Printers have offered digital services for several years, from Web site development to digital editions to digital asset management. Now they’re moving into content management services as well.

Last week, Worldcolor announced a partnership with Mark Logic to offer the Worldcolor Custom Publishing Engine, which allows publishers to repurpose existing content (text, photographs, video and audio) into new publications.

Meanwhile, Publishers Press is preparing to launch a fully hosted suite of content management services by the first quarter of 2010. “We’ve gone out and assimilated multiple software resources and a host of services to provide clients with a ‘best of class’ content management and distribution system,” says Publishers Press executive vice president Michael Simon.

To do so, Publishers Press has teamed up with Atex to offer its Polopoly content management system; Mark Logic to offer an XML repository; Temis for text mining; Bronto for e-mailing marketing services and Omniture for analytics.

Publishers Press is still working out pricing but the model will be a monthly lease program that’s dependent on seats and viewers, according to Simon, who claims the CMS package will level the playing field for smaller and larger publishers when it comes to digital infrastructure. “We can make this affordable,” he adds. “What otherwise would potentially be multi-million dollar systems to an individual client, we can offer at more palatable price point.”

While open source CMS is becoming increasingly attractive to publishers, an enterprise system still has some advantages, according to Simon. “You can get ‘freeware’ to do this but the integration of freeware can lead to long-term legacy costs. All the challenges of backup and upgrades will reside on our end.”

Positioned as a Moneymaker
To date, e-media services have typically been loss leaders for printers. In a 2008 Folio: survey of printers offering digital services, few were actually making a profit from it. Of seven printers offering digital asset management, only three were profitable. Meanwhile, seven others offered digital magazines, with just four making a profit on it.

Simon is adamant that Publishers Press will see a profit from its CMS suite. “In order for us to continue our development and service efforts, it will be a requirement that this product be profitable,” he says. “We have every intention off being cost competitive but this service will stand on its own two feet. This will not be a loss leader.”

Publishers Press is calling the CMS package “Tarpon,” after the prehistoric fish that continues to flourish today. “We see this effort as adaptive. Our customers are required to adapt and their content is required to adapt,” says Simon. “We got the idea for the name from a panel I was on with Bo Sacks earlier this year. Bo used the term ‘printosaurus’ and I reminded him that not all creatures that were around with the dinosaurs are extinct. Some were able to adapt and are still here today.”


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