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Advent of iPad Shakes up Magazine Production

11 Aug 2010

The iPad is not just perceived as a game-changer in the computer and electronics world; it's already affecting magazine production.

"There's a general feeling on the consumer side that the iPad will become the savior of magazine publishers," says Bill Walker, CEO of Superior Media Solutions, a production services company. He told FOLIO that, "Publishers have got to do things that are richer, more dynamic and interactive, not just transfer a static page from print to digital."

In fact, these days magazine publishing and production can be boiled down simply to: things you can put on an iPad and things you can't, says Steve Grande, VP of sales for Fry Communications. And that's really what magazine production is all about right now: streamlining workflows and content for print and digital distribution.

"What you're seeing is a convergence of print and digital, and publishers are looking very strategically at organizational structures," says Rob Brai, co-founder of SMS and former production director for print products at Northstar Travel Media LLC. "In most cases you find separate print and digital operations. The main point is to create a single stream of operations, removing the silos of print and digital. The advent of XML is neutralizing content and putting it in a form to use for print and digital."

Any time you're considering assets and content management services, an XML workflow and proper tagging at the onset is critical, Grande says. "Content portability, mapping content to various displays, having an XML format for that is critical as well," he says. "It gives you the immediate ability to recast that data in various display formats as well as take that information and merge and purge them with other items."

At SMS, all content is automatically converted to XML. Ad files and images get processed and converted to a Web-friendly format as RGB jpegs. And all content is repurposed to prepare to use for digital products," Brai says.

The production services company allows users to continue to use their own workflow systems, such as InDesign or InCopy, and provides a transparent work environment.

Publishers can drop in and check on the work in progress through a Web browser, compared to the old style of finishing something and dropping it off before you could see it, says Sina Adibi, CTO at SMS.

Standardising content to XML is a major undertaking for any publisher, Adibi told FOLIO. He notes that maintaining content in XML can be a bit of a "nightmare" for publishers as new formats emerge and publishers think about archives and how to migrate them forward.

The full article can be sourced from FOLIO.


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