Follow the herd and rent before you buy

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Nick Elsener has spent more than 30 years in magazine production. He is currently VP-production at Hanley Wood and the chairman of American Business Media's production and manufacturing tech-nology committee. He recently discussed tech-nology's impact on the magazine industry. Media Business: Since there is constant-ly “the next thing,” how do you recom-mend publishers be sure they are spending wisely on technology? Nick Elsener: Be part of the herd. When searching for a tech company, use companies other publishers you admire are using. Avoid buying into a tech company that also handles magazines but is built around satisfying other client types. Often the answer is don't buy a system but rent it in an ASP plat-form, especially when dealing with quickly changing technologies. Such technologies are often expensive and require specialized expertise to run. If you want technology you can't afford, talk to your printer. Many printers are offering work-flow solu-tions as extended parts of their services. MB: What's the “next thing” to keep an eye on? Elsener: Continual automation of page flow to many platforms. On the advertiser side, PDFs which once came in to us in many unruly flavors are now pretty vanilla and easily handled by automated ad portals. The next steps left are to push these PDF files beyond the printer's plate room. Beyond going from publisher to press, the next push is to our digital editions environment, to our iPad, and smartphone apps, to archiving storage, even in some cases to an automated XML tagging output setup. Advertising information flow (is also something to keep an eye on). As insertion orders become involved with more than print, including correspon-ding e-media campaigns, the data grow in complexity and volume.
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