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November 2001




EidosMedia building momentum in market

By Dean Roper

GENEVA — At last year’s IfraExpo in Amsterdam, EidosMedia launched its company to the newspaper industry, stressing that its developing solutions would be centered around knowledge management. Although it is still the early days for EidosMedia, a crucial new partnership announced at IfraExpo and the introduction and realization of products have peaked interest in this ambitious Italian-based company.

Since its inception, EidosMedia has proclaimed that its solutions will allow media companies to apply a knowledge management strategy to a content creation environment. At the heart of its knowledge management system is the Méthode editorial workflow system. The first two stages of development of the system addressed content for the Web and radio/TV — definitely a different approach from the past.

Now, the print sector comes to the forefront with the company’s latest strategic partnership. EidosMedia General Manager Gabriella Franzini and President Angelo Grampa announced at IfraExpo that the Milan-based company and Italian software group HiT have entered into a partnership. HiT is well-known for developing the IntelliNet NewsFlow system which is distributed by Agfa for managing production workflow and remote printing. With the agreement, it now extends EidosMedia’s Méthode system to be integrated with HiT’s AdvManager, an advertising management and acquisition solution, as well as a new product being developed by HiT, named Fluide, for the planning and tracking of print production processes.

“Since we started, we always wanted to address the content process from the beginning to the end,” said Franzini. “We are very excited by the possibilities that this partnership opens up.

On the technical side it combines a number of powerful technologies into an integrated print solution that offers newspaper publishers more power and flexibility. On the business side it means that both EidosMedia and HiT can offer their customers complete digital solutions to manage and track every aspect of the publishing process from sophisticated knowledge and media asset management down to incorporation of local advertising, printing and dispatch.”

The layers underneath and between those three solutions are the keys to this complete offering. EidosMedia says Méthode is based on eXtensible Markup Language, object-oriented technology and distributed, multi-tier architecture. The new solution will incorporate many industry standards, including emerging standards like CIP4 and Job Definition Format. At the same time, the integration of standard pagination packages such as Quark XPress and Adobe InDesign and the recent development of a native XML pagination engine by EidosMedia has further extended the Méthode’s functionality to print media editorial processes.

For AdvManager and Fluide to work with Méthode, the solution requires high levels of data interchange between editorial and production systems. In theory, using the three solutions, dynamic variations of page contents and layout (including the insertion of local advertising) can be carried out on-the-fly and are visible to all involved in managing page content and distribution. The “cooperative pagination” capability would allow varying editions to be produced with different numbers of pages, color pages in different positions, localized advertising and news content.

Luca Michelli, with ASIG in Italy, has followed EidosMedia’s progress closely over the past two years. “They are still developing,” he said, “but they have a very interesting and strong product. This latest cooperation really puts them on the right track.”

Some of Méthode’s new suite of products include Print Suite, the aforementioned pagination engine to be based on the native implementation of XML-CSS-SVG standards. The company says Méthode’s system architecture enables it to integrate off-the-shelf page makeup applications, running on Windows or Macs.

EidosMedia also introduced Rundown, a specialized module for Méthode for the creation of TV broadcasts. It provides a shared workspace within which all those involved in a broadcast can plan, create and assemble the various components of a broadcast, from scripts and captions to video reports and external video links.

There is also Syndication Server, a facility for automatically tailoring, scheduling and channeling editorial content to external clients, allowing Méthode to be used as a B2B information platform.

Although it is a young company, it has already signed on some prestigious Italian media companies. EidosMedia announced in Geneva that Rizzoli Correire della Sera, Italy’s largest publishing group, has signed an agreement to extend the Méthode platform to its magazine editorial operation, RCS Periodici. Méthode has already been in use for more than a year at the group’s online publishing operations to produce Web versions of its two leading dailies, Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.