Under One Roof
In the realm of print media, production is the means to the end, but it may not be how many creatives wish to spend their days—languishing over missing fonts, learning how to preflight and doctoring digital ads.
For New York City-based magazine publisher Ziff-Davis and Chicago-based cataloger Spiegel, production is managed a little differently than it used to be since R.R. Donnelley & Sons started providing total supply-chain solutions. Now, the two companies allow Donnelley to lead digital ad management, four-color scanning, proofing, online content conversion and electronic distribution, allowing the publisher and cataloger to concentrate on core competencies.
Paying for premedia
For Ziff-Davis—known for being at the helm of digital production for nearly a decade—prepress changed hands often, sometimes handled at the New York City facility, sometimes San Francisco, and sometimes at the publisher's offices in suburban Chicago facilities.
Back in February of 1999, P&PE chronicled Ziff-Davis' digital dexterity, reporting on the publisher's technological leads in an era predating mainstream digitization. Since that story ran, however, the publisher traded in-house prepress for outsourced management, somewhat to the surprise of Vicki Egan, a former Ziff-employee-turned-Donnelley-premedia-supervisor.
Egan reports that since outsourcing prepress to Donnelley, the publisher's workflow was only minutely altered. Ziff-Davis continues to be digitally focused; it still RIPs all of its files in house, as well as performing its own color separations. Only now, Donnelley's the ringmaster when it comes to quality control and prepping files for its printing plants.
According to Egan, "Donnelley hiring the former Ziff-Davis staffers has been most beneficial … Ziff-Davis gets the continuity of having the same person who has handled the prepress for a long period [of time]. And the changes have been seamless to the Ziff-Davis staff."
Tom McGrade, Ziff-Davis' executive vice president and COO, reflects on the decision to outsource: "It was a financial win for us."