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DISCUSS THE TRANSITION TO AUTOMATED OBITS

GANNETT NEWS

Gannett to automate obituaries


Gannettoid.com | news@gannettoid.com | Posted: Aug. 17, 2009 • Night report


Gannett is prepared to begin launching self-publishing obituary publishing at its newspapers.

According to a memo sent Monday from Annette Gould, Gannett's manager of advertising technology, and obtained from a source within the Interstate Group’s production arm, The Indianapolis Star will be the first site, with a scheduled transition for the week of Sept. 7.

Gannett has contracted Wave2 to provide the software. Customers will be directed to a Web site where they can select a template, fill in their individual information and submit the obituary. The program then takes the information, formats it and posts it to the newspaper’s host system. This change means funeral directors will have a new way to submit this information.

The first round of implementations includes 11 sites (one site simply lists "Wisconsin." Gannett has 10 newspapers in Wisconsin.). All of the sites listed are in Gannett's Interstate Group.

Classified obituaries and celebration ads are the first items to be moved to this automated system.

While this move could potentially reduce the classified call center staff, possible layoffs and other related personnel moves are unknown.

According to a press release from Wave2, the company, "grew its customer base and hosted services business by 400 percent in the first quarter of 2009, the best quarter since the company opened its doors in the U.S. back in 2006."

The company was founded in the UK in January 2004.

Here is the memo:

From: Gould, Annette
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 1:39 PM
To: Kane, Michael G (Indianapolis); Klink, Bruce (Indianapolis); Jackson, James; Bolger, Bill; Hite-Wadler, Lisa; Jonas, Vicki; Minogue, Beth; Fung, Sidney; Challoner, Brenda; King, Stacia H
Cc: Giallombardo, Leslie; James Allen
Subject: Wave2 - Obits and Celebrations Launch

Over the next few weeks we will be finalizing all launch materials and expect to begin general rollout of Obits and Celebrations Self Service the week of September 7th. Below is a list of planned start dates for your region:

9/7/2009
Indianapolis
9/21/2009
Louisville
Cincinnati
Wisconsin
NNCO
9/28/2009
Lansing
10/12/2009
Lafayette, IN
10/19/2009
Battle Creek
10/26/2009
Muncie
11/2/2009
Port Huron
11/9/2009
Richmond

Several factors may impact the planned start date including the classified front-end system in use and current processing for both Obits and Celebrations. As we get closer to each locations planned start date you can expect to begin receiving the following additional information:

- Online session information to review the business strategy for Obits and Celebrations, including Pricing, Packaging, Ad Design and How to go to Market.
- Credit Card processing request (to controller only).
- Training session information for both Creative and Operations implementation team members.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me.     


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