Globe looks locally to manage ad flow p.29

By: Jim Rosenberg AS THE PRACTICE of electronic delivery of print ads grows, and with it the types and number of systems available, the need for capturing and managing the flow of ads will become more urgent.
A common collection area, presumably at or near the point of reception, will likely bear some similarity to a big-city bus station: waiting areas, ticket sales, support services and schedules are all well organized, and it doesn't particularly matter which bus line is chosen for transport or what route is taken.
For the job of writing interfaces to manage the flow of advertising from the Boston Globe's variety of electronic delivery systems, and "to connect all the third-party vendors to our pagination system," advertising operations senior manager Rich Masotta said his paper is considering three area firms: Advertising Communications International (ACI), in neighboring Cambridge, Mission Critical Technologies Inc., Concord, and Cascade Systems Inc., Andover.
For its half-million circulation, the Globe already uses Cascade's DataFlow and ImageFlow products.
A developer of archiving and output management systems, Cascade is the pagination integrator at Newsday, Melville, N.Y. ? like the Globe, an Atex publishing systems site. And like the work that lies ahead for the Globe, Cascade was also to implement a system to manage all of Newsday's hard copy and electronic ads and tracking their location and status.
The project included development of extensions to Adobe Systems' Acrobat product for the paper's AdLink system from ACI (E&P, April 22, p.80).
In addition to those from Mission Critical, the Globe has digital ad delivery systems from ACI, Los Angeles-based Digiflex, Ad/Sat and the Associated Press, both in New York, and AdExpress Inc., the recently reorganized electronic bulletin board service based in Milford, Ohio.
The paper also operates its own bulletin board-type service using Apple fileshare, and it receives "quite a few color ads" on Syquest cartridges, according to Masotta.
Having imagined that by now there would be fewer, not more, vendors of ad delivery systems, Masotta said the paper "must investigate all possibilities" for receiving ads as digital files in order to achieve full pagination and eliminate the need to scan ads. The trick, he said, will be in pulling everything in through one centrally managed location.
To handle the kind of work the Globe has in mind, Mission Critical has been working on AdFlow. To be introduced next spring, the product will route ads, ad components and/or ad information throughout the paper (e.g., commercial information to an order-entry front-end or business system, graphics to an ad make-up network or production server).
"Building onto our AdServe functionality," said the company's marketing director, Pat Sorn, AdFlow would make the server a hub for ads arriving electronically from and/or bound for diverse systems.
"We know people are not going to use our software for all the various parts" of the process, said sales manager Bill Farley.
So while AdFax and AdFast systems serve mostly local advertisers' liners and small classified display ads, Sorn said Mission Critical realizes "newspapers will be using other vendors' means" of bringing in the larger ads because they are the means chosen by the advertisers.
But with AdFlow receiving and directing ad traffic, Farley and Sorn "expect to be prepared to deal with the files that come in from those various sources."
Sorn said successful routing may require interfaces through other vendors' black boxes.
"We'll definitely be able to read the header if it follows the specs of the digital ad task force," she said, adding that content, too, should prove no problem if communicated in a portable document format.
More recently, Sorn said it became clear at Nexpo that Mission Critical also has a further role to play on the ad-origination end, looking "for ways that newspapers can supply timely information and support for advertisers."
As former Atex executives, Mission Critical's three founders already had connections with the Globe and many other papers when they started the firm.
Among them, Masotta recalled software development vice president Josiah R.W. Strandberg's role in the paper's Atex Integrated Advertising System 10 years ago.
Masotta represented the advertising department on that project, while Strandberg headed development of AIS as Atex software development director.
Masotta also heads the best-practices work group within the Newspaper Association of America's digital advertising task force. For most of a year, the task force had been seeking to advance the various means of electronic delivery of advertising ? everything from technical feasibility to operational and commercial practicality. Following its final, mid-August meeting, Masotta said the group expected to publish a best-practices document before year's end.
But Masotta foresees continued work for the task force. Completion of the four working groups' assignments will probably lead, he said, to the need for a fifth group ? one that examines work flow issues arising from electronic advertising transmission and transaction.
The paper also operates its own bulletin board-type service using Apple fileshare, and it receives "quite a few color ads" on Syquest cartridges, according to Masotta.


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