B-to-B Vets Team Up to Offer Digital Pre-Press and Production Services
Superior Media Solutions to save Questex 20 percent.
Outsourcing back office operations is becoming standard operating procedure for publishers but a new company offers the chance to keep the business in the U.S.—and possibly find jobs for those employees being phased out.
Superior Media Solutions is a digital pre-press and production company founded by publishing vets Bill Walker (CEO of the Integrated Media Cooperative), Thomson Reuters vets Brian Tyler and Sina Adibi and former Northstar Media production director Robert Brai. SMS incorporated in August 2009 and last week announced its first client in Questex Media Group, which it says will see savings in excess of 20 percent.
“Publishers are focused on content creation and helping their audiences and they’re thinking about outsourcing back-office types of functions,” says Walker. “We’re trying to position ourselves as a technology company. It’s almost like back in the late 1960s and early 1970s when publishers found out they didn’t need to own their own printing presses anymore. Technology has gotten there now as well. The individual publisher doesn’t need their own content management system or their own ad management or Web hosting services. By aggregating all of this, publishers only pay for what they use. They don’t have to be technology experts and they don’t need that big capital expense.”
Walker says there is a difference between SMS and other outsource technology companies, such as HCL technologies, which is working with Advanstar and Reader’s Digest. “We go in look at the process the publisher has in place and we hire their best people,” says Walker. “With Questex, there were almost no lay offs. The biggest thing in business outsourcing is the knowledge transfer. Our guys have been working with the editors, they’ve been working with the agencies and that knowledge isn’t lost.
Fifteen Questex production staffers have been offered the opportunity to transition to SMS as full employees. Walker says SMS will look to offer similar packages as the client base grows.
For print services, pricing is set on a variable cost and per-page model. “On the digital side, the price depends on a lot of different factors depending on traffic, bandwidth and how much they have to host,” Walker says.