Leipzig, 13 October 2003 -- The first international data-exchange standard for managing the electronic transfer of information in the advertising industry — AdsML 1.0 — was released today for public consultation. The new standard is expected to shorten advertising deadlines and time to market, save time and money, reduce errors, improve communication between business partners throughout the supply chain, enhance business relationships and open the door to new business opportunities.
The AdsML standard — an ambitious project to simplify one of the most complex commercial environments in business today — was developed by a consortium of associations, organizations and companies in order to provide a globally consistent way of automating advertising processes. The advent of this standard is heralded by many as a significant development for all parties in the industry.
“Some of the best minds in the advertising and publishing industries came together to create this standard,” notes Harald Löffler, research manager, Ifra, Darmstadt, Germany, and chair of the AdsML Consortium. “It meets the multiple needs of all segments of the advertising supply chain and sets the stage for the industry to move confidently into new markets using present and future technologies.”
“This is a red letter day for the advertising and publishing industries,” adds David Jones, general manager of Vio Worldwide in London, U.K. “It is a chance for everyone in these industries to start mapping out how, in the years ahead, they are going to slash their costs and transform their commercial responsiveness by embracing the drive for automated handling of advertising transactions.”
XML-based standard leverages, expands on other standards.
The AdsML specification is based on the widely accepted eXtensible Markup Language (XML). It ties together the many business processes that make up the lifecycle of an ad and facilitates communications between them. AdsML 1.0 is an inclusive standard. It embraces standards already established for different processes and facilitates them working in tandem. The standard also sets specifications for inventory management and invoicing and billing, capabilities not available until now.
“At present, advertising is sold and produced using disparate advertising systems and processes that are more complex and costly than they need to be,” says Allan Marshall, managing director, Associated Mediabase, London, U.K. “A more streamlined process of data definition based on XML can reduce the costs of the end-to-end advertising process significantly. AdsML is that process and will save its users time and money.”
Jack Knadjian, strategic business development manager, newspapers at Agfa-Gevaert N.V., Antwerp, Belgium, agrees. “The automation of workflow within businesses is an ongoing process and is unstoppable because it reduces costs. Businesses involved in Advertising need to embrace automation sooner or later. One of the ways of facilitating automation is to create standards. Creating an XML standard that encompasses and supplements existing standards is the best way of doing it. Agfa has always supported the creation of standards. We were one of the original founders of CIP4 and are proud to be a Founding Member of AdsML.”
‘Advertising Standards Matrix’ project to survey other standards.
While not comprehensive, standards for specific aspects of the advertising lifecycle already are in use. Since the AdsML Consortium is committed to making AdsML an inclusive standard, it has established the Advertising Standards Matrix project to identify and survey all existing and emerging standards, across all media, that manage essential processes in the advertising lifecycle. This will ensure that the AdsML standard can reconcile conflicting demands of differing standards.
“The Advertising Standards Matrix will provide implementers with a coherent, organized menu from which to choose the most appropriate format for each type of advertising information that they need to transmit,” says Tony Stewart, chair of the AdsML Technical Working Group and director of consulting at RivCom, Swindon, U.K.. “Our discussions with vendors and publishers have already shown that there is an urgent need for this kind of objective guidance.”
The industry’s future rests on convergence.
This first version of the AdsML standard is tailored to the specific requirements of newspapers and magazines and inserts for these publication as well as classified, SMS and MMS. The next release, expected in early 2004, will set standards for ads for broadcast and other media, including banner, pop-up and classified ads for the Web, billboards and outdoor advertising, and on-screen advertising in cinemas and movie theaters.
“Advertising is going global, and it is penetrating all media. Ads are corporate assets and companies are going to demand the ability to reuse ads created for one medium for use in other media. The AdsML standard makes that possible,” says Consortium Vice Chair John Iobst, vice president, NAA/IFRA Technical Solutions, Inc., Vienna, Va., USA. He adds, “It’s the wave of our industry’s future, and the faster we get on board with it, the faster we’ll be able to benefit from what it provides.”
Internet advertising is one example of media convergence. Marcel Dumont, technical director for Rosetta, Amsterdam, The Netherlands — a member of the Consortium’s Technical Working Group — notes that “Rosetta’s business specialty, Internet classifieds, requires us to integrate closely with many different print-based systems. Tying the ends together can be a labor-intensive and frustrating experience without an agreed standard. AdsML can be this standard, making Rosetta’s integration work quicker and more cost-effective. That means less hassle for everyone and a faster time to market.”
Bottom-line benefits are significant.
The financial payoff of implementing the AdsML standard rests on the efficiencies and accuracies inherent in doing so and is significant and immediate.
According to Ifra CEO Reiner Mittelbach, “Getting to this point in the standard’s development has taken considerable work, but the benefits will be substantial. Any time you can take a process that includes 15 different, sometimes redundant steps per ad and streamline it, businesses benefit. Using AdsML 1.0 will provide every sector of the advertising supply chain with a high degree of confidence that ads placed will appear where and when they should and will look exactly as they should.”
Consortium invites broad participation.
“The benefits of streamlining the way advertisments are booked and insertions made are enormous and will save companies huge sums of money in the years ahead,” concludes Jones. “We urge all publishers, media owners, advertising agencies, media buyers and technology suppliers to seize the opportunity the AdsML has opened. All are invited to join the consortium as it defines a globally consistent way of automating advertising processes. This is the forum where tomorrow’s way of handling advertising is being evolved, and a warm welcome awaits everyone who comes to help build the future.”
Norbert Ohl, managing director, ppi Media, Hamburg, Germany, concurs. “Standardization is the vital requirement for higher efficiency and transparency in the automated newspaper production. The AdsML Consortium is, after CIP4, the second standardization committee to which we actively commit ourselves. With respect to the crisis in the advertising business at present, AdsML opens up new perspectives for increased sales and more efficient work processes in the advertising work flow.”
AdsML 1.0 is being released in conjunction with IfraExpo 2003 in Leipzig, Germany. The business and technical aspects of the standard will be showcased there at special seminars on Tuesday, 14 October and Wednesday, 15 October. Expo participants are encouraged to attend.
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