Q&A - Roel-Jan Mouw

The publishing industry is under pressure. Journalism is undergoing a dramatic transformation, and the processes that have underpinned the publishing industry for decades are profoundly changing. Martin Maynard talks to Roel-Jan Mouw, CEO of WoodWing Software, about how to master these challenges and asks what advice he can offer to publishers.

By Martin Maynard

Q. What is the biggest challenge facing publishers today?

A. The publishing industry is experiencing a period of disruptive change, precipitated by the evolving behaviours of readers and the desire to consume their favourite publications via the channels and devices they prefer, at a time of their choosing. As a direct result, publishers are having to offer increasingly varied content across all channels - print, Web and tablet, in addition to social media and mobile - to reach their audiences. However, many publishers are failing to adopt the systems and strategies required to support the extra workload.

Q. Publishers have faced major change before, what is so different now?

A. Previous changes had a technical or production focus and did not directly affect revenues. The major challenge this time is that digital revenues are not growing fast enough to compensate for the continued decline in print and advertising sales. This means – more than ever – publishers need to develop breakthrough business strategies to survive in the digital era, and achieve the highest possible efficiency.

Q. How can publishers address this challenge?

A. In addition to a change in the traditional journalistic mindset – many still have to get used to the new channels – publishers need to fully integrate these new channels into their editorial processes. Industry buzzwords include “multi-channel publishing” and, especially for newspapers, the “unified newsroom”. In relation to the latter, we recently completed a ground-breaking project based on our multi-channel publishing system, Enterprise. With our help, the Peruvian publisher El Comercio, one of the largest newspapers in Latin America producing 550 pages per day, established a unified newsroom to create print, online, tablet and mobile editions.

Q. What can UK publishers learn from El Comercio?

A. El Comercio is a lighthouse project when it comes to unified newsroom technology in the newspaper sector. We see a strong upswing in multi-channel publishing worldwide, but again, many publishers still need to break down internal silos in order to create efficiencies and find their individual strategy. A number of UK publishers and respected titles, including The Economist, The Sunday Times, Dennis Publishing, Nature Publishing Group, Reed Business Information, and many more, are already using Enterprise and its editorial management application, Content Station, to publish their content in print and digital.

Q. Can you provide publishers with any strategic advice?

A. With the advent of social media, it is no longer enough to offer a print-only publication. In the world of modern media it is crucial for publishers to develop their titles into brands and to continuously manage them. An effective multi-channel strategy will enable the total management of media brands and support reader engagement, whilst driving and maintaining print and digital revenues, and digital advertising streams.

Q. How can publishers minimise the extra workload?

A. True multi-channel publishing will increase the workload and new tasks, such as video editing, will pop up for existing teams to contend with. As a result, it gets harder to keep track of the progress of the entire production process. Our recently launched solution, Enterprise Analytics, offers a cloud-based application that provides real-time information about the progress and efficiency of the production process. This helps to streamline processes and pinpoint bottlenecks.

Thinking about strategy, it’s clear that multiple channels will inevitably lead to an enormous increase of file stocks. Take tablet editions for example, they typically provide many more images than the corresponding print editions, plus audio and video. Publishers should think about ways to efficiently manage all these files, their assets.

Q. How should publishers better manage their digital assets?

A. Old-school folder structures don’t work! With more and more publishers realising the inefficiencies and extra costs associated with not having a purpose-built system in place, we offer a powerful yet easy-to-use digital asset management solution called Elvis DAM. In the UK, publishers including Express Newspapers, Mortons Media Group, William Reed Business Media and Dennis Publishing use our solution – the latter two benefitting from the efficiencies created by the deep integration of Elvis DAM and Enterprise.

WoodWing develops and markets a premier, cost-efficient, multi-channel publishing system, Enterprise, and the next-generation digital asset management system, Elvis DAM. WoodWing’s solutions are aimed at magazine and newspaper publishers, corporate publishers, agencies and marketing departments helping them to reach their goals for quality, economy and time-to-market.

WoodWing has a strong presence in the UK. Direct contact is John Cunningham, Country Manager for UK and Ireland ( WoodWing´s solutions are sold via Authorized Solution Partners: Media Systems and Evolved Media Solutions. More information is available at