Atex System Handles SHP’s English, Chinese Classified Ads

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By: E&P Staff

After five years, Singapore Press Holdings now has the capability it sought to handle classified ads in many publications in several languages on a single system.

The Straits Times publisher is producing classified pages with a system supplied by Atex, Reading, England. The Classified Advertisements Sales Hub (CASH) enables SPH’s 17 newspapers, published in four languages, to manage booking, billing and pagination of approximately 7,000 classified ads sold every day.

Allowing SPH to manage rising customer expectations (color logos, special layouts, premium positions) and growing ad volumes, the new system overcomes limitations experienced with its 26-year-old legacy equipment, including the need for different systems to handle ads in different languages — one for Chinese and another for English and Malay. The Atex system handles them all.

The customer’s name for the particular implementation of the Atex Advertising system (entirely unrelated to the old Harris/Mediaspan classified system of the same name), CASH features an intuitive user-interface, making it more efficient and easier to learn, according to Atex.

SPH’s systems “had reached a point where they were fast becoming obsolete,” IT Project Director Ng Pue Sieng said in a statement. “The operating system for Chinese ads was no longer supported by the vendor, and we often had to make do with salvaging hardware from old consoles.”

Atex’s relationship with SPH started in 2004 with a 500-seat Atex content management system. “We learned then that a complex project of this nature requires a team effort,” Atex America Scott Roessler said in a statement. “To provide a flexible platform capable of handling both Chinese and English-language content in the same database… takes the dedicated effort of both Atex and SPH.”

The next year, however, Singapore Press Holdings contracted with CCI Europe for a single CCI AdDesk Sales system for its titles published in English, Chinese and Malay, with the aim of better managing booking and cross selling through a “centralized view of the customer that would facilitate better selling, management, prospecting and up-selling,” SPH executive Elsie Chua said at the time.

About halfway between then and now, Atex acquired Mactive, with its AdBase system, and went back to SPH to offer an ad-side solution.

What happened after that remains unclear, but it is believed that CCI’s contract was for system specification, and that it supplied no software to SPH.

“We did we did not proceed with CCI advertising system,” was all SPH IT chief Jseph Tan would say.

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