‘Go to market faster’: The Washington Post’s Arc goes outside the tent for payment and data integrations

Arc

The Washington Post’s Arc publishing platform won business early by offering clients lots of homegrown capabilities out of the box and, more recently, by promising to help get paywalls up and running quickly for them.

More recently, it has focused on partnerships and integrations with third-party vendors as it hunts for a wider variety of clients and as subscriptions and first-party user data grow into a bigger priority across the internet.

On Monday, the Post announced a number of updates to Arc, including integrations with BlueConic, a customer data platform that already works with publishers including Hearst and the Boston Globe, and Spreedly, a payments orchestration platform.

In addition to those integrations, Arc also announced it was adding subscription page templates to its page-builder templates, part of an ongoing attempt to make it easier for publishers to stand up subscription offerings quickly. The Post launched the first of those templates last July. Arc also added capabilities to make it easier for publishers to test individualized subscriber experiences across its sites and mobile apps.

While not every one of Arc’s clients operates a subscription business, subs have become an increasingly important priority to Arc clients since Arc launched subscription tools last year. Arc clients, combined, have 50 million registered or subscribed users, the company said, and Arc has added 20 new clients on the subscription side in the past four months, a spokesperson said. The spokesperson would not share how many clients Arc has overall.

Arc uses a software as a service model, where clients pay a monthly fee that varies depending either on the number of seats a client needs or how much bandwidth and pageviews that client needs supporting. Annual costs typically hover in the six- to seven-figure range.

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“We’re trying to make it easier for clients to go to market faster,” said Matt Monahan, vp of product at Arc.

The Spreedly and BlueConic integrations are part of a broader trend for Arc this year, which after years of relying on features it developed in-house has sought out partnerships with outside technologies. In June, Arc announced that it was expanding relationships with content delivery platform Akamai, the experience monitoring service CatchPoint and the data integration platform Mulesoft.

Arc’s moves also fit into a broader trend of marketing platforms fitting themselves more snugly together with other tools as the marketing technology ecosystem continues to mature. “The notion of a CDP being integrated with a CMS is increasingly common,” said David Raab, the founder and CEO of the CDP Institute, a trade group that services the customer data platform space. Raab pointed to a number of recent acquisitions, including the messaging platform Twilio acquiring Segment on Nov. 2 for $3.2 billion worth of stock, and the digital experience platform Acquia buying the CDP AgilOne for an undisclosed sum late last year.

The third-party integrations also come at an important moment for Arc’s business, which now has to serve the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base. Last October, after years of hunting, the Post added the energy company BP as its first non-media client. In addition to BP, Arc now serves broadcasters such as Graham Media Group and newspaper publishers including the Dallas Morning News. A Post spokesperson did not respond to a question about how many clients Arc has added overall since the pandemic hit, or how many clients it has currently.

“Our focus has gotten a lot broader,” Monahan said. “The common theme for a lot of this is flexibility.”

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