Fairfax NZ adopts Adobe for online publishing

Adobe CQ5 CMS to replace existing core web content systems for all Fairfax publications including stuff.co.nz

Fairfax Media New Zealand will deploy the Adobe content management system across all its online newspaper and magazine products later this year.

The Adobe CQ5 CMS will replace existing core web content systems at the national publisher. For the stuff.co.nz, press.co.nz and dompost.co.nz websites the supplier since 2002 has been Catalyst IT in Wellington. The CMS for Fairfax Magazine’s websites, including Computerworld, is currently IBM’s Domino platform.

“Why we’ve decided to take a change in terms of web CMS is because we want to be able to deliver a better product to our users on all platforms and with content and experiences that are better tailored to them,” says general manager for digital media Nigel Tutt.

“That means it has to integrate with analytics, data management, and everything else that goes along with a web publishing ecosystem.”

He would not say how much the deployment will cost, citing commercial sensitivity.

Tutt says Fairfax New Zealand has already invested heavily in web analytics and data management tools from Adobe, and moving the web CMS to the Adobe platform will enable the media company to “seamlessly deliver a better experience to end users.”

The move follows the adoption of the Adobe CQ5 in Fairfax Australia, which will be complete by mid-2014. Tutt says having all online publications on the same platform will enable better content sharing within Fairfax New Zealand – for example House and Garden magazine content can more easily be used for the newspaper’s lifestyle sections – and with Fairfax Australia.

“If it’s 6am here, its 4am in Australia and we can help load stories onto their site before they’ve woken up. I think the Kate Middleton pregnancy story was one where we could have done that, but couldn’t due to the system limitations. A big breaking international story and vice versa they could do that for us at the end of the day,” Tutt says.

“Online news is all about speed, so it does help that.”

The CMS will be hosted by Amazon web services, the second major cloud deployment for the publisher — last year it shifted from Microsoft Outlook to Google Mail.

Tutt says a new CMS doesn’t signal the introduction of a pay wall on Fairfax websites, although he didn’t rule pay walls out in the long term. “We’ve always said we will be open to looking at anything but we have no firm plans for pay walls at this stage.”

Nor does it suggest the end of print, Tutt says. “The decision you make in terms of web CMS is not related to the longer term future of print. Clearly print’s under pressure for most publishers in the world but equally I think New Zealand’s in a good position for that as well, circulation appears to be going pretty well for most of our publications and you have to look at systemically why there are issues.”

“What we do know is the online and print audience are different; there is only a 20 to 30 percent cross-over. Age is much younger online, and their needs in terms of the hierarchy of things they search for is quite different.”

The Stuff website attracts on average 450,000 unique visitors a day.

The Adobe CQ5 platform will help with monetisation strategies which rely on behavioural analytics, such as “content partnerships where we would integrate a client’s content or specifically go after an audience for them.”

“Editorial decisions remain the same but it means this is stuff we would have written anyway if we had unlimited resource. But if we were working in partnership with a client we might go after an audience that was of more commercial value to us. I think you’ll see us do that whether we are in partnership with clients or not.”

The new system will also provide a “great level of duration for mobile and tablet devices”, although the look and feel of mobile apps is developed by a separate company called Smudge Apps.

Tutt heads a team of 70 in New Zealand, with includes a web design team of eight staff in Wellington.

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