Deccan Herald & Prajavani using ppiMedia’s Content-X

ppi Media's editorial and multi-channel content system

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Deccan Herald & Prajavani start using Content-X
The Prajavani newsroom now uses the Unicode-friendly Content-X system

In search of a suitable new editorial system for their content and production operations, The Printers Mysore chose ppi’s Content-X in February 2017 and have been installing and integrating the system at their main site in Bengaluru for the past several months. The initial rounds of training of editorial and tech personnel are done with the creation of a project leader and several superusers. As we saw on our visit to Bengaluru’s main editorial office in mid-August, stories for the print versions of both Deccan Herald in English and Prajavani in Kannada are being entered by journalists and edited and processed in the browser-based and Unicode-friendly Content-X system. The pages are made in Adobe InDesign.

Journalists and editors are using the new editorial and workflow systems to produce the daily editions of Deccan Herald and Prajavani as well as two magazines—Sudha and Mayura. The page planning tools are used to configure the pages for the various presses at the group’s seven printing plants across Karnataka. Gradually, the new system will be used to publish and continuously update both the print and new media channels.

The Content-X editorial system stores content in the digital asset management system in a media-neutral XML format, which can be played out in digital and print, covering the full range of publishing channels. Essentially, the ppi Context-X system at the Deccan Herald group sits on top of Digital Collection’s digital asset management system, which can store and retrieve assets such as text, images, audio and video. The group plans to create variants and updates on the fly for channels including RSS feeds, social media such as Twitter, blogs, web as well as its print pages. The idea is that with the requisite set of preferences, structures, guidelines and workflow in place, updates in several channels can take place automatically and simultaneously. For instance, an update to a print story can also automatically broadcast a new tweet announcing the update in an appropriate way.

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The multi-channel functionality of Content-X helps users to automate and update across media channels

The Deccan Herald group (The Printers Mysore) is the first Indian publisher to purchase and install the complete suite of the Content-X multi-channel editorial and publishing system although eight other Indian dailies use ppi’s Classic production systems for ad booking, page planning and production. The group decided in favor of Content-X owing to its distinct multi-channel functionality and the extremely positive experience of leading news publishers. “We sent our technical professionals to the ‘Bangkok Post’ to evaluate the ppi Media editorial system, which we expect will help us automate and update our digital media channels,” says KN Tilak Kumar, joint managing director of The Printers Mysore.

Prajavani has a daily circulation of 527,300 copies and is printed in 7 locations, with 32 zonal split editions across Karnataka (ABC – January to June 2016). Deccan Herald, with a daily circulation of 286,540 copies, is largely focused in Bengaluru city (ABC – January to June 2016). In addition, the group publishes two Kannada magazines, including Sudha, a weekly lifestyle magazine, and Mayura, a monthly literary review also to be produced using Content-X. Sudha has a circulation of 75,000 copies, while Mayura has a monthly circulation of 25,000.

According to the project leader Ismail, a still young but veteran Kannada journalist who has been with Prajavani for nearly a decade, the multi-channel ppi system presents new possibilities because of its centralized workflow. Apart from its editing and workflow tools, he says there is a belief that ppi’s planning tools can be leveraged to produce a better newspaper although he says this will only become apparent in coming months. “A tool in itself will not really be very special. The issue is how we can use it for meeting new objectives.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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