Charles Blanchard: Blanchard Systems
CEO | Blanchard Systems
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK IN PUBLISHING FOR 2007?
As an integrator of production systems, I believe that more and more changes in technology will continue to affect how publishers operate their businesses: Publishing magazines. The ability to integrate a workflow between publishers, advertisers and printing or e-publication companies is imperative.
Technologies are only as good as the weakest ‘island’—the production area that utilizes technology in the least. You create a complete, end-to-end solution by implementing technologies and improving these islands, allowing them to work together.
New, prevailing technologies are enabling this. Database driven workflow solutions that embed XML data into files are creating smart files that, in turn, bridge all of the islands of technologies together from creation to distribution. They will affect how publishers do business with their customers and vendors in the future—for example, advertising and insertion orders driven by AdsML. With order instructions embedded in the ad file itself, these electronic insertion orders are serving as contracts between advertisers and publishers that were previously faxed. The agreement and approval are electronic, virtual, and save money because no one handles it.
WHAT ARE THE MOST CRITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR SEGMENT OF THE BUSINESS FOR 2007?
From a production perspective, publishers must oversee costs (and time pressures) and communications, and deal with technology changes. Publishing is becoming, more and more, an automated process. Our experience is that most publishers are taking what used to be a manual process and completely automating it with technology.
HOW MUST PUBLISHING COMPANIES ADAPT IN 2007?
Publishers must implement systems that are more effective in setting up and managing magazines electronically, allowing day to day receipt of ad materials, and sending magazine content to print vendors (including proofing, reviewing and virtual approval of content).
WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES?
E-technology: If publishers do not adopt Web-based technologies it could be considered a threat. However, with forward thinking, it becomes an opportunity. Publishers must develop the ability with software to manage multiple streams of production—one could be print centric while a concurrent one is Web-centric, using the same information to produce both.
Publishing cost model: With skyrocketing postage and production expenses, publishers must control their costs. They can do so by using production technology to save dollars while, at the same time, adding value to the end reader’s experience with e-book or e-pub technologies.
WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH?
Collaborative technology: this can bring publishers closer to both advertisers and vendors. For example, ad portals can create an opportunity for advertisers to submit, preflight and approve ad content, and then automate ad distribution to the printing company or publisher.
Virtual magazine production on the Web: For example, DALiM MiSTRAL allows editors and the production department to collaborate through a portal anywhere in the world. They can set up the signature of a book, create it, review the flat plan, submit editorial pages, and collaborate over content. We have seen publishers tie satellite editorial offices from all over the world. By using automated solutions, labor is reduced or moved to perform different tasks.
e-books and e-pubs: Design technologies are creating a richer user experience. Those production technologies that automatically create content for the ‘e-experience’ put publishers ahead of the game.