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/

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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– Naresh Khanna

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