Why Drupal is the best CMS for media & publishing

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Business Experience Drupal

As the leading open-source enterprise content management system, Drupal is a feature-rich platform which a lot of high level industries are putting to good use. One of these is media and publishing, which is able to take full advantage of Drupal’s streamlined editorial functionality and media management.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into what makes Drupal such a great fit for media and publishing companies, how it impacts their position in the current digital economy, and what Drupal initiatives we can expect to further optimize features for media and publishing. Let’s get started.


1. Top-tier media management

Media was added into core Drupal in version 8. Ever since then, one of the platform’s strongest features has been its media management capabilities, which in core consist of the Media and Media Library modules.

This has been further enhanced with version 9 which added WYSIWYG functionality to the Media Library. Drupal 10, slated for release in December 2022, will feature an updated version of CKEditor, the text editor used by Drupal.


2. Enterprise-ready

In the past few years, Drupal has been positioning itself more and more strongly as an enterprise-first content management platform, moving away from simpler monolithic use cases into growing support for modern digital experiences and architectural trends.

Under the next few points we’ll break down the enterprise-ready features of Drupal 9 which are particularly relevant for the media & publishing industry.


3. Commitment to accessibility

Accessibility has become an essential element of a good digital user experience. Media & publishing has to take care to make content accessible to all users, and they need platforms that will enable this for content creators and editors in addition to developers.

Drupal has made great strides to be accessible out of the box, with an abundance of accessibility-first functionality available in core and a strict adherence to WCAG 2.1; on top of that, it also features a number of freely available accessibility modules which are contributed and vetted by community members.


4. Streamlined content editor UX in Drupal 9

One of the biggest improvements of Drupal 9 has been the streamlined administration user experience, owed in large part to the new and refreshed admin theme Claro. Claro is an enhancement of the already editor-friendly admin theme, featuring a more modern and less cluttered interface.

Drupal 9 also included the Layout Builder functionality in core which introduced easy drag-and-drop editing and additionally streamlined creation of diverse content types.

This is particularly relevant considering the rise of no-code / low-code website builders, e.g. Wix, which are gaining ground in some enterprise settings as well. The addition of Layout Builder brings the content editing experience closer to that with which users have familiarized themselves when using Wix or a similar tool.


5. API-first

Due to the innovation in digital experiences, multichannel / omnichannel publishing has become a top desired functionality for media & publishing. Content management platforms have started providing headless / decoupled capabilities, with some fully decoupled systems altogether abandoning traditional content management functionality in favor of these.

Since Drupal 8, Drupal has strived to be an API-first CMS, its streamlined support for REST and JSON:API being a huge boon for decoupling the front end. This strong API support enables easy decoupling with React or Vue, as well as Next-Drupal for example. The recent Decoupled Menus initiative has been another important step in bringing JavaScript closer to the Drupal world.


6. High-level multilingual capabilities

Another sought-after functionality in media & publishing is the ability to easily deliver content at scale to international audiences. Here Drupal shines again thanks to its high-level multilingual capabilities, providing not only smooth translation workflows but also ample options for content localization and custom page layouts for different languages.


7. Caters easily to complex publishing workflows

A major draw of Drupal’s for content managers and editors is the flexibility of publishing workflows. The platform enables the creation of drafts and revisions, with custom publishing times and approval processes based on elaborate customization of user roles and according permissions.

As mentioned previously, Drupal also allows for multichannel publishing as an API-based headless content platform. All of this customizability means media & publishing organizations can tailor the entire experience to their particular workflows and needs.


8. Latest updates & initiatives

In addition to all these features, there are a number of other recent initiatives and innovations in Drupal that are benefiting organizations in media & publishing. We already highlighted the Decoupled Menus strategic initiative; also important is the Easy Out of the Box initiative, which as its name suggests aims to streamline the out-of-the-box experience for less technical users.

Another notable novelty is the announcement Dries Buytaert made in his DrupalCon Portland 2022 keynote speech to evolve Drupal’s vision statement to “Drupal is for ambitious site builders”, a more specific version of the previous focus on ambitious websites intended to empower the new generation of site builders who are used to working with modern tools.

And, last but certainly not least, we need to mention the recent industry shift from web content management to digital experience management, where Drupal is the leading open-source platform, with Acquia also being recognized as a DXP leader by Gartner.

Given how essential it is for the media & publishing industry to keep up with latest digital trends lest it fall behind the times, having a platform which ticks all the traditional boxes while also catering to the creation of more complex/modern multichannel experiences is definitely a huge boon. Add to that Drupal’s open-source status and it’s really a no-brainer why it is the top CMS platform for news, media & publishing organizations.


Thunder, the Drupal distribution tailored to media & publishing

While Drupal will by itself give you all the functionality that we’ve highlighted in this article, you can also go a step further and choose a content management system that’s tailored specifically to the needs of media & publishing companies.

Developed by Hubert Burda Media and released as open source, Thunder was designed specifically as a CMS for professional publishing and is now used by numerous businesses across a number of industries.


Wrapping up

Drupal’s highly capable out-of-the-box editorial capabilities, together with its open-source nature, make it an ideal CMS choice for any media / publishing business. If you’re considering moving to Drupal or upgrading from an older version, drop us a line or learn more about how we work with Drupal.