Quad's Ad Management Services Benefit Publishing Clients
Monday, December 22, 2003
December 22, 2003 -- When Quad/Imaging launched its network of Advertising Resource Management (ARM) centers six years ago, publishers were forever freed from the hassles and limitations of film-based production. ARM removed the final barrier to an all-digital (i.e., computer-to-plate) production environment by converting agency-supplied ad film to digital files and distributing those files directly to any printer. Fast forward to today. Our ARM services have expanded into a complete advertising management system. Our print ad specialists handle everything for publishers, from online processing of ad files to submitting ad inspection reports, creating proofs and providing 24-hour pick-up access to archived ads via the Web. Our ARM services even distribute final files anywhere they need to go. "We're all about helping publishers find ways to save time and reduce costs," said Tom Frankowski, vice president of Imaging Operations. Raster Masters Our newest ARM service helps publishers even before they receive an agency's or engraver's digital ad files. We work directly with advertising agencies and engravers to convert digital advertising files into a reliable, raster-based format — the universally accepted standard for digitally imaging plates. As a result, publishers no longer have to accept the costs and liability associated with handling files submitted in formats that are unusable for computer-to-plate production. "Publishers should require advertisers to supply advertisements in a raster-based format, such as TIFF/IT, DCS2 or PDF/X1, because it's a very reliable format for computer-to-plate production," Tom said. Raster-based files are reliable because they are formatted in a computer's native language of zeros and ones, so no special devices are needed to interpret the file for purposes of making a proof or a plate. By contrast, vector-based files — which include popular applications such as Quark, Illustrator and PageMaker — require interpretation prior to preparing digital proofs and plates, creating opportunities for errors. "By nature of the way vector-based files operate, fonts and images must be supplied in a separate file, which requires interpretation and introduces an opportunity for error," Tom said. When fonts are missing or text spontaneously reflows, Quad/Imaging must manually fix it, which adds time and cost to ad processing. By referring advertising agencies and engravers directly to our ARM Call Center for file-conversion services, publishers are no longer caught with the cost, confusion and liability of handling vector-based files. "When the industry embraced computer-to-plate production, publishers suddenly became responsible for preparing ads in the proper format," Mr. Frankowski said. "With our ARM center services, publishers can refer the work to us and eliminate the cost and liability altogether." To use the services of the ARM Call Center, ad agencies or engravers need only call the center's toll-free hotline at 1-866-276-2368 and provide some basic processing and billing information before uploading their files to a secure Internet site. The ARM Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., CST. Soon, ad agencies and engravers will have the option of placing file-conversion orders online through our Web site: www.ARMCenter.com. "In this regard, the Web will serve as a high-tech complement to our high-touch, call center service," Mr. Frankowski said. The Direct Connection Beyond the ARM Call Center, we offer another time- and cost-saving ad-management service for publishers: ARM Direct. Like the ARM Call Center, ARM Direct puts us in direct contact with ad agencies and engravers. We receive, log in and process all ad materials (such as disks and proofs) directly on a publisher's behalf, which: • Liberates publishers from having to commit an internal resource to handling disks, proofs and other ad materials supplied by an agency or engraver. • Lowers publishers' distribution costs because they no longer have to send packages of ad materials to printers for processing. • Saves as much as one full day of processing time because the materials bypass the publisher and come directly to our manufacturing facility where they are immediately entered into production. After our ARM Direct service staff conducts an initial ad inspection of the files, we post them to a secure Internet site. There, publishers can access the files through Web/ADVantage, a Quad/Graphics Smart Tool. Using Web/ADVantage, publishers can download to their desktop low-res versions of advertisements to build QuarkXPress pages (using the images as FPOs), create book layouts with a computer application like Impoze, or re-purpose the ad for the Web. And, because the hi-res version of each ad is archived, publishers can access their ads online to pick-up for future reuse. "Our clients can simply go online to search, preview and select images," Mr. Frankowski said, explaining that Web/ADVantage can decrease the amount of time needed to make ad selections by as much as 80 percent. And, because pick-ups are done in a paperless environment, publishers save the time and expense of combing back issues for ads, then either faxing or express mailing their selections to the printer. "It's simple, easy and direct," Mr. Frankowski said. ARMed With Information, Tools In addition to Web/ADVantage, Quad/Imaging offers publishers other useful "Smart Tools." www.ARMCenter.com, for example, is a Web portal where publishers can post their advertising specifications for free, creating a universal access point. Currently, multiple publishers and titles have their ad specs listed on ARMCenter.com, with more regularly signing on. Another innovative Smart Tool is Ad/Sync, a comprehensive ad tracking/production tool designed exclusively for publishers. Ad/Sync does everything from automatically reserving space in a publication after an ad is sold to tracking ads across multiple issues of a publication and tracking every account by salesperson as well as providing real-time ad sales reports that can be accessed from anywhere in the world! Ad/Sync is fully integrated with Impoze and, soon, will be integrated with Web/ADVantage, so our publishing clients will be able to preview JPEGs of their ads. "Publishers are amazed by Ad/Sync because of its extensive reporting capabilities, and because it quantifies everything simply and easily, keeping data in one convenient place," Mr. Frankowski said. All these benefits add up to saved time and improved efficiencies for publishers. Accessible, Assessable Benefits Through our ARM services and tools, agencies, engravers and publishers are realizing measurable benefits. Our ARM Call Center alleviates the cost, confusion and liability of publishers processing their own vector-based files. With ARM Direct, publishers save time because we remove as much as one full day from the production cycle. Web/ADVantage saves time, too, when publishers need to pick up ads for reuse or repurposing. Thumbnails of those ads are available online 24/7 and are easily downloadable to any desktop — a convenience that can't be replicated. Furthermore, Web/ADVantage adds convenience as the front end for Impoze, so the information a publisher uses to lay out a magazine is the same information used to make plate impositions, eliminating multiple re-entry of information and the potential errors associated with that re-entry. And, of course, tools like ARMCenter.com and Ad/Sync simplify and expedite communications not only within a publishing company but within agencies, engravers and printers. These are what we call "direct" benefits.