Hearst Magazines is implementing the DALIM ES system across its magazine brands, simplifying production workflow, especially for electronic editions – the emerging channel in which Hearst leads the industry with a circulation of over one million. Blanchard Systems, North American Distributor of DALIM SOFTWARE, worked closely with Hearst through the testing and evaluation.
Hearst Magazines is a unit of Hearst Corporation, one of the nation’s largest diversified communications companies. The largest publisher of monthly magazines in the U.S., Hearst reaches 83 million adults with its 20 titles, which include Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine.
“Our business is growing, especially in the tablet space, and we needed workflow software that could accommodate both print and electronic production. With the growing popularity of digital editions and the iPad as a platform, we needed a system that was more progressive. Unfortunately, our needs grew to the point where the workflow software we were originally using couldn’t extend itself any further,” remembers Laura C. Reid, Hearst Magazines vice president of production.
“When we acquired Hachette in June of 2011, we also acquired the DALIM TWIST workflow solution that they were using. As a print workflow we thought it was, for the most part, similar to our existing workflow,” recalls Ken Pecca, Director of Premedia and Imaging at Hearst Magazines. “However, DALIM SOFTWARE and Blanchard Systems had visited us several times, showing us cutting edge features that we, ourselves, had been developing ‘outside the box’. DALIM TWIST has allowed us to automate everything, including our outreach to premedia outlets, saving time and making the process frictionless and straightforward. As e-readers became more prevalent and we learned more about the firepower of DALIM TWIST, we also realized that we should look deeper into what DALIM ES could offer. Things our previous provider couldn’t offer, DALIM SOFTWARE already provided.
“What really tipped the scales toward DALIM ES was the way it streamlined our new media workflow for replica online editions. With our previous workflow, a lot of manual work was required to create files for the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and Zinio platforms. There were many instances when files would have to leave the workflow for manual work in Adobe Acrobat before they were returned to the workflow for processing,” comments Sean Keefe, Executive Director of Publishing Technology.“ Fortunately, DALIM SOFTWARE’s ES platform offered an automated system, handling the files and assembling them automatically, conducting all the file refining and production for each e-publication reader.
Hearst has been using DALIM TWIST for a little over a year. Hearst’s plan has been to roll out ES as a similar workflow as their previous system—and then introduce change. As of March, Hearst had initially installed ES in a few pubs. Since then, they have rolled out ES to five to six publications a month. As of August, all titles are on ES. “Our initial plan was to migrate everything to ES, but maintain a similar process of doing things. Once everything is up and running, we will start working on changes to the ways we do things. There are new workflows that need to be fully developed,” says Pecca. “For example, a lot surrounds our digital replicas—we expect to complete it by end of the summer. We intend to create and develop one master PDF file of each issue on the workflow, and to export and transform each file to support a variety of digital initiatives. We have an Epub workflow developed, and are developing a workflow to transform the PDF file into multiple other file formats. This includes jpeg and XML transformation. We are also tinkering with the approval process, trying to bypass the hierarchy of approvals, if needed for expedience.”
The editorial staffs have been using the ES workflow to virtually proof everything with the DIALOGUE Engine. Those who use it on a daily basis are finding the versioning and tracking better than that of Hearst’s previous workflow system. Everything is kept within one document.
“We work with an offshore retouching company, and were able to collaborate with our previous technology, but it was not quite as practical as it could be,” explains Pecca. “With ES, I can send image files overseas, sit on a train, and mark them up on an iPad for retouching on my ride home! It also helped our in-house resources, saving us time converting file formats back and forth from psd or pdf file formats. Operators no longer need to take files in and out of the workflow. We worked closely with Blanchard Systems, North American Distributor of Dalim Software, through every step of our testing and evaluation. They were very helpful in creating workflows, providing training, specifying hardware configurations and integrating Dalim Software to implement a solution, which met our requirements. The installation has gone very smoothly. When we have had some bumps, the speed in which we receive help from Blanchard Systems and DALIM SOFTWARE has been very welcome.”
“We like the pure flexibility of DALIM ES and DALIM TWIST. We can do and create anything we need. It is simple to use and offers lots of options,” comments Pecca. “It’s not linear. You can build and benchmark the system any way you want.”
“Anyone who works with production automation systems knows that you create a workflow and it invariably doesn’t work the first time. In the past, it was difficult because we were on our own when trying to develop workarounds,” says Keefe. “Blanchard Systems answers our calls immediately, accesses our system, and searches for the problem. It’s comforting to get someone quickly without too many layers of support. We get a quick resolution to any of our problems.”
“DALIM TWIST will save us countless hours in the production of digital editions for all our titles. Now what we need to do is educate the brands about how to use DALIM ES in their work environments, such as getting more comfortable with DALIM DIALOGUE Engine softproofing, which is what we are using for color approvals,” concludes Reid. “The challenge with the rollout is not the technology, but training and integration with the staff. It’s the team stuff. It will work out fine, because we’re confident that DALIM ES will tie together the entire system and put a more user-friendly interface in front of the entire staff.