The Hindu, one of the largest news organisations in India, has been working with Stibo DX for some time. Michael Taylor, Sales Director at Stibo DX, talked with Suresh Vijayaraghavan, CTO of The Hindu, during the CMS Day of the Newsroom Summit about how the media company is upgrading to a new and integrated CUE CMS and DAM solution to support its digital-first strategy.

The Hindu’s snapshot of digital transformation

Vijayaraghavan began with a brief introduction to The Hindu, a celebrated brand of record but also the first newspaper in India to have its own website. He explained that the title now counts a 30-million-strong digital reach among its assets as part of its “journey of digital transformation.”

Vijayaraghavan spelled out that for people and therefore for readers “there is a fundamental desire to capture a moment and share it with others. Today we take a picture or video and share it instantly which was not the case previously. This whole transformative experience is what our readers are going through today.”

So digital transformation is driven by that user experience and expectation but successful delivery is about more than any single application.

“From a leadership standpoint, take a look at Blackberry compared to iPhone,” Vijayaraghavan explained. “In 2010 Blackberry owned 43% of the US market but didn’t understand the nature of an ecosystem. In 2013 it owned 4% of the US market. We have to look at how ecosystems are impacting our business. Simply put, the one with the best ecosystem wins.”

Story-first fuels CMS selection

In this case, ecosystem relates also to the need for an integrated rather than siloed approach. Vijayaraghavan underlined that “we need a very clear understanding of our readers, insight into their behaviour.” Asked what that means from a technology point of view, he boiled it down to “content is the king, and UX is the queen.”

While explaining that this makes it essential to be able to track exactly how readers interact with content, he also stressed that; “It’s all about the story. Mantras for modern news production have been plentiful – mobile-first, printfirst, etc. but story-first focuses on the content and for that we want an integrated toolbox.”

Asked how a decision on the choice of CMS impacts the ability to reach audiences, Vijayaraghavan replied: “If you don’t understand what readers want, you can’t deliver value. Digital storytelling formats could be plain text, video, or all these formats. Some readers want to read text, some want to watch videos and the choice of channel means we should be able to reach them in any way they want.”

Serving the right solution to the right segmented audience

While advocating reader freedom of choice, Vijayaraghavan highlighted the desirability of encouraging certain segments towards certain formats. “Older people who are used to print raise the question of how we transform them to online. One way is to have an online replica product of print, an e-edition but one where clicks take them to the online version. We also look for personalisation – if they are more interested in sports then we want more sports content delivered to them.”

All of this, these elements of engagement and retention are capabilities the Hindu looked for in their CMS and, in particular, the DAM process with a central repository of all digital assets from PDF through to audio with comprehensive metadata and version control.

That integration of CMS and DAM drew the Hindu towards the CUE suite.

Advice on the ideal CMS

To conclude, Vijayaraghavan was asked if he could summarise the issues that dominated when choosing a CMS. His list was admirably concise:

The CMS:

Must support your operation’s size and scale
Must integrate workflow across functions seamlessly
Multichannel support for multimedia storytelling
Must leverage existing assets
Must be extensible via APIs

Steve Shipside is a freelance journalist who has covered the news media and tech industries for most of his career.

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