'Monumental' effort puts Fairfax circ in the cloud

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Fairfax Media has upgraded circulation and distribution of its metro newspapers to a cloud-based Newscycle system.

The move - which includes the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Sun-Herald and the Australian Financial Review - continues a long relationship with Newscycle and its predecessors DTI and PBS.

For St Paul, Minnesota, based PBS (Publishing Business Systems) Fairfax was one its first large orders outside the US, and apparently a challenging implementation. The developer was later merged into Digital Technology International, one of the companies - with Saxotech, Atex AdBase and MediaSpan - which were the foundations of today's Newscycle Solutions.

Fairfax is starting the New Year with its Australian Metro Publishing division live on the upgraded Circulation platform hosted in the Amazon AWS cloud. With 280 users, the system manages all home delivery, single copy sales, distribution, billing and customer services functions for the titles. The Sydney Morning Herald is the Australia's most widely read newspaper, reaching over five million readers in print and online each month according to Emma statistics.

Fairfax customer systems technology director Trish Farrugia says the two companies worked closely over a three-month period to make the move to a managed service environment. "Communication was open and clear, which ensured any issues encountered were overcome quickly and allowing our tight timelines to be met," she says. "The cutover was very smooth with no major issues encountered, which was a great result for our business."

A key component is Insight, a business intelligence application that lets users analyse and act upon subscriber data to help increase revenue and improve customer service. Newscycle Circulation also has a built-in subscriber list-matching module, and manages all credit card tokenisation processes via a 'hosted order' page. Fairfax has also developed its own subscriber portal based on the Newscycle customer service, circulation and distribution APIs.

Farrugia says that among many benefits for Fairfax is PCI compliance.

Newscycle's EMEA/APAC sales vice president Bryan Hooley described the project as a "monumental team effort" on the part of the combined Newscycle Circulation and Fairfax team. "We are grateful that Fairfax chose to extend its longstanding partnership with Newscycle, and we appreciate the significant contributions from everyone who helped make this go-live a success."

Pictured: Headquarters of The Age in Melbourne's CBD

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