Magazine article Editor & Publisher

CCI Courting USA Today

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

CCI Courting USA Today

Article excerpt

FOR SEVERAL YEARS a serious contender, CCI-Europe has become a major player in the North American newspaper systems market, with several large and prestigious customers. Now, it is courting the country's second-biggest newspaper.

While its customers have cited CCI's system design and way of doing business, the company's entree to the market also was a consequence of its ability to integrate its pagination with front ends from longtime leaders Atex and System Integrators Inc. (E&P, May 24, p. 22).

But by no means has CCI (which also has new advertising software) displaced Atex or SH at its customer sites:

* Even as their editorial departments prepare to paginate with CCI software, Tribune Co:s Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel run relatively recent SII classified advertising installations.

* Already paginating with CCI NewsDesk, the Arizona Republic added Coyote/3 clients to its SII front end.

* The San Jose Mercury News will significantly upgrade its entire SH classified system at just about the same time that it completes CCI pagination, which draws from its SII editorial front end.

* The Washington Post, CCI's biggest North American customer to date, is among recent buyers of SII's new Coyote/3 workstation, which will go into the Post's newsroom.

CCI's volume of business in bringing pagination to sites that have been or are now upgrading SH ad systems and editorial front ends has not slowed it from seeking new customers. Perhaps the most notable is a big-name Atex user.

Though CCI did not return calls for comment, USA Today publishing support services director John Hosford and his boss, information technology vice president John Palmisano, did. Stressing that his paper has no sales contract with CCI, Hosford said, "We've written a couple of small contracts with [CCI] to have them write for us a specification document, which includes pagination and a front end for USA Today"

Palmisano said that unlike other papers, USA Today chose to work with a pagination vendor "in pieces," separating the system specification from the overall contract, with the aim of getting "a better idea of what the total cost is" The specification document then becomes the basis of a sales contract, he said.

The front-end specification is due by the end of June, according to Hosford, who remarked,"We are moving toward hopefully having a contract, but we have details to work out yet" Palmisano said the hope is for a contract as early as July.

Replacing the paper's Atex system means creating a network serving approximately 600 seats--two-thirds to three-quarters of which are reporters' workstations. For CCI, said Palmisano, the installation would be at least "as big as anything they have going in Europe."

Besides obvious promotional pluses that might accrue from meeting the demands of the 1 2/3-million-circulation daily, the prospect of paginating "The Nation's Newspaper" also would represent CCI's first sale to Gannett, the market's biggest chain. With offices in Marietta, Ga., the Danish developer's North American customer list already includes dailies from the Knight-Ridder, Times Mirror, Tribune and Central Newspapers groups.

Meanwhile, two CCI sites that are both high-profile SII users--one across the Potomac River from USA Today's Arlington,Va., headquarters, the other across the country--made commitments to SII's newest products, as did two other big SII sites.

In conjunction with a large order from the Washington Post, SH developed OS/2-based editorial workstations several years ago. …

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