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News Makers


  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 2:15 p.m. January 13, 2012
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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Saxotech, a local firm at the forefront of solving the newspaper industry's foremost challenge — how to make money from online news delivery — brings one quirk to the process.

The quirk: Tampa-based Saxotech has never published a printed newspaper. The firm's CEO, furthermore, doesn't come from a media background, and many of the company's employees are software developers and engineers.

Yet Saxotech's proprietary system, which adds an element of workflow management and efficiency to the sometimes antiquated processes of a newsroom, is the buzz of the newspaper industry. Nancy Lane, president of the Suburban Newspapers of America, an industry trade group, says Saxotech has become a popular entity at trade shows.

Clients for various Saxotech services include Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today; the Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News; and the Omaha World-Herald, which billionaire Warren Buffet recently bought. (The Observer Group, parent of the Business Review, recently became a Saxotech client.)

The firm, in total, has more than 700 newspaper industry clients. And the customer list has boosted the company, which was founded in Denmark in 1993, into fast-growth territory.

The privately held firm doesn't disclose revenues. But Saxotech President and CEO Anders Christiansen says the firm does tens of millions of dollars a year in business. It has 135 employees, including 70 who work out of its Tampa headquarters, in an office complex on Harbor Island.

The firm is also poised to grow more in 2012. One major goal, says Christiansen, is to target business in South America for the first time. “There is so much opportunity out there,” says Robert Payne, director of marketing at Saxotech.

The secret to Saxotech's system, says Christiansen, is to focus on audience management. For Saxotech, that's the art and science of knowing when, where, what and how readers seek to consume news.

To do that, Saxotech offers newspapers what it calls “one touch publishing,” which routes and delivers content. That goes for both the inside of a newsroom, for reporters, page designers and editors, and for the outside, when customers read the content. And it includes news on the iPad, journalism's next new frontier for alternative revenue sources.

Saxotech balances the multiple audience management opportunities through cloud computing and publishing. So when a media firm uses Saxotech, its reporters can file stories from the field and its editors can edit from any mobile device. Readers can then read news in the format they want.

The inherent challenge in all this high-tech news delivery, Saxotech executives acknowledge, is the industry has spent decades doing business one way: print. “It's a complicated process,” says Christiansen, to get into a whole new line of business.

Saxotech initially sold its software to media firms in Scandinavia.

In 1998 it hired Christiansen, a Danish-born executive with experience in the software and pharmaceutical industries, to lead a charge into North America.

Christiansen says the firm made a significant capital investment into its transatlantic move — going on the strategy that it wouldn't work otherwise. “It's difficult for a European software firm to make it in the U.S,” says Christiansen. “Most fail because they don't have patience, or the right product. But we stuck with it.”

 

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