Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How rich publishers get richer; Hearst saves $1 million on prepress

Hearst, one of the U.S.'s biggest magazine publishers, saved about $1 million by streamlining its prepress operations, according to a story in Folio: magazine. (Hearst publishes, among other titles, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, O: The Oprah Magazine, Redbook and Seventeen.)

It looked at the way things were done down under by Austrialian Consolidated Publishing and implemented many of the ideas back in New York. The Hearst operations was very decentralized, said Cathy Merolle, director of operations, manufacturing and distribution for Hearst.
“We had 18 magazines each with their own ad production and layout staff. There were very few common practices. There were 18 different types of printing instructions, layout maps, split instructions. It wasn’t very efficient.”
  • Each magazine was given its own digital imaging specialist;
  • A "colour-managed" environment was created, providing basic color-theory training for all of its art and production departments;
  • Each department’s workflow was analyzed;
  • FPO scanning was eliminated in favour of a high-resolution workflow;
  • A response team of imaging specialists was created to handle overflow; and
  • A premedia department was created to postflight pages before sending them to the printer
“We had a shared data system, in which you only had to enter things once,” Merolle said. The company also...
  • Deployed a K4 content management system;
  • Switched to an Adobe InDesign and PDF workflow;
  • Purchased Creo Eversmart IQ Scanners, Epson 7800 proofers, and began using virtual ticket to traffic its images and mass transit to send files.

  • “As a result, our savings have exceeded our expectations,” said Ellen Payne, director of editorial operations for Hearst. “Our magazines are more efficient. We shaved three days off our cycle time and we’ve been able to launch new magazines more cost effectively by embracing technology to help us reengineer how we make magazines. And our editors and art directors say they’d never go back to the old way.”

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