CNN Arabic to set sail

The media monolith’s Arabic language web site will go live later this month with more than a little help from KnowledgeView.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 10, 2002

CNN’s Arabic language site is set to go live on the 19th of January and, although locally developed content will not be published until the middle of the year, the media monolith already has its systems in place to publish its version of world events to the region.

Late last year Ron Ciccone, CNN senior vice president & managing director for the Middle East, was bullish about the sites potential success as he told Arabian Computer News that “CNN is going to receive a very healthy reception in the region and if this blows away various entities [the competition] then so be it.”

Underpinning this confidence is its local team and a content management system from KnowledgeView. Although the news provider uses its own in house developed, C++ and Cobol based system in the States, it needed a product that delivered full management and syndication functionality and, more importantly, could handle both Arabic and English.

“They could have done it with their own system but they wanted someone with the support locally and they wanted someone that understands the Arabic language,” explains Ammar Alassam, director, KnowledgeView.

While Arabic language skills set KnowledgeView apart there were also synergies – such as the use of News Information Text Format (NITF) as the preferred mark up language – between the two companies. This meant that, after six weeks defining requirements, the system was deployed in just one and a half months.

As the media giant moves forward its relationship with KnowledgeView looks set to continue, as the lightly customised Rapid Publish solution will support CNN’s cross media publishing plans.

Previously, Ciccone referred to plans for selling content to wireless operators and data on demand while Alassam explains that “CNN plans to distribute content to different platforms, [such as] SMS, e-mail alerts, syndication, interactive television, WAP and PDA.”

“They [CNN] wanted to have a system that can re-purpose this content and deliver it to all these platforms without the duplication of content,” he adds.

In addition to getting the most out of its existing offering, CNN is looking at other KnowledgeView solutions – especially its Java data acquisition package, which acquires content, processes it and, for example, can classify stories on a thesaurus structure.

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