Over the past couple of years, magazine publishers have been looking for their digital asset management vendors to offer them even more value and convenience as the number of platforms they use to serve their audiences grows.

“Publishers now want a wider range of assets,” Xinet CEO Scott Seebass told FOLIO: “They want to be able to have print, video, audio, etc. in their systems and they want to be able to access them in a simple way. A few years ago, that wasn’t possible, but now it is.”

This new desire for a “super suite,” however, is easier said than done, especially for early adopters of DAM systems. “Some of the [vendors] that were selling these early systems never really got off the ground, so now they may only have a few clients," Seebass said. "Being in a situation like this is costly for the remaining clients, so now they want to go to something that’s more mainstream. We’re seeing these companies having to reinvest in a second round of asset management.”

Also, expanding and bringing together these niche systems into one system involves some compromise, since not every system is built the same. Are you willing to give up certain video features, for example, to get more functionality? “You have to look at things realistically,” Seebass said.” “You have to consider who’s going to be using the system, how they’re going to be using it, how much time would they be saving if they had this particular feature and what the ROI would be.”

Seebass said that Xinet has tried to make the migration for its clients easier by extracting all metadata and making it searchable so that the client, for example, doesn’t have to go to separate systems for wire photos vs. internal photos. They’ve also streamlined rights management so that, during production, the client can see if the rights to a certain file have been acquired or not.

Doing More With Less

In addition to assisting in the streamlining process, vendors also have to help their clients merge their DAM systems with the other systems that guide their editorial and production workflow.  

Jeremy Carlson, manager of digital prepress, digital imaging and media operations, Advanstar, is one of the many magazine publishers that would like to see DAM systems integrated on an enterprise level with other publishing systems.

“This way, our ad booking system can identify incoming ad materials submitted through our ad portal, then relay that information to our DAM, which could then submit to our prepress workflow system and finally flow into a folio system (used for ad/edit mapping) for print, and a CMS system for Web.” While this is currently possible with Advanstar’s DAM and by using XML/metadata, “It’s just a matter of investment in system customization to fit the pieces together."

According to Todd Eckler, EVP of DAM vendor North Plains, it’s all about allowing magazine publishers to do more with less, especially during the economic downturn. Where the departments at each company were very siloed in the past and didn’t do much sharing between those departments, it’s now all about providing ways for publishers to be able to focus on content and advertising regardless of the mode of consumption.

Eckler said there are at least three ways DAM vendors can help publishers with this goal:

1. Help to create workflows around clients’ magazines.
“For the most past, magazines are printed the same way every month,” he says. “But there are always things that come along that may change the process, and publishers need to be able to be reactive to those changes.”

2. Repurpose content (via XMP tagging), so that it can appear in numerous formats, including print, online or mobile phone. “There are also additional key revenue opportunities because the content can be shared with sister publications,” Eckler said. “It’s about getting content into ‘nuggets’ so that they can be reused as individual components, and making it more malleable.”

3. Streamline the photo process so that clients can track all of the shoots that are being done. They can also upload photos being taken at a shoot in real time allowing the photo editor to make comments from their desk as opposed to having to be at the shoot in person.

Thinking Outside the Box in Editorial Management
Check out this related session at The Folio: Show, November 1-2 in NYC!

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