With a high youth demographic, and a population whose first phone was a smartphone, Vietnam has unique conditions that are accelerating its pace of digital transformation throughout the country as it races to keep pace with neighboring countries.
Digital entertainment is one of Vietnam's boom industries. POPS, founded in Vietnam in 2007, has grown to become the leading digital entertainment company in Southeast Asia. It is the #1 network in Vietnam, providing 830+ channels and generating 4.4 billion views per month.
The trick, according to POPS’ Chief Technology Officer, Martin Papy, is “hyper-local content for every demographic.”
POPS scours audience data to inform new content formats, programming, promotions and deals with local and international content creators. Quickly developing and delivering new applications is central to POPS' go-to-market strategy. To achieve this, POPS has taken the strategic decision to run its suite of apps on MongoDB Atlas and Google Cloud.
The main POPS App is an all-in-one content platform and is available on smartphones, smart TVs, website, mobile and tablets. To compliment that app, POPS also recently launched POPS Kids. As the name suggests, Kids is for under-12s and provides a wide range of local and international edutainment and entertainment content.
“Deciding on the MongoDB database platform was a simple decision,” Martin says. “We could run it on-premises, it provides a straightforward architecture, and it comes with the full support for restful APIs out of the box. It made it easy for a team of two engineers to build our POPS Kids application very quickly.”
This setup worked fine when POPS was Vietnam-based only, with MongoDB running on POPS’ on-premises infrastructure, but was problematic when looking at spiky growth in international markets. “To scale, it was obvious we needed a cloud-based infrastructure,” Martin explained.
The advantage of using MongoDB Atlas is that it allows us to expand in the region without significant time investment from our team.Martin Papy, Chief Technology Officer, POPS
To solve that problem, POPS turned to MongoDB Atlas, MongoDB's fully managed cloud service, and chose Google Cloud as its cloud provider. Since POPS was already using YouTube and exporting its data from YouTube to Google BigQuery, moving its on-premises infrastructure to Google Cloud was the logical next step.
Along with allowing for scale, using MongoDB Atlas simplified the task of database and backup management for the POPS team. Within two years the POPS Kids app has gone from nothing to signing 1.5 million users and generated over 32 million views.
This is not simply a story of rapid growth. POPS has also reimagined its developer culture to retain agility as it adds capacity. POPS has reconfigured its monolithic architecture into smaller, more nimble microservices. Developers can now reuse existing components, saving time and freeing them to focus on service improvements.
Martin has a team of 50 engineers working full-time on the platform. In just a few clicks, the team can configure, restore or query any point in time in the database's history. It ensures both disaster recovery and the ability to quickly spin up environments for testing new features.
“The advantage of building our application using MongoDB Atlas is that it allows us to expand in the region without significant time investment from our team. We can take advantage of the multi-region replication to maintain our level of service. That is incredibly valuable to us," said Martin. This flexibility and capability meant that MongoDB could match POPS’ fast growth curve, from ambitious startup to regional enterprise.
For Martin, rapid expansion should not be at the expense of security and control. “MongoDB gives built-in control over all our data. It gives us enterprise-grade features to integrate with our own security protocols and compliance standards. We can deploy a dedicated cluster in a unique virtual private network with its own firewall," he added.
MongoDB Atlas now provides all of POPS's apps with a fully managed service on Google’s globally scalable and reliable infrastructure.
The broader business is thriving. POPS now provides music, esports, news and game show content to over 212 million subscribers. Today, POPS is present in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, and plans to add new markets in 2021. POPS Kids has become the most beloved and well-known kids’ brand in Southeast Asia.
Watch the full video from POPS' presentation at MongoDB.live here.