Automated newspaper publishing software by Summit

Integrating newsroom operations

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Sunil Khullar, director of technology, Yashpal Bindra, chief executive officer, and Akshay Bindra, manager of sales, Summit Information Technologies, at the Summit office in Gurgaon. Photo IPP
Sunil Khullar, director of technology, Yashpal Bindra, chief executive officer, and Akshay Bindra, manager of sales, Summit Information Technologies, at the Summit office in Gurgaon. Photo IPP

Summit Information Technologies, a newspaper, magazine, and ePaper publishing software provider was established in 1991 with its first automated editorial content management software, News Pro, released in 2000.

The software provider was a pioneer in India to provide a news management system back then, and Maharashtra Times, a Times sister newspaper, was its first customer. Thereafter, the company sold its software to many leading Indian newspapers, including Punjab Kesari, Dina Malar, Amar Ujala, and The Statesman.

“We have customers beyond India as well, for instance, Wijeya Group, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon, and Virakesari from Sri Lanka who have opted for our software. Daily News from Thailand has been our customer since 2008, and Dawn from Pakistan, one of the oldest newspapers in the country, is also using our products,” said Yashpal Bindra, chief executive officer, Summit.

Liberty

When the digital media picked up after 2010 and readers started browsing the internet for news, new media portals began cropping up on the web, changing the way news was consumed. To enable newspapers and news media platforms to publish news on the web more efficiently, Summit upgraded News Pro to include online publishing and mobile media and was renamed ‘Liberty.’

Liberty can be integrated with publishing platforms such as WordPress to streamline and automate the publishing process. “Liberty can publish stories directly on the web, which can then be automatically put in pages for its print copy as well. Liberty has expanded horizons to simplify digital content management,” Yashpal said.

Apart from content management, Liberty also acts as a collaborative tool for newsrooms. The whole team in a newsroom works together through Liberty. Since newspapers have limited hours to come out with their product, the system acts as a server-based content repository in which members can edit stories, upload multimedia, share and upload content online, create pages and view each others’ content. “Content such as investigative stories are not supposed to be shared with everyone during its creation stages. With Liberty, newsrooms can even hide content on the system until it is published,” Yashpal explained.

Journalists or freelancers can submit stories from the field using their phones, and the editors receive it in newsrooms. The story can then be integrated with QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign to help with page making. Similarly, it can be integrated with MS Word and Open Office so that journalists can write stories in the format they are used to working.

Liberty can also help newsrooms to analyze the performance of their team. The system keeps a record of stories that can be rated by peers and senior management, according to Yashpal.

AdPro


AdPro, the advertisement management software by Summit, manages ads in most of the formats, including print, digital, display or classified, banner, or native. The software offers a dynamic workflow for booking, scheduling, planning, production, auditing, and billing of ads. It can be integrated with FA/ERPs such as SAP, Oracle Apps, and Navision and with InDesign and QuarkXPress for print production.

Earlier, AdPro was limited to release orders to print but is now upgraded to include digital ads. The software automates the workflow of ads with its learning capability. The software can learn where an ad is supposed to go in a page; it can be at the bottom or top, left of right, and center, and based on the financial details, it can calculate the payment of the ad and place it in a page or website. It can monitor the complete lifecycle of an ad right from procuring the order to publishing and billing.

Smart Paper

Summit launched Smart Paper in 2017, based off of Summit’s OneClick ePaper solution, a software to automatically create ePaper, that has been around since 2012. It provides a dynamic state of the art digital reading experience while being a replica of the print.

“Hindu Group was our first customer for Smart Paper, and their revenues multiplied by many times with our software. Most of the ePaper solutions at that time were desktop-centric; they were oblivious to the fact that most of the digital news is read on smartphones. Smart Paper is heavily focused on mobile-based design. Other dailies that found success with the software include Daily Thanthi, Mint, Eenadu, Mathrubhumi, and Hindustan Times,” Yashpal said.

Media Wall

Media Wall is a digital subscription and paywall management software for digital platforms by Summit. The software manages digital subscriptions, but it will also handle print subscriptions in the future. Media Wall keeps a record of login sessions, subscriptions, and content restrictions. “If you have free subscribers who have limited access to your content, the software ensures that they do not access the content that is reserved for paid customers,” said Akshay Bindra, sales manager at Summit.

Apart from managing the current subscribers, the software helps digital media to retain and get new subscribers as well. “On a digital media platform, you can have thousands of subscribers. It can be difficult to manage when their trial period or subscriptions are over. The software can automate the process of sending notifications of promotional codes and rewards for subscribing through emailers, push, and pop-up notifications at the end of a free sample period or subscription to get them to sign up or renew their subscription. It creates regular engagement of customers with a media platform, which makes it more likely for them to come aboard,” Akshay explained.

Summit is working on Media Wall to enable print media to sell subscriptions of their media channels on eCommerce websites like regular products. “Customers will be able to buy subscription packs for a newspaper from a platform they trust, such as Amazon or Flipkart. We experimented withThe Hindu subscriptions on Shopify and found that more work is yet needed to be done to make it work,” Akshay shared.

Asset Pro

Designed to manage archives, Asset Pro software can help newsrooms to keep a neat record of their archives, which can be accessed by journalists or librarians in little to no time. All content that is produced by a newsroom during a day can be added to archives on the same day. Summit will upgrade Asset Pro to enable newsrooms to monetize archives in the future.

Speaking about recent developments at Summit, Yashpal said, “Recently, The Daily Star, the largest English language daily in Bangladesh, invested in all of our products.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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