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Press Release


Tera's GNPortal Handles Workflow Management for Large Italian Publisher, RCS - 28-04-2010


Tera Digital PublishingMILAN, Italy  - In a striking success that will help RCS Media Group of Italy - one of Europe's biggest publishing empires - keep an ambitious multi-media growth plan on track, Tera Digital Publishing has supplied a key software component that will act as a unique central data handling point for all incoming text, images, video and audio for RCS newspaper, magazine and web operations in the country.

Tera's GNPortal data workflow management system is up and running and already handling up to 6,000 images and tens of thousands of words a day at RCS's flagship titles Corriere della Sera (circulation 619,000 daily), Italy's most important newspaper, and La Gazzetta dello Sport (circulation 400,000 daily), the country's biggest sports paper, both based in Milan.

The system is now being ramped up to serve the group's magazine division and has passed demanding performance tests to begin accept video and audio input for the newspapers' web sites with flying colors.

Conceived as a data handling port for Tera's GNWeb and GN editorial systems, GNPortal is sophisticated enough emerge as a stand alone workflow management solution for third parties, and in the RCS implementation has been tightly integrated with the group's single CMS system for the web, and with the newspapers' publishing system.

Importantly, it is also directly tied to the organization's accounting system so as to generate automatic invoicing of all incoming purchased material.

RCS Media Group, established in 2003 from a restructure of interests held by the family of Gian Agnelli, the late head of the FIAT car company, is a 2.79 billion euro revenue empire covering print, web, TV and radio interests as well as advertising, mobile phones, gaming and sports promotions divisions.

Its newspapers, part of the RCS Quotidiani division, hold a leadership in Italy's national press with an 18 per cent market share, and annual revenues of around 1.3 billion euro. RCS also owns the biggest newspaper publisher in Spain. Forty per cent of group income comes from outside Italy, including holdings throughout Europe and in the U.S.

The group has been moving quickly in recent years to consolidate grow its print operations, for example, by adding regional editions of Corriere della Sera and re-launching La Gazzetta as a feisty full-color tabloid, adding a Rome edition. The company also operates in the free press sector with City, a daily newspaper that distributes 850,000 copies per day in 15 Italian cities. 

At the same time, RCS set its intention to become media neutral and its RCS Digital division has helped the newspaper titles with a series of projects including adding their own web sites, putting Corriere della Sera historical archives on line for free; launching the Gazzetta web site internationally in English; and adding film, gaming, mobile phone and classified advertising channels to its mix.

The move to add a central data handling structure with GNPortal has to be seen in this context, says Dario Meroni of GMDE, Tera's Italian reseller company, based in Milan, which made the sale.

GMDE was already a trusted vendor at RCS for having implemented an automated page transmission and CTP system linking output to the company's eight print plants. But GNPortal was seen as a perfect answer by RCS for its data reception vision.

''The acceptance of GNPortal as our solution for RCS has to be seen in the fact that it is much more than simply a portal,'' said Meroni. ''It is a fully automated management system that at same time offers great flexibility and configurability. The installation at RCS was almost all a matter of configuring it from within the software's own great capability, with very little one-off development, even for such a sophisticated customer''.

In the implementation at RCS Media, GNPortal is set up to be the entry point for all digital data coming from outside contributors and collaborators, as well as from RCS staff journalists themselves using their BlackBerry devices - whether they are sending text, images or video.

GNPortal is running in a virtual server environment, using VMWare, at an RCS data center in Milan. A total of four virtual servers support the system, two acting as Internet authentication servers (IAS) and two for data processing, including internal newspaper traffic. RCS's physical server environment is based on Sun servers.

Cristian Ghisleni from RCS said, ''The workflow is automatic. A user can log into GNPortal and send images, for example. These go directly to the CMS or to other production servers. There is nothing in between. The outputs from GNPortal are all tied together and everything is tracked. At an appropriate point for the channel, for example at night after print publication has finished, the GNPortal data is deleted from the system so as to allow a new production cycle to begin''.

GNPortal even automates welcoming a new contributor to the newspapers. The contributor is invited to fill in a template form giving his details and a single mouse click will submit this to the system. The portal establishes the contributor and gives him or her access, describes the accepted data norms, and automatically creates an ID for him or her in the company accounting system. 

Once a contributor submits an object, and intended channel of publication, GNPortal has the ability to trigger an appropriate workflow for that object (print, web, SMS, TV or radio etc).

Due to its flexibility GNPortal is able to handle complex object, such as complete "article", and address them in the appropriate channel with the appropriate format. The same content might be sent to CMS, web sites, newspaper editorial system or software managing TV or radio content simultaneously.



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