With offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo and Helsingborg, Aller Media is one of Sweden’s leading publishers of consumer magazines. Its roster of over 40 titles is predominantly aimed at women and includes weekly, monthly and quarterly magazines dedicated to topics ranging from antiques to fashion, health to interior design and celebrities to family. Men aren’t ignored, however, there are also male lifestyle and outdoor activity-focused titles.
One of the biggest Aller Media titles is Allers, which has been published continuously for more than a century and is now a weekly with a circulation of around 200,000; many of the others also run to over 100,000 copies. Aller Media also has the licence for the Swedish edition of Elle. Paginations run from around 76 pages per issue for a weekly title to well over 200 for Elle, with a high percentage of editorial pages in the weeklies.
“We are producing thousands of pages a week,” confirms Christer Lakowitz, IT Print & Publishing at Aller Media, adding, “All the page layout is done inhouse, with a central repro department for image correction.”
Soft proof success
DALIM PRINTEMPO has been in use at Aller Media for some years. “We bought PRINTEMPO to get around the limitations of hardcopy proofing,” explains Lakowitz. By using PRINTEMPO for softproofing, each magazine team can log in and check their pages, approve or reject them and add notes. Corrections are made by the repro department who then send new PDFs.
“Depending on magazine staff numbers, some titles may have three or four people who need to use PRINTEMPO and some may have only one,” says Lakowitz, “so that’s a lot of users across all our magazines.” PRINTEMPO provided colour accurate proofing thanks to the use of calibrated Eizo displays and a modified version of the Fogra 39 colour profile. “This is very valuable, it means we don’t have to print out pages or ask the printers to make proofs for us in order to confirm that the colour is right,” comments Lakowitz.
PRINTEMPO is based on older technologies such as MySQL and ColdFusion and the servers at Aller Media were becoming in need of an upgrade, so at the same time as replacing the hardware, it was logical to review the software options as well. “Moving to ES was a natural step for us, it was the next stage on from PRINTEMPO,” comments Lakowitz. The transition to ES 3 began in late 2012 and the first title to be switched over to ES was flagship weekly Allers.
“I had thought it might be as simple as exporting from PRINTEMPO and importing to ES,” recalls Lakowitz, “but our PRINTEMPO system had been tweaked and modified to be exactly how we wanted it and so with ES we had to start over. However, we were after greater stability in the system and ES immediately gave this.”
The Allers transition did present some challenges, including initial reluctance from magazine staff who were familiar and comfortable with the PRINTEMPO-based workflow. Technical issues were supported both by DALIM SOFTWARE and by Rickard Hansson at Swedish distributor Network Innovation. ES4 was installed at Aller Media in late 2013, and provided a further improvement. “ES 4 is much better, it feels more stable,” says Lakowitz.
Aller Media’s transition plan involves duplicating the PRINTEMPO workflow with ES before moving on to take advantage of the new features of ES. “ES and PRINTEMPO look the same but they work differently, so there’s still some user education to do, but when we have finished it will be a great benefit,” confirms Lakowitz. “We have now moved about two thirds of our titles on to ES and anticipate completing the switch ahead of schedule, in March.”
Once everyone is settled with ES, Lakowitz and his colleagues plan to explore the additional functionality of ES more thoroughly. “As well as setting up a ‘wish list’ of things we’d like to be able to do, we have already found features like the automatic job set-up to be very helpful,” he reports. Previously, a job had to be specified and set up on the system before any PDF pages could be added, but ES can create a new issue and select the relevant template as soon as the first page is submitted.