Sakal Media Group partnered with Quintype to modernise its CMS after the Indian newspaper group was left in situations where reporters could not file stories – and the whole organisation was slow and inefficient.
Publishing stories, even from the office, took minutes rather than seconds to appear on the group’s seven websites and 14 apps, due to a CMS which the company tactfully describes as “vintage”.
This was a huge issue in an energetic news market where seconds really count, said Swapnil Malpathak, Business Head at SMG Digital, part of the AP Globale Group which also includes Sakal Media Group.
Malpathak said: “Indian news is very sensational, very fast. It’s very different to how Western news organisations operate.”
Leaders at Sakal Group became aware they had to modernise after their creaking CMS led to severe delays in publishing stories to their sites and apps in Maharashtra, a state in the west of India to the north of Goa.
Their custom set-up left Sakal Media Group dependent on agencies, and facing pain points including difficulty publishing to different platforms and the lack of formatting options.
The company’s user base had stalled, and their titles were stifled by a lack of innovation in a rapidly changing market.
They also faced several unique challenges – and needed a new CMS built to work even over 2G connections.
Malpathak said: “We needed a CMS that understands the news media business in India.”
Sakal Media Group: 14m readers and 3,500 staff
Sakal Media Group includes three newspapers, and a local TV channel, and is the largest independently owned media business in Maharashtra.
Sakal Media Group is part of AP Globale group – which boasts a combined readership of 14 million in Marathi and English.
Headquartered in Pune, Sakal Media Group was founded in 1932 and has a workforce of 3,500 and a vendor network of 25,000 people.
The group campaigns for social change with campaigns such as the Young Inspirators Network (YIN) which aims to inspire young people to get involved with nation-building.
The wider group also has interests in commercial printing, digital media and event management services.
“We run seven websites at the moment, along with the apps that go with them,” says Malpathak. “We also have a local cable TV channel.”
Old system could not cope with slow internet speeds
Indian news relies on being able to respond rapidly to breaking stories, and having reporters “on the ground” is an important part of that, Malpathak says.
For years, business leaders at Sakal News had been aware that their system was not up to scratch.
Malpathak said: “Since about 2013 onwards, we were working on a system that was not up to the standards that the industry is using. It was a nightmare to deal with.”
Malpathak says that, before the company partnered with Quintype, there was a huge delay after editors hit ‘publish’ which meant that, on occasion, a story which had taken just ten minutes to write would then take nine minutes to appear on the home page.
Malptathak said: “The story would have begun, unfolded and ended and we would be late to the party.”
Previously, Sakal Media Group had been unable for reporters to publish “on the go” due to the poor speeds of Indian mobile networks.
“In my office, you will find very fast internet,” Malpathak said, “but if I move a kilometre away, the speed will drop to a point where you can’t even have a video call.”
“Our reporters could not publish any stories from the ground where they were working or from the field.”
Malpathak and his colleagues began to look for a CMS that could meet their needs – and the different demands of the Indian news market.
He said: “We reached out to one major American publisher, who is marketing their CMS as a product,
“We found they could not understand Indian and Asian pain points when it comes to a CMS. Also, specifically, they could not match the cost expectations that Indian publishers can afford.”
At this point, Malpatahak and his colleagues began to speak to Quintype and found the company was understanding about the challenges they faced.
Quintype enables reporters to publish via the browser, even if reporters are on an Edge network (a 2G technology built to enhance data rates) and unable to pick up 3G, 4G or 5G connections.
Quintype also boosted efficiency and productivity across the board, which led directly to a large increase in traffic and article count.
The adoption of the new CMS also enabled new cutting-edge native and programmatic advertising formats, as well as multimedia content.
One CMS for print and digital on multiple products
The previous CMS which Sakal Media had used had also meant that different parts of the organisation used different software.
Since switching to Quintype, every part of the organisation now uses the same CMS – whether on print or on digital.
Reporters and editors also all access the same media library (something that was impossible before).
“It has completely optimised our news flow,” said Malpathak. “Now, things are pretty simple, pretty aligned, the whole organisation has moved on to one CMS.”
After adopting Quintype, the company saw 100% traffic growth year-on-year.
RSS feeds from the newspapers feed into the CMS, so that reporters don’t have to look for articles in a print CMS and bring them over.
“The publishing time has gone down to milliseconds now,” Malpathak said. “The editorial team finds it easy to use, because social media handles and everything is integrated into the CMS. You publish articles, press one button, the story appears on all your social media.”
Previously reporters and editors had to produce a story, then go to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram individually to promote it.
The net result has been a huge increase in the number of stories Sakal Media Group publishes per day, Malpathak says – with the Group’s sites seeing increases in story count of up to 75%.
The number of articles published on the group’s six websites has jumped from 425 to more than 750 per day.
Malpathak said: “The whole organisation is aligned, and everything is streamlined.”
Quintype Bold is available from $100 per month.
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