Folio: recently hosted a roundtable called "How Technology is Transforming Publishing," that invited participants from a variety of publishing disciplines, including IT, editorial, production and database development. While participants universally described how certain technologies are helping their jobs, they also said that the lack of standards within both the publishing process and publishing technology is hampering the very efforts the technology was supposed to improve.
"Right now we don’t have a single source," says Marie Myers, senior vice president of manufacturing at CMP Media. "We get everything, we get HTML, we get .pdfs, we get DCS2’s, we get all this different type of material that’s coming through our pre-media. It’s tedious to recondition it to go to a digital edition or go to print. That seems to be our biggest challenge."
While the magazine industry struggles to develop its own workflow standards, some observers say manufacturers need to be more involved when it comes to developing cross-platform publishing solutions. "This is where standards would really help," says Joe Galarneau, chief technology officer at New York. "It would be great if the manufacturers, were a little more helpful with this. If manufacturers don’t get more involved in helping with these standards, it’s going to be difficult. You can’t put a magazine out using blog software."
Measurement Key to New Product Development Other publishers called for measurement for new products, ranging from RSS feeds to podcasts and mobile content. While publishers have the ability to execute on these new products, they say they’re having a hard time convincing advertisers (and upper management) that it’s viable because there is no measurement. "You can throw so much energy so quickly at things right now and wonder is it the right time or is it two years from now," says Dan Bigman, managing editor at Forbes.com. "Right now we’re considering audio pod casting but I think we’re just going to wait for video pod casting because I’m not fully convinced that even though people are downloading all this audio, that they’re listening to it. This may be the next big thing but nobody’s really come up with the measurement for it. And that’s what’s holding up advertising. The business side has no way to show that to an advertiser."
Others challenged the publishing industry to take the lead on new technologies. ﾑWhat’s missing is us taking a leadership potions," said BuzzMachine.com’s Jeff Jarvis. "If we did that, it would explode because there would be money behind it. Right now there’s this fear that it’s not there. The audience is certainly there."
Look for the complete roundtable discussion in Folio:’s upcoming July issue.