Another Domestic Ad-production Outsourcer Opens

By: Jim Rosenberg Producing ads since June, Outsourcing USA was started nine months ago in Dallas, Pa., near Wilkes-Barre. The new company has several customers, chief among them Gannett Co., and is in testing and contract negotiations with others. They include another newspaper company for which it would handle all ad production and an insert printer that had earlier taken on ad building, according to its executives.

The company emphasized that has no connection to another outsourcer using the same name and no connection to another ad-production firm in the same northeast Pennsylvania town.

OUSA is taking "up to a quarter" of Gannett production "as they roll out their new regional [ad] production centers," said OUSA Business Development Vice President David J. Madeira. After successfully operating regional photo-toning centers, Gannett established ad-production centers in Des Moines, Iowa, and Indianapolis, Ind.

Work going to Gannett's domestic outsourcing partner (it uses an overseas outsourcer as well) essentially depends on ad volume, with no distinction by type of ad. "We will handle any kind of ad - anything froma grocery circular to a high-end Flash ad" for the Web," said Madeira.

Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing Division chose DPS AdTracker's Enterprise Edition to manage ad production, and OUSA relies on the same software from Database Publishing Systems Inc., Rocky Hill, Conn., to manage production, tracking and operations for print and online ads.

DPS saw the need for domestic, independent ad production "but didn't really have an opportunity to fill that," said Madeira. OUSA founder and CEO Lynn Banta saw the same need, but "we really did not want to be a software-development company," she said, noting the number of such companies already serving publishers.

After Banta talked with Zeke Solimeno about using his firm's software, the DPS President suggested that his company invest in OUSA, where it now holds a minority stake, according Banta and industry technology pioneer Bill Solimeno, who works for DPS but has no ownership in it. The Solimenos are OUSA board members.

Customers need not run DPS software to work with OUSA, which, because it expects most to continue using their existing systems, will arrange to interface with those systems. But customers running DPS AdTracker will gain further functionality owing to the common platform and can seamlessly send and receive materials from within their DPS AdTracker X Client, according to DPS and OUSA.

DPS has more than 360 installed sites and several enterprise customers, for whom it offers Web-based ad building, online ad tracking, Web/print ad production, online ad proofing and materials submission.

Banta had been working with some Gannett employees who mentioned their regional ad-production project and interest in outsourcing.

For certain other potential customers, OUSA may in the near future roll out a program that would allow newspapers basically to rent a server on their premises to use DPS ad tracking without a large up-front investment in the system, according to Madeira.

A lawyer and "serial entrepreneur" who grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, Banta acquired a former textile mill in hopes of helping revitalize an area that never fully recovered from the closing of its coal mines years ago. She converted the mill into a large site for offices and retail space, as well as OUSA's operations. Her experience in managing outsourcing relationships and production was acquired in part from an earlier firm she started to provide hospitals with photos of newborns, a service that grew to include various imprinted products. "Almost all of those employees were remote," Madeira said.

Because "all of our jobs are in the U.S.," said Madeira, OUSA and newspaper staffers can discuss ads in real time with less chance for miscommunication than with overseas sites not in the same or nearby time zone, much less the same country. Overseas outsourcing, he adds, also may seek "significant process changes."

That leaves only cost, and the three executives all note that the area's low cost of living and historically higher-than-average unemployment keep wages low, making the service competitive with offshore outsourcing. In addition to communications advantages, Banta and Madeira point to the area's many colleges, universities and technical schools from which staffers are drawn.

For ad production, Banta said her company can manage personnel utilization more efficiently than in typical newspaper situations, with employees capable of handling everything from the most routine tasks up to and including creative work. Besides time-zone advantages, employees in the area "are used to working shift work," she said. "They'll get to know the advertiser as well as the paper."

Her background and real-estate interests may have put Banta in Dallas, but she says OUSA has no connection at all to American Outsourcing Solutions, started in the same town a few years ago by a former System Integrators Inc. director and an imaging systems supplier to newspapers.

Another source of possible confusion is an oursourcer with the same name, a similar Web address (OUSA's is, but a very different business model. Mexico City-based Outsourcing USA recruits Mexicans with skills that match customer needs, then arranges their visas and transportation to employer U.S. sites.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Scroll the Latest Job Opportunities From The Media Job Board