamless integration into the show. Additionally, the replay machine pushes clips captured during the broadcast to iconik.

In the Events collection, each event possesses its subcollection housing a structured hierarchy of assets. This includes broadcast records, on-site B-roll, editor-made broadcast cuts, archival footage, broadcast assets like wipes and transitions, and other media associated with the event.

Furthermore, the broadcast's replay machine connects to an ISG, automatically sending clipped content to iconik for easy categorization and post-production use. The playback box serves as an export destination in iconik, enabling the swift transfer of assets for broadcast use with a simple click, streamlining the production process.

iconik- - Broadcast infographic (1)

Iconik is pivotal in's video-on-demand (VOD) workflows, empowering diverse users, from editors to producers and other media stakeholders. Leveraging download scripts running on EC2 VMs connected to ISGs, has backed up many media sources, including Google Drive, NAS devices, personal collections, Vimeo, and YouTube. 

This concerted effort has amassed around 300,000 assets, meticulously organized with proxies comprising 100TB of data. This treasure trove of media spans multiple decades, solidifying's position as possibly the world's largest repository of chess-related content.

The foundation of's VOD workflow lies in its meticulously structured collection system, featuring main collections and a multitude of subcollections, forming intricate collection trees. Every piece of content finds its designated home within this system, reflecting's commitment to organization and accessibility. 

With many collections covering events, raw footage, promotional material, instructional content, brand assets, and social media content, ensures that every asset is appropriately categorized and easily retrievable. has defined various content types to streamline operations further, each corresponding to specific collections within iconik. The system caters to a diverse range of media formats, from long-form and short-form content to clip compilations, game commentary, interviews, and listicles.

A standardized naming convention ensures that all edited pieces contain essential information embedded in their file names, seamlessly reflected as asset names in iconik. This facilitates efficient search and retrieval, enhancing workflow efficiency. also harnesses iconik's review and approval feature to facilitate collaborative editing processes. Upon uploading the initial version of a piece, reviewers are notified, enabling team members to leave time-coded notes and feedback. Subsequent versions are uploaded iteratively until the final version receives approval, ensuring a smooth editorial workflow.

Editors can work with proxies and the Adobe panel or opt for original files, uploading content via the web interface or iconik Agent. Transcriptions are utilized for long interviews, facilitating closed captioning, or aiding producers in making editorial notes.

Beyond events, conducts numerous shoots worldwide for social content, feature films, and partnerships. On-site media managers ingest content daily via the iconik Agent, coordinating deliveries with the team for seamless integration into the workflow.

Share links are regularly utilized to distribute content internally, to external partners, and as upload locations for individuals without iconik accounts. Furthermore, explores avenues like AVOD and FAST distribution, delivering content to partners via shared collections and custom metadata views tailored to their requirements.

In addition to internal distribution, shares content with external productions or networks for various film and distribution projects, leveraging share links or providing browse accounts with carefully tailored access controls.

Access control lists (ACLs) and ACL groups are instrumental in safeguarding sensitive content, ensuring that specific assets remain inaccessible to certain groups or individuals within the organization, thus maintaining data integrity and security.

Backlight - - VOD infographic (1)


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The result

After only five months of usage, has experienced significant improvements in its media workflows. “Our team is very unique and international in scope, and even though we only started using iconik 5 months ago, we are using it heavily, with over 40 users, hundreds of thousands of assets, 100's of terabytes of media, and we are utilizing the toolset in many different creative ways to fit our needs,” says Ben.

With over 40 users leveraging the platform and managing hundreds of thousands of assets totaling hundreds of terabytes, iconik has become an integral part of their content creation process. The platform's versatility has allowed to explore various creative approaches tailored to their unique needs.

They’ve streamlined content review and approval processes, ensuring a more efficient workflow. They've also facilitated enhanced collaboration, fostering greater synergy in content creation efforts. They’ve also enabled the efficient organization of's extensive library of video and image assets over 15 years, ensuring easy accessibility and management.

“One of our producers wanted footage of a specific player and asked me if it would be possible to find any. In just a few moments, I could search for the player’s name in iconik and share all our assets with that producer.” Benjamin explained. “That would have taken hours if not days before.”

Finally, iconik has laid the groundwork for a structured framework for future media management, providing scalability and adaptability to evolving needs and challenges. 

By embracing iconik, has successfully addressed its media management challenges, paving the way for more streamlined content creation processes. The partnership between and iconik exemplifies the transformative impact of innovative solutions in meeting the evolving needs of digital content platforms.

Streamline your media management

Iconik is more than just media management; it's a space where your team can easily connect, collaborate, and deliver exceptional work.