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Inside Graham Media Group’s Lightning-Fast Site Launch

When Graham Media Group transitioned to Arc they did so with their first site launching on the platform in eight weeks and the remaining seven sites rolling out over the course of the following two and a half weeks.

You can’t grow your digital business unless you own your reader experience. That’s why national broadcaster Graham Media Group chose to adopt Arc Publishing across all eight of their sites, launching their first site in under two months.

“In the first week that we were live on the Arc platform,” said Jonathan Beard, director of digital product development, “we had already done a number of code releases that added more features than we had in an entire year on our previous CMS platform.”

The seventy-year-old broadcast company has invested heavily in technology. In 2013, it created a team called Graham Digital, with responsibility for the technology that powers all digital platforms, including websites, mobile apps, OTT apps, and more.

Led by Beard, the Graham Digital team knows that owning their tech stack will give them more control over the reader experience and allow them to better be able to meet their audience’s needs.

“We wanted a CMS where our team could take a large amount of responsibility for the consumer-facing development while still having best in class back-end support dev,” explained Beard.

The implementation process was lightning-fast. Beard’s team, working in close collaboration with Arc, launched their first site on the platform in eight weeks and rolled out the remaining seven sites over the course of the following two and a half weeks.

“I think that part of what enabled us to be successful is that we, almost instantly after our developer training, started our data migration,” Beard said. “Within two weeks, our data was migrated. And we had our developers and our internal content team working on the new platform as we iteratively developed the user experience.”

With Beard’s team handling the front-end development, Arc served as a strategic partner. Arc solution engineers joined Graham Digital’s one week sprints, stayed in close contact with the team via Slack, and participated in regular check-in calls to maintain executive buy-in. The close collaboration ensured that day-to-day questions could be answered quickly and kept the overall process on schedule.

“Graham Media Group was one of our fastest implementations yet,” said Julia Belanger, Arc’s Head of Account Management. “They were completely aligned from the start.”

Since their launch, the Graham Media sites have seen significantly improved page speed, as well as evidence that the new sites give readers an improved experience. Beard’s engineering team has seen additional notable improvements since the switch, including reduced code maintenance and a more simplified process for rolling out new functionality and features, thanks to Arc’s modular and flexible code.

“We were looking to be able to have as much responsibility for the audience-facing consumer experience on our platforms as possible,” said Beard. “Arc lets us do that.”