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CMS Vendors
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Atex

Desk, ACE, Web, Print (Hermes and Prestige)

Long-time print-oriented vendor from Sweden today still focuses on those roots, even as it rolls out digital Content Management System (CMS) capabilities

  • Atex has a long history with automating news production, with a deep understanding of newsrooms, though the firm has undergone many changes and the digital toolset is evolving slowly
  • Best fit for its digital CMS lies with mid-sized, independent news organizations, still centered primarily on print and only secondarily on digital
  • Customers include la Repubblica (Italy), El País (Spain), the Daily Mail and Metro (UK), and the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia).

Likely fit

Atex’s complexity limits it to medium to large publishers that need to manage both digital and print, and need a highly tailored and custom approach for individual publications. Atex is not particularly suited to digital only publications or publishers that require extensive content sharing across multiple publications.

At a glance

Primary Customer Fit

Mid-sized Independent News Organization

Secondary Fit

Large News Organization

Most Active Geographies

EMEA

Official Support Hours

Help Desk support during office hours

24/7/365 on-call support for production critical issues

Officially Supported Languages for User Interface

English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Turkish

Third-party Language Support Available?

No

License Model

Subscription license (SaaS) based on users, storage, and web traffic Perpetual license based on users plus additional support and maintenance license to get access to updates and bug fixes

Scope Summary

Focused on content production for print and digital, with some basic digital front-end functionality, but no revenue generation features out of the box

Tech Base

Java (Tomcat), Docker, GraphQL API, NextJS/React

Cloud Model

SaaS in AWS

Headquarters

Stockholm, Sweden

Head Count

150

What customers report

  • Tight integration between digital and print, including print previews within the browser
  • Comprehensive toolset can be extensively tailored to the needs of a publisher in close cooperation with Atex
  • Content editing in Desk feels familiar to editors
  • Implementations can be slow and hard to scale, especially if print is part of the workflow
  • Outdated architecture can prove difficult to run, even if Atex is slowly updating this
  • Treating the article body as one block of content works well for editors, but can be hard to publish across channels when shared between digital and print
  • Platform is not particularly suited to sharing content across different publications
  • The ACE CMS remains very much in development and doesn’t always feel like a finished product

Background

  • Atex was founded in 1973 in the U.S. and produced one of the first electronic (paperless) platforms for the news industry. The company has since undergone multiple major changes, having been owned by Kodak before being spun off again as a separate entity. It has acquired several other software companies over the years — notably, Polopoly, a Swedish news-focused web CMS, in 2008. The company HQ moved to the UK, and then Sweden, though key leadership appears to reside in the Milan office. Atex also has offices in Finland, Brazil, Australia, and Singapore. Atex is now an operating group of Canada-based Constellation Software Inc., which buys and holds vertical market software.
  • The company continues to support print publication through its “Hermes” and “Prestige” systems, though the focus has shifted to "Desk" (multi-channel authoring) and "ACE" (Atex Content Engine), which includes both a headless CMS and Atex Web as front-end. Editorial staff will generally produce content in Desk, which also allows management of the digital front pages and print editions.
  • Atex Desk pivots around the Content Editor, which, although it uses “blobs” of unstructured (HTML) content, can embed content using iFramely for digital. It also includes a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, Frontpage Editor, and Matik (for photo collages). Atex is one of the few systems that can automatically avoid duplicate headlines on front pages (though this can be overridden).
  • Most Atex implementations still run largely on-premise, with the editorial environment, Desk, running in a traditional, Java-based application server. Content can be fed through ACE and ACE Web to manage the web and app front-ends; ACE employs a more modern (largely micro-services based) architecture.
  • In terms of fit, Atex’s complexity limits it to medium to large publishers that need to manage both digital and print, and need a highly tailored and custom approach for individual publications. Atex is not particularly suited to digital-only publications or publishers that require extensive content sharing across multiple publications.
  • While Atex is being used by many newspapers and publishers around the world, given the breadth of the (legacy) toolset, it can be difficult to tell which tools are getting deployed by each. Implementations tend to have evolved over time and are usually tailored to the customer.
  • The company reports that an average system for a newsroom of 50 editors can cost around $110,000 USD for content management and print production. Web site publishing for a property with around 1M page views per month could cost around $18,000 USD per year.

Package scope (as reported by vendor)

Core platform - i.e., bundled in product (yes/no/beta) Add-On (yes/custom/3rd party)
Content lifecycle: author / classify / edit / approve / publish / re-purpose / archive / dispose
Ja
Basic digital / voice / media asset management
Ja
Support print publishing
Ja
Simple social media re-publishing
Nein
3rd Party
Optional modules: forms / polls / social widgets / etc
Nein
3rd Party
Connector library (OOTB connectors, APIs, etc.)
Ja
Bundled CDN (with DDOS protection)
Ja
User registration
Ja
Subscription management and fulfillment - digital
Nein
Ja
Abo oder Mitgliedschaft
Nein
Ja
Personalisierung
Nein
3rd Party
Ad management - digital
Nein
Ja
Ad management - print
Nein
Ja
Content-Management
Nein
3rd Party
Forschung
Ja
Content-Management
Ja
Video management / OVP
Ja
3rd Party
Audio management / podcasting
Ja
3rd Party
Datenjournalismus und -visualisierung
Ja
3rd Party
Classifieds
Nein
Commenting / community features/
Nein
3rd Party
Newsletter production and management
Nein
3rd Party
Notifications and alerts
Ja
A/B testing
Nein
SEO
Ja
Multi-title management with variable inheritance
Ja
Complex layout and subsite / subsection cloning
Ja
AR- / VR- enhanced services
Nein
Zielgruppensegmentierung
Nein
Online user / partner forums
Nein
Regular user group meetings
Nein
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