Mega-Conference Solutions Stage

Five case studies of optimization and engagement


In a presentation on the Solutions Stage at the Key Executives Mega-Conference, I highlighted how the CUE platform from CCI is optimizing content creation, streamlining content distribution and increasing audience engagement. Here is a summary of case studies.

1. Simplifying and accelerating news creation and delivery

What publisher isn't focused on the huge, and still growing, mobile audience? The requirement to deliver mobile-ready sites and apps to your customers is a given these days. But are your journalists and content creators able to produce and publish directly from smartphones, as well? Publishers are recognizing the speed and efficiency of creating content on the mobile-ready CUE content management system. Dispatching content directly from handheld devices opens up new opportunities in terms of closer coverage of events, as well as delivering news to consumers faster.

At The McClatchy Company, content producers have started using the browser-based CUE platform to get stories, photos and videos published faster than ever before. Neil Mara, director of publishing systems at McClatchy, says that CUE is just the kind of tool they need to put in the hands of reporters. Its accessibility on smartphones means reporters can do more from the field with simple devices. That's because CUE's interface provides access to publish content to all channels for any device with a browser.

Ringier, an international media company based in Switzerland, is in the process of implementing the same platform as McClatchy. Marco di Bernardo, director of innovation and platforms at Ringier, says that their operations in Africa will greatly benefit from the fact that CUE doesn't require VPN access and can deal with intermittent internet disconnects. He adds that reporters working from soccer matches at Swiss stadiums will benefit from the same. They call it a game-changer.

2. Engineering engagement with the right technology stack

For as many advantages that CUE brings to journalists and content producers, it also brings wins to the technology that supports your business. And let's face it, IT has needs, too.

Forum Communications Company, based in Fargo, N.D., is actively installing CUE for distribution of content to all its digital channels. Last year, a team of people conducted a search for a new CMS. Along the way, they collectively realized something important, which Adrian Dawson-Becker, technical analyst at Forum, puts this way: "We realized that Forum Communications is a content engine. We needed a tool that would help us manage content rather than websites."

What does he mean by that? Well, consider the multitude of destinations where content is being directed: sites, apps, social media platforms, digital assistant devices, print products, replicas and more. Some companies are posting to more than 20 social platforms alone. In all, that's a ton of places. And the list of places where publishers need to consider experimenting changes and grows over time. But what is your level of effort to get the content out to all these destinations? Do you even have the option to experiment with sending content to a trending platform when it comes along?

CUE separates content from distribution making all this easier. It uses standard web technology to produce JSON feeds that can be directed anywhere.

3. Platform for business transformation

RTL Radio Group in Germany offers another example of this separation of content from presentation. RTL strives to create digitally relevant brands to prevent losing current radio audience to other digital offerings. Until recently, there was little IT consistency among the group's 17 German radio stations. To resolve this, the radio group founded the Digital Media Hub as a sort of internal startup where new business models and ideas can arise and be developed for one or more of the 17 radio stations. The Digital Media Hub decided to standardize with a central platform based on CUE, which handles inputs from editorial content, playouts systems, weather and traffic data, plus other APIs. All this data is handled by the platform and delivered to new CUE-based websites, mobile apps, smart home devices, Amazon Alexa assistants and connected cars.

4. Improving your video offering, while bringing in new revenue

Audiences are attracted to video, and they come back for compelling content. McClatchy has had an intense focus on video content over the last few years. It's been a hit with audiences and a new revenue stream for the company.

In 2015, McClatchy moved away from using YouTube in favor of CUE Video, which integrates Amazon web services for storage, transcoding and delivery of video assets to provide a full video workflow. McClatchy reporters use Videolicious on smartphones to capture video, which is loaded to CUE. Video is published through CUE and displayed on sites using JWPlayer.

In November 2015, McClatchy went live on all sites with our video solution. "Since we went live, we have exceeded our goals every single month," Neil Mara, director of publishing systems at McClatchy, said at Escenic Days 2017.

The stats shown as part of Mara's Escenic Days presentation speak for themselves:

  • 2014: >1 million views
  • 2015: 13.2 million views
  • 2016: 75.4 million views
  • 2017: aiming for 100 million views (Escenic Days, June 2017)

5. The power of 'live'

Live coverage has always been important at Trinity Mirror, the largest national and regional news publisher in the UK. When they decided their old live blogging tool wasn't satisfactory, they started working directly with CCI & Escenic to build a new tool, which grew to become CUE Live. Speed and simplicity of the tool were paramount criteria. Today they have an intuitive, feature-rich editor that delivers live blog updates to readers in fractions of a second. They now also have the option to monetize live coverage by inserting advertising between posts in a live event.

The ways in which Trinity Mirror uses live coverage as a device for storytelling and news delivery is a fascinating case study in itself. The media company has had dramatic gains in traffic thanks to live coverage alone. They also increased the percentage of readers coming to their sites for live content.

Michael Taylor spent much of his career employed by media companies, including The Washington Post and The Dallas Morning News. Taylor considers himself a journalist first. Now the sales director for CCI, he focuses on technology needs of media companies throughout the Americas. He loves digging into analytics, concepts around new digital story forms, as well as emerging content distribution possibilities. He can be reached at



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