RealTime IT News

Accumedia to Air Upgraded Web Publishing Platform

While it's true many online media companies received Mike Tyson-esque beatings from a sluggish market in the past six months or so, software companies are still plunging ahead with new and improved online publishing platforms. Take Accumedia for instance.

Next week, the Boulder, Colo.-based outfit will launch the latest version of its Accumedia Convergence Platform (ACP), which it said aims to hit the sweet spot for companies looking to save a buck in these belt-tightening times. How so? As an outsourced suite, ACP obviates the need for publishers to invest heavily in software, IT and hardware.

This is important considering that many media firms posted significant layoffs, which mean less people to do more work. Accordingly, solutions such as ACP, if they perform important functions faster and with less staff involvement, stand to succeed in the current market.

ACP Version 1.6 enables companies to manage their own Web content and associated online business operations, and showcases a software-on-demand system, which consists of applications that lets customers make even greater use of their Web sites by letting them include options such as commerce, syndication and e-mail marketing. With this feature, users may have access to applications from Artesia, Akamai, BEA, Engage, Macromedia, Multex and Oracle.

Accumedia charges professional services fees of $20,000 to $500,000 for discovery, Web development and implementation. The company subsequently charges $2 to $6 per 1,000 page views to support and maintain the site.

Media clients seem pleased with the results of ACP thus far.

Noting that his firm now has "fewer internal resources available for managing our Web sites" Sean McGrail, general manager of the New England Sports Network (NESN), said ACP helped NESN.com and BostonBruins.com pave the way for "a 200 percent increase in page views, commerce and advertising activity over our previous levels."

While NESN approved of Accumedia's products, a larger media giant professed its confidence in the young company in May; Primedia made an undisclosed strategic investment in the two-year-old firm and tabbed it to power the Wedding Network, ModernBride.com family of Web sites and Chicago Magazine both of which relaunched this week. In total, Primedia boasts 250 trade and consumer magazines and posted $1.7 billion in sales for 2000.

Features of ACP 1.6 include expanded page and template design capabilities, with support for Macromedia's DreamWeaver WYSIWYG Web authoring tool. Accumedia has also manufactured a library of dynamic content tags that allow HTML developers to create personalized Web pages without the need for complex programming. Also, the improved Enterprise Content Management System, a J2EE-based solution for publishing content to PCs, PDAs and other wireless devices, includes workbenches for importing Microsoft Word documents and performing Quark-to-Web conversion.