CCI, SAXoTECH Form Partnership

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By: Jim Rosenberg

Updated at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, July 15

In the name of convergence, two Danish publishing systems vendors are partnering to integrate their software.

CCI Europe will work to tie its CCI Newsdesk editorial front-end system with SaxoTech’s Publicus Online Publishing System. CCI’s maintains U.S. offices in Kennesaw, Ga., while SaxoTech’s U.S. headquarters are in Rockville, Md.

CCI’s editorial and pagination software is used by many U.S. newspapers, including the largest metro and national dailies and, eventually, the entire Knight Ridder group, but it’s had no strong online component to offer. Meanwhile, dozens of dailies in this market, including the entire New York Times Regional Newspaper Group (NYTRNG), use SaxoTech’s Web content management system, but the company has only six U.S. customers for its SaxoPress editorial system, although one is quite large — the 290-seat Washington Times newsroom. Other U.S. publications and a Bermuda daily also use SaxoPress.

Announcing their deal, the vendors said their cooperation “grew out of the increased interest in Publicus as a Web publishing system among CCI NewsDesk customers.” Of course, it also may work the other way. The 14 small to mid-sized New York Times regional dailies that use Publicus for online editions now run seven different newsroom systems to create their print editions. “We actually have been reviewing CCI” for eventual group-wide system replacement, said NYTRNG Online Director Michael Schlein, adding, “I can’t imagine that their [cooperation with SaxoTech] would be a bad thing for them, in terms of our review.” CCI is supplying the new editorial systems for the parent New York Times Co.’s flagship and its two large New England dailies.

Though “the level of interest is high,” Schlein said a decision is not imminent, and NYTRNG would want “to see exactly what the integration would look like.” He explained that Web-integration requirements are a big part of his group’s requests for proposals to vendors. “Whatever system we would go with would have to reach very high levels of integration,” he said.

Besides moving all Web operations onto SaxoTech’s Publicus, NYTRNG standardized its business systems on Publishing Business Systems’ software. “We think that providing common platforms for our critical technology needs gives us big advantages in several ways,” Schlein said.

SaxoTech CEO Anders Christiansen and CCI Europe President Carsten J. Christensen both said that newspapers are demanding open solutions from their technology vendors — to allow for flexible integration of front-end editorial content systems and Web publishing tools.

“Despite competing with CCI Europe in the editorial front-end systems area from time to time, we have put aside our differences to develop something that will advance the industry,” said SaxoTech’s Christiansen.

To share information, the two companies will use the NewsML protocol, a standard based on the extensible markup language (XML). SaxoTech announced several yers ago that its development of a future cross-media publishing system would rely on XML. Both developers have embraced Adobe Systems’ InDesign technology: CCI first, coming from a proprietary pagination program: SaxoTech since Nexpo, coming from a partnership with Quark Inc. that gave it Xpress and early access to CopyDesk SE. Xpress-based pagination is still available to SaxoPress users.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story published on July 11 had incorrect figures for the number of SaxoTech’s editorial system customers in the U.S. The corrected client numbers are now included.

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