Washington Post Licenses Publishing Technology to Tronc – WSJ – Wall Street Journal (subscription)
The Washington Post has signed an agreement to license its digital publishing platform, Arc Publishing, to rival publisher Tronc, the companies announced Monday.
The Post also said it has plans to open up the Arc platform to all publishers via a self-service platform.
Tronc said it will use the Arc technology to help power its entire portfolio of digital properties, beginning with the Los Angeles Times. Tronc’s other publications include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore sun and Orlando Sentinel.
The Arc technology suite includes a range of tools designed to help publishers produce, manage, publish, host and monetize their websites and apps, in addition to offering other analytics and optimization tools.
“This partnership will provide us with the capabilities that our reporters need to deliver award-winning journalism across all platforms and new tools that allow our marketing partners to connect with our growing digital audience,” said Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn, in a statement.
The partnership marks the largest yet for the Post’s Arc division, which has previously announced deals with smaller publishers such as Argentinian business news site InfoBae.com and Canadian news publisher the Globe and Mail.
For Tronc, which has promised to put technology and innovation at the center of its operations under new leadership, licensing technology from a third party is an interesting move. The company’s website touts that no other media company can match “the power of our technology” and “the brilliance of a digital delivery system that makes content easier to consume across every platform.”
Tronc declined to comment beyond Mr. Dearborn’s statement.
The Washington Post has grand plans for Arc, including a self-service solution designed to make the product available to all publishers, according to its chief information officer, Shailesh Prakash.
“Small publishers with limited budgets don’t actually have too many options here. They can use [content management system] WordPress for content, but what do you do for video? What do you do for apps? What if you want to do Facebook Instant Articles? Putting it in the cloud will benefit those publishers,” Mr. Prakash said.
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon and now owner of the Post, has had a hand in building the Arc platform, and has encouraged executives at the Post to take a page out of Amazon’s playbook for its Amazon Web Services cloud computing product.
AWS has allowed developers of all sizes to access cloud computing services, and the Post wants to do the same for publishers with its Arc division. The entire Arc platform is hosted by AWS, and publishers pay based on the amount of traffic flowing to their properties once they’re up and running.
The Post has previously said it charges large publishers up to $150,000 a month for access to Arc, and that it hopes the product can eventually generate over $100 million in revenue per year.
According to Mr. Prakash, most digital publishing systems are built by technology companies with little experience in how newsrooms and media businesses operate, which gives Arc an advantage.
“Because Arc is built for the Post and is being run at the Post, that makes a big difference when we’re having real-world conversations with clients,” said Mr. Prakash said.
Write to Jack Marshall at Jack.Marshall@wsj.com