CMP Media Gets RIPed with Rampage Systems
Last year was a tough one for magazine publishers, as ad pages declined 17.2 percent from the prior year. And when top line revenues drop, production managers are expected to shore-up the bottom line.
With what now seems like uncanny foresight, CMP Media (www.cmp.com) was already moving into high gear on a plan to reduce costs by bringing final page output in house. According to Prepress Director Elizabeth Wimmer, they had been thinking about RIPing pages in-house for several years.
CMP Media, a subsidiary of UK-based United Business Media, publishes 39 periodicals out of three production centers, operates numerous Web sites and hosts several trade shows. Its well-known titles include InformationWeek, Call Center and Diagnostic Imaging.
Like most publishers, CMP was already producing all of its editorial content using in-house scanners, digital cameras and desktop applications such as QuarkXPress, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Wimmer and her colleagues have slowly but surely been making progress in getting advertisers to supply CMP with digital files. A member of DDAP (www.ddap.org) and a big advocate of standards, such as TIFF/IT-P1 and PDF/X-1a, Wimmer says they made a big push towards digital during 2000 and 2001. For advertisers unable to send digital files, CMP's printers copydot the supplied films and provide low-res FPO files for page make-up. "We made a real effort to go completely digital," she remarks. "Many of our titles are now 100 percent [digital]."
The only remaining part of the workflow not being done by CMP was final page processing—RIPing page files into bitmaps for imposition and final output on digital platesetters at its five printers. "Cost per page was the major ROI metric," notes Wimmer. "We knew there were manufacturing cost savings we could achieve if we brought RIPing in-house."
Last May, she got the go-ahead to tackle this part of the workflow. Wimmer formed a task force comprised of herself; Ed Biosca, NY prepress manager; Judie Taylor, digital advertising manager; and Marie Myers, production and financial director. They specified the production and financial criteria the system would have to meet.