Block rolling out Libercus; buys stake

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Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 12:09 pm

Block Communications Inc. said it made a multimillion-dollar investment in E. Viddal & Associates and will roll out Viddal’s Libercus CMS at both of its daily newspapers in a project that will conclude early next year.

Block began using Libercus to power the website of The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, earlier this year. As part of the investment, Block agreed to use Libercus to anchor both print and digital production at The Blade as well as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“E-delivery for us is a big opportunity,” Blade Vice President of New Media John Crisp said about the benefits of the integrated publishing app. “This will allow us to tie advertising solutions across both print and digital; it will also provide us a more dynamic workflow across a single platform.”

Crisp said the software will also support The Blade’s paywall, which will go into effect next month.

Viddal CEO Erlend Viddal said Block’s capital infusion will allow his company to accelerate R&D and marketing of cloud-based Libercus. “(Block and I) had the same vision, but on our own we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the products as quickly as we did. The product is there; now we are ready to hit the market.”

Libercus, under development for the past three years, has its own copy-editing, pagination and layout engines and does not require the use of Adobe InDesign or QuarkXpress, Viddal said. “It’s more of an application server that allows us to build new functionality very rapidly,” he said of Libercus. “Every part of the system looks and feels the same to users.”

The apps are deployed through Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Azure cloud-computing platform.

News & Tech will have more details about Block’s strategy in the next edition of the magazine.

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