The Great Ad Repository in the Sky
As 2001 draws near, the graphic arts community must improve the digital ad exchange process.
There are few dates that conjure such mystique as 2001. Maybe 1984 was one; 1776 is another. If you happen to be English, 1066 has major significance. The only difference between these dates is that 2001 has not yet arrived. So, why am I enamored with 2001? Hope. For I hope that 2001 is the year in which the graphic arts industry finally gets its act together and makes strides to implement universal digital ad delivery.
In searching for a means to a digital ad end, we must look at the current standings. Today, we see computer-to-plate (CTP) entering its second generation; those printers that have not yet embraced the technology are, in fact, actively obstructing the process; it's no longer a matter of being cautious adopters. To think that there are mutterings about printers charging premium rates for analog-captive customers, when just five years ago, printers were charging elevated rates for CTP!
There are certainly many factors affecting digital adoption. On the "dark side," we see the Internet, its magnetic power drawing in ad dollars once spent on print.
That trend will only continue to grow, and our jobs will become more complex. Agencies, more comfortable in the digital realm, will appreciate the immediacy of digital ad delivery, and may fall into a habit of sending late ads. And what if the ad was originally created for a Web site? File conversion becomes a necessary evil. A better solution would be to learn how to create "multi-
purpose" files that can be assigned format parameters just prior to output.
Then, there is the gray area: e-commerce. Just recently, we've seen a flurry of companies spring up, which promise to enable e-commerce for print. They offer all sorts of incentives to help publishers and printers become Web-enabled. These companies are attracting great interest. One only has to look at the stock market to understand the reason: "Anything.com" attracts investors' money even if the company is not immediately (if ever) profitable.