Digital Publishing Survey: PDF Workflows Widespread But Other Tools Lag In Adoption
Lack of standards, training cited as biggest obstacles.
A Digital Publishing Survey conducted by Folio: Magazine and Readex Research found that while the majority of publishers have adopted PDF workflows, other tools of the new digital workflow;from virtual proofing to JDF files;remain in infrequent use.
Respondents say they send final files of the magazine to the printer via FTP sites 53 percent of the time and via CD 26 percent of the time. E-mail and hard copies account for 2.6 percent of the final transmission to the printer.
Ninety percent of respondents say they use a PDF workflow, while 10 percent said they do not. Of those using PDF workflows, 39 percent have been using PDF for more than three years, while 5 percent just started in the last six months. Thirteen percent of respondents say PDF workflows save them more than $200,000 annually, while 41 percent say it saves more than 10 days on the production process. The biggest challenges for PDF workflow include lack of manufacturing standards (21 percent) and training personnel (20 percent), followed by unsatisfactory color/imagery production (18 percent). The majority (39 percent) of those who don’t currently use a PDF workflow expect to start within one to two years.
The majority of respondents (55 percent) say they do not currently use virtual proofing, while 27 percent of those not currently using it expect to start in one to two years. Twenty five percent of respondents say they use ad portal systems, 14 percent use online insertion orders, and a mere 6 percent are using JDF files (XML-based files that serve as electronic job tickets for production). While the majority of respondents say they think they will start moving in that direction, they say it will be several years before they actually adopt those tools.
For more information on the survey, see the upcoming September issue of Folio: Magazine.
Sending Files To the Printer
Proportion of time final files are sent to the printer using these methods:
PDF workflow: 90%
Virtual proofing: 44%
Ad Portal: 25%
Online Insertion Order: 14%
JDF Files: 6%
Source: Folio:, Readex Research
Methodology: The survey mailing list of 666 was selected by Folio: and included all Folio: recipients classified as art/production management or web/electronic media management at the time of sample selection. Readex Research handled all materials production, addressing, mailing, and tabulation. Data was collected via mail survey from June 13 to July 20, 2006. The survey was closed for tabulation with 297 usable responses;a 45% response rate. The margin of error for percentages based on 297 usable responses is ﾱ4.2% at the 95% confidence level.