By: Jim Rosenberg
Freedom Communications Inc., owner of more than 100 newspapers, including the Orange County Register and more than two dozen other dailies, has signed a managed services contract with Atex, Burlington, Mass., and Melbourne, Fla., which will supply systems under a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, enabling Freedom to reduce operating costs.
Under what it calls one of the largest contracts it has been awarded, Atex will provide 66 months of fully hosted services for 1,279 editorial and advertising seats at all Freedom newspapers. It will install and maintain the systems in an Atex data center that Freedom sites across the country will access.
The SaaS model helps Freedom — a longtime Atex customer — spread the total cost of ownership across its properties, with Atex responsible for system management, back-ups, failover, security updates, and application upgrades.
Because the software resides at the Atex data center, the customer is relieved of certain hardware requirements, software installations and upgrades, and IT responsibilities. Software at all Freedom sites will be able to be upgraded simultaneously and remotely. The arrangement with Atex follows Freedom?s outsourcing of all IT functions.
For its newspapers, the company has contracted with Digital Technology International for a similarly ?cloud-based? circulation system (E&P Online, March 30), has outsourced display-ad makeup to 2AdPro and experimented with outsourcing some copy editing overseas.
Newsroom users will be able to write, edit and publish content from one system to any print or digital channel, including mobile devices. Atex Advertising affords full control of the entire process, from ad booking to print or Web placement. Atex Advertising also consolidates Freedom?s newspaper network onto one system, while standardizing the company?s advertising and accounts-receivable business and facilitating publishers? ability to cross-sell ads in each other?s papers.