In addition to running a successful print and online news business, the Washington Post also licenses out its proprietary Arc publishing software to other businesses and now the news outlet has struck a deal with its first non-media customer, BP.
The energy giant's communication team will now use Arc's software to publish articles and videos across 250 internal websites, company newsletters and even a mobile app in the future.
The software provides users with an integrated suite of cloud-based tools which make it easier for businesses to post on a variety of different platforms including apps, mobile websites, newsletters and social media. Arc also gives customers everything they need to begin making money through advertising or subscriptions.
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Washington Post created its Arc licensing business in 2014 when it began to give away its newsroom's own software away for free to college newspapers. Since then though, its customer base has expanded to media companies that run over 600 global websites and some of its more notable customers include the Boston Globe, Tribune Publishing and Raycom Media.
Arc currently has around 250 employees, many of which are engineers who work out of an office in Chicago. Once the Washington Post began to license out the software, its sales tripled from 2016 to 2017 and then doubled in 2018.
At the moment, Arc isn't profitable but CIO and VP of product at the Washington Post, Shailesh Prakash expects the business to generate $100m in annual revenue and one day be comparable to the news outlet's advertising and subscription business.
While WordPress.com and its parent company Automattic currently control a large portion of the online publishing industry, Arc has one major advantage, its close ties to Amazon's cloud computing division AWS.
Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post and is the CEO of Amazon, is highly involved in Arc's development and according to Bloomberg, he meets with Washington Post engineers every two weeks to discuss the software's development and future roadmap.
If successful, Arc's new deal with BP could lead to other non-media companies licensing its software and perhaps one day, Arc could even pose a real threat to WordPress' dominance in the CMS market.
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