The Globe and Mail: Building a culture of innovation with Arc XP
As challenges confronted the publishing industry, with the help of Arc XP, The Globe and Mail reallocated internal resource to build a data foundation that opened a new revenue stream and continues to drive their business forward.
Fostering a culture of innovation
More than 175 years after its founding in 1844, The Globe and Mail continues to be Canada’s newspaper of record. In 2015, as declining print circulation and print advertising revenues confronted the global newspaper industry, The Globe created an in-house development lab, Lab351, to foster a culture of innovation. To encourage participation, The Globe provided grants ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.
As one of its early initiatives, Lab351 took the lead on adopting Arc XP, formerly Arc Publishing, as The Globe’s digital-first CMS in 2016 for all content and digital asset management across the newsroom. For The Globe, Arc XP offered two major advantages over previous systems:
- As an AWS-based cloud solution with high SLA’s and an aggressive product roadmap, Arc XP enabled The Globe to reallocate the internal resources previously responsible for platform upkeep to instead focus on new product development.
- Arc XP’s robust API-driven architecture let The Globe build services directly on top of Arc XP’s APIs and Amazon Kinesis streams, unlike the black box development of other, proprietary CMS systems.
As a key strategic initiative, The Globe leaders saw the implementation of Arc XP as a “green-field opportunity” to completely rethink they way they presented content to readers, re-evaluating everything from site design to the fundamental data structure.
“Having the confidence with the platform, it allows you to focus your resources, to grow out your capabilities. To be more adventurous,” said Alasdair McKie, The Globe’s project team leader on the Arc XP implementation.
Creating a data-driven experience
Shortly after The Globe announced its decision to move to Arc XP, Publisher and CEO, Philip Crawley, spoke of The Globe’s direction at the 2016 WAN-IFRA World Congress, outlining three strategic goals for the coming year:
- Provide a better user experience for digital subscribers
- Apply data science to storytelling and selling
- Produce journalism that makes a difference
With an ardent focus on data science Arc XP gave The Globe peace of mind of not worrying about content management, enabling them to focus engineering resources on data science development. The benefits of this focus led to the development of one of The Globe’s most innovative data science products — Sophi.io, an AI-powered business intelligence tool.
The data from Sophi has helped The Globe’s editors make real-time decisions on how to promote stories and power personalization logic that ensures each reader receives a tailored experience. The impact of Sophi has been palpable, with insights driving a 2017 print redesign that saved the organization $1 million in newsprint costs. Today, data science continues to be at the heart of The Globe’s success.
“[Sophi] is allowing us to better distribute content, get the right material in the right format at the right time of day, night, or week in front of our readers,” explained Tracy Day, The Globe’s managing director, creative studio and ad innovation. This initiative will continue to enhance the engagement of our readers and increase the value of our audience to our advertisers.”
Using data everyday, everywhere
Today, Arc XP continues to serve as a critical driver of The Globe’s success.
“Arc XP’s technology has allowed us to focus and innovate in key areas of strategic importance to our business, including data-science based design and personalization,” says Crawley. “It is the key to delivering the user experience and enhanced storytelling that underpin our primary mission: Journalism that matters.”
“Our emphasis on using information derived from our reader data made our transformation better,” said Creative Director Adrian Norris to INMA on the value that Arc XP provided. “More than a content management system, Arc XP is a tool for high-quality digital storytelling. Underlying our web, tablet, and mobile sites as well as our apps, using Arc XP means that our audiences can access the full breadth of Globe news and insights. We’ve increased engagement more than 30 and decreased website page-load speed by almost 50 percent.”