Mediaphormedia expands innovative products

The staff of Mediaphormedia, from front left: Nathan Borror, Betsy Rowden, Melissa Pyle, Karen Boyer, Brian McKinney. From rear left: Glenn Stansberry, Matt Croydon, Alex Kritikos, Adam Fast, Sean Tiemann, Cody Soyland, Travis Cline, Jeff Triplett, Dan Cox, Daniel Lindsley, Sarah Weaver, Sean Bleier, Rick Brandt.

Mediaphormedia, the interactive division of The World Company in Lawrence, is busy refining, upgrading and empowering its two core products for growth during the coming year and beyond.

The products are both based on the Ellington operating system:

• Content management system (CMS) software that allows media companies to publish content and support interaction.

• Marketplace, a software system that provides local-business search “like a new version of online yellow pages,” said Dan Cox, president of Mediaphormedia.

More than 300 websites now run on Ellington, Cox said, and the roster includes “many of the more impressive media brands across the United States, including some very large publishing companies.”

Among them: Golfweek and its parent company, Turnstile Publishing Co.

Ryan Gordan, a Web developer for Golfweek, said that the site’s impressions had grown by at least 15 percent since switching over to Ellington less than a year ago. And the time visitors spend on pages has spiked to four or five minutes, up from less than one minute on the old system.

People are blogging. Visitors are commenting. Everyone, it seems, is interacting.

Now other Turnstile sites — three for newspapers, plus a secondary Golfweek site and another called — are migrating into the world of Ellington.

“We like it that much that we’re going to take the time and expense to move everything we have to it,” Gordon said.

Publicity restrictions prevent Cox from disclosing prospective clients, but he’s confident that Mediaphormedia’s ongoing efforts will continue to expand the brand.

“We started in 2004 with a single license,” he said.

While some clients have licensed the Ellington system and its software for use within their own operations, Mediaphormedia increasingly provides “hosting” services for companies wanting to post their own content on their own sites, but with all the data maintained on servers in Lawrence.

Cox said such service was popular among small- and medium-sized media companies. And Mediaphormedia, backed by technology from Sunflower Broadband, which also is owned by The World Company, is in a strong position to provide such service.

“We’re not just selling software,” Cox said. “We’re selling service: service, hosting facilities and bandwidth.”

The software’s features also are expanding.

Both the content-management and local-search systems are adding functions that incorporate social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

“We allow readers and users to contribute at the same level, to contribute and interact at the same level as the staff does,” Cox said. “It’s a whole new game for us. It’s a media universe in which people expect to contribute and to manipulate their data, and that’s an exciting new area to be working on.”

Newsgathering and sharing is increasingly becoming a community effort, often managed by professional journalists but including — and often relying upon — input from an active and engaged world of readers, viewers, followers and friends.

“Essentially, everything becomes a conversation,” Cox said.

After struggling through an especially difficult financial year in 2009, Cox said, media companies are becoming more enthusiastic about embracing electronic and social media to succeed in today’s information market.

For media companies, he said, last year was all about survival. This year is about moving forward.

“For our potential customers, this is a breath of fresh air, a new opportunity for them,” he said. “I think it’s exciting.”

Mediaphormedia has two dozen Web developers, designers, project managers, sales staffers and managers working at 612-614 N.H., in a red brick building across from the headquarters of The World Company and office and printing operations of its flagship newspaper, the Lawrence Journal-World.