Language & archival & media asset management solutions

Archival & ePaper solutions for news media from 4Cplus

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Delhi-NCR based 4Cplus is a news publishing and digital media software and solution supplier that has contributed to the digital transformation of many Indian language and global news organizations with its software solutions. It is a developer and integrator who kept up with clients in their digital transition over the past 35 years and their ambitions to diversify to radio and television.

Media organizations have a vast repository of content, a rich asset base of articles, photographs, old newspapers or magazine editions, transcripts, and audio and video files. The last couple of decades have seen the digitization of much of this legacy content into ‘digital assets.’ The content currently generated on a day-to-day basis is digital in any case. The big challenge for media companies is how to manage and preserve this content so that it can easily be made available to the newsroom and how to monetize their assets through syndication.

Searchable ePaper

From the days of managing content using a relational database into Indian language pages for the page making and publishing of multi-edition dailies, its software now manages new and legacy multimedia content. 4C has two solutions that help newspapers maintain and manage their archives. The first is an ePaper solution that makes the editions available online not only to subscribers or readers but also to the space sellers and editorial users. The ePaper is searchable, making it easy to dig out an old article or find an advertisement carried earlier.

4Cplus has also helped many newspaper organizations to scan and digitize old newspapers. Since newsprint turns yellow and brittle with age, it has a short lifespan and is hard to preserve, and the analog or physical copies of publications require a lot of care when being handled. 4Cplus has specially trained resources and scanners for old newspapers.
By zoning each article on the scanned page, a clipping view of each article is created. The OCR scan enables retrieval and conversion of most of the language texts with accuracies of up to 95%, allowing the digitized archives to be searchable. The Indian Express Group, The Bennet-Coleman Times of India Group, The Free Press Journal, and Madhyaman are some of the customers for whom 4Cplus has digitized legacy archives.

Media asset management system

The second solution is 4C-MAMS, which is a digital media asset management system. News organizations receive thousands of stories, often accompanied by photos or videos, from wire services, reporters, bureaus, stringers, and even citizen journalists. The 4C-MAMS solution allows this content to be curated and archived. What content to archive and what to discard is a tough call, but broadly speaking, these include newswire stories and stories that have no archival value.

The significant feature of the 4CPlus solution is its 4C-MAMS platform to archive text, PDF, MS Office documents, photos, cartoons, graphics, Quark Xpress, Adobe InDesign pages, audio and videos created, used or received by the publisher. The 4C-MAMS allows secure web-based access by users from anywhere at any time and supports multiple locations of archive libraries.

Security at each level is based on the access rights and privileges that are authorized to each user. Since 4C is a specialist in non-Roman languages, the system is based on Unicode, which now supports a large number of Indian languages and scripts apart from other non-Roman languages.

The 4C MAMS solution is efficient since it uses low-resolution proxy files of photographs and videos that allow them to be searched and previewed quickly, even with regular Internet connectivity. There are powerful no-SQL and advanced search tools to retrieve articles based on filters up to five levels, of asset type, format, people, mood, location, categories, and sub-categories. Search results can be efficiently shared between users by sharing links since every asset now has its own URL.

Rights management is generally a feature of every asset management system these days, and 4C MAMS allows defining rights and other conditions of use and re-use of archived content. Images are shown as published or unpublished, and if published, the number of appearances, the page, and the issue date are provided. With a high level of automation and integration with other solutions and systems, the information available in third party systems is automatically pre-populated in the 4C-MAMS.

The solution can be seamlessly integrated with third party editorial or content creation systems, newsroom computer systems for broadcasters, and digital content management systems. It also works as a document management system integrated with ERP solutions. 4C’s MAMS is also used as a backend to store and categorize content to be re-used and licensed and for syndication. The Hindustan Times or HT Media group is one of the media organizations that is using 4C’s solution to monetize content through its syndication site https://www.contentgarden.in/

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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