Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Printweek webcast, a new era in magazines

The webcast was actually a couple of days ago. I was looking forward to it and made a special trip to LifeBytes to make sure of adequate bandwidth. Unfortunately my experience was that the site just stopped on page one. Turns out this was a Firefox problem. "Works best with Internet Explorer" was dropped as a phrase into the Printweek report. There is your clue. They should have said "We don't support Firefox" right up front. May be just me of course. But suggest you try the Microsoft site for copy of IE before trying the first Printweek webcast.

Unless you are concerned about security. In which case, check the blogs first for recent information.

Anyway, back on topic.

The webcast is full of useful information on Web-to-Print. Well worth 50 minutes time for anyone working in print or publishing. I will come back to the content later. Meanwhile a few main points-

No mention at all of the Job Definition Format (JDF) . I have spoken to several coders who say their systems are compliant with XML but often not the JDF spec. There is no sign of Adobe promoting the features in Acrobat that allow JDF to be created. So maybe the way forward is to mention "Web-To-Print" as sales talk and then worry about JDF when the job reaches production. Long ago the "enquiries" from print reps often had to be rewritten to make any kind of production sense. Maybe the role of JDF in a computerised workflow is much the same.

Similarly I think that Software as a Service(SAS) is not that easy to understand. Later in the webcast there is mention of The Cloud. Sounds a lot simpler.

Main takeaway is that this a breakthrough for Printweek and Haymarket. The question is what will they do next about the print / online mix for magazines? Apparently there is a generation under 26 where interest in print is quite low. So the suggestion is to advertise print to an older generation through Saga magazine. I am not making this up, listen to the whole webcast for details. Nothing against Saga magazine by the way. They feature stories about Prince and other artists I follow.

But what about the future media for people who read Printweek?


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