The Ad Portal Era
Dolgins says the process is as easy and cost effective for smaller publishers as for larger ones, as it allows publishers of any size to take people off rote production tasks, streamline departments and bring previously outsourced steps in house.
"There's a lot in there allowing a publisher to work with his advertisers," notes Ed Hensen, digital manufacturing group manager for Publishers Press, which offers the SendMyAd portal to a number of clients as part of its suite of services. "You get documentation both parties can see and agree on. I like the idea of getting a preflight report. We also have the [Dalim] TWiST system for manufacturing, so the file is being interpreted and preflighted with the same system we have on the floor. It's very compatible."
The efficiencies created by ad portals have revolutionized workflows for both publisher and advertisers, according to Cathy Merolle, Hearst's director of production operations.
At Hearst, prepress vendors used to submit ads in the evening, a process that would entail overnighting CDs to arrive the next day. By the time the ad was actually fixed in consultation with the agency (who would themselves be in consultation with the customer), the process was usually well into its third day.
Now, ads are submitted and go through a fast preflighting process, with alerts sent right away and (usually) fixed right away. "So within an hour or so, in the middle of the night, everything's fine," Merolle says. "None of this other stuff is going on that takes days and days and days."
The process pushes responsibility for ad quality and completeness back upstream to the vendor or agency. The benefits: workflow efficiency and predictability. "The reaction from advertisers has been very positive," Merolle says." I think they would rather do that than burn CDs."