MANAGEMENT INFORMATION FOR THE MEDIA INDUSTRY
29/11/2020

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Talking to experts - Does Corona promote digitization?

15.08.2020
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Massimo Barsotti, EidosMedia
Eidosmedia is with Méthode the world market leader in highly integrated editorial and content management systems with locations and Eidosmedia installations on all 5 continents. Cobalt is a modern digital publishing solution, which truly enables news organizations to deliver content across channels and devices. Massimo Barsotti is the responsible Chief Marketing Officer and knows the business processes of newspaper publishers and media companies very well from daily practice.


PreMedia Newsletter: 
Dear Massimo, it‘s nice that we can talk to each other personally again. The corona crisis is changing society‘s behavior and business life. What is the current situation in Milan and Italy at the moment with Corona?

Massimo Barsotti: 
The situation in Italy is currently safe and stable. We don‘t have major outbreaks and we are living an unusual summer, enjoying the beauty of our country almost empty of tourists from overseas. We have situations common to many other nations, like major companies remaining in work from home, adults wearing face masks as requested while young generations do not follow the rules, and so on.  

PreMedia Newsletter: 
How was the critical situation coped with at the height of the Corona crisis at Eidosmedia?

Massimo Barsotti: 
The situation was immediately perceived as critical. Our main office is in Milan, and the virus started his diffusion in Italy from our region, Lombardy, that was also hit badly in the following months. I remember vividly the first breaking news towards the end of one week in February, leading to a management decision to apply work from home starting the following Monday – a switch that happened almost over a weekend. 
Luckily, we already had a smart working policy in place, allowing to work from home one day per week, therefore all employees were technically ready. In March, we extended work from home to all other offices worldwide, and that is still valid today. During these months, all of us at Eidosmedia had to cope with the new situation of prolonged work from home, that the company supported in many ways, including buying equipment to improve home offices and even with psychological support. 
We discovered that our teams can be incredibly resilient and agile, as they continued to perform with minimal impact on performances and without any disruption to customers and projects. 

PreMedia Newsletter: 
How many employees work for Eidosmedia in total worldwide? How many of them in development, project management and customer support?

Massimo Barsotti: 
We have 220 employees worldwide, 20% of them are part of the engineering team developing our solutions, while 60% of the work force is busy with projects, support and, more and more importantly, Managed Services.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
Since Eidosmedia is present on 5 continents: How is the service situation for the worldwide Eidosmedia customers in Milan solved?

Massimo Barsotti: 
Our model is firmly in place, with local offices following directly our customers, with additional support from Milan as required. Our teams already have a proven experience of collaboration, no matter the distance or the time zone, so the new situation did not affect the service level in any way.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
It can be heard that digitization has made a leap into the digital future in recent weeks. How do you see the current state of digital development?

Massimo Barsotti: 
I totally agree. While the first months of the Coronavirus crisis were mostly focused on ensuring business continuity, with rapid deployment of the tools to enable remoted working (like our family of Swing apps), today we see a global acceleration in the modernization journey across our customer base, with many installations going through re-platforming on the Cloud and adoption of the SaaS model – this in turn allows us to provide better services via our Managed Services team and helps significantly a better TCO management.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
From the perspective of Eidosmedia‘s global presence 
on 5 continents: Are there regional peculiarities to be considered?

Massimo Barsotti: 
The acceleration I just mentioned is happening at a global scale, and we see similar patterns across the world. Obviously more digitally-advanced markets are much faster in their response. We are also following closely the trend of large publishers doing mergers and acquisitions, given that we have a large experience to share regarding consolidation of multiple systems, in some cases with reductions from 15 solutions to 1.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
With a few exceptions such as the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, Schibsted Group in Norway, it is difficult for newspaper and magazine publishers to switch to digital payment models. What services and products can Eidosmedia offer these publishers?

Massimo Barsotti: 
Monetization is the top priority for publishers since many years and the pandemic is adding exacerbation to problems and additional pressure. While our focus is efficiency and productivity in content management, that directly relates to business outcomes: 
as an example, our Cobalt digital publishing platform allows rapid development of new frontends, thanks to its APIs and open technologies, thus allowing publishers to respect their go-to market schedule and not miss any opportunity. Also, we have frameworks ready to quickly integrate any paywall or subscription service already in use, without forcing the adoption of different tools. Finally, we‘ll soon deliver an enhanced integration with analytics services, to „close the loop“ and provide newsrooms with actionable insights on their content performances.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
Which international reference installations from Eidosmedia should be particularly emphasized?

Massimo Barsotti: 
All our customers responded well to the emergency, and, in many cases, they publicly expressed their satisfaction and their success. That‘s the case with Le Devoir, Canada’s leading French-language daily, that found itself in the middle of a move to a cloud-based installation when the 
Covid-19 crisis hit Montreal. In the space of a few days the paper’s editorial team moved out of the newsroom to home working – and the value of Eidosmedia’s planning system, for example, became immediately tangible. Also, the experience led the team to question the whole concept of a physical newsroom for content operations – a notable comment: “We realized that a truly digital business is decoupled from its infrastructure and its physical location.”
One of our largest installations, News Corp Australia, had entire newsrooms moved to remote working while continuing to deliver the same print and digital news products to their readers. Titles from the Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and other Australian dailies are now being produced from ‘lounge rooms, studies and dining tables’ across the 
country in an operation which involved the rapid extension of our Swing app to the whole of NCA’s nationwide staff.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
Which strategic products from Eidosmedia can accompany the newspaper publisher or media company into the digital future?

Massimo Barsotti: 
All our products are, today, ready for the digital future. Our solutions are used for digital-first and digital-only workflows in major, modern newsrooms, running in the cloud and providing seamless remote access via web and mobile apps. With this level of readiness, the transition from a print-centric to a digital approach is smooth and feasible – many customers, while adopting new tools, revise their processes, typically streamlining their workflows and prioritizing on digital and mobile. 
Our Cobalt platform is driving many of these changes, given its capability to adapt to different use cases and the accessibility of its technology. The entire suite will naturally evolve to support the digital transformation, listening to customers’ inputs and following technology trends.

PreMedia Newsletter: 
Dear Massimo, thank you very much for this outstanding interview. Please take care.

Massimo Barsotti: 
It was a pleasure for me, Karl. I wish you, your family and all the readers of PreMedia Newsletter safe and relaxing holidays!

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