Moving to Network Publishing–Thad McIlroy

Now they see wireless publishing exploding (to PDAs and phones) with an estimated 600 million devices in use by 2004. At the same time there’s an increasing capacity to download “rich media” (with moving images) into homes and offices. Adobe estimates that there will be 40 million households wired for broadband Web access by 2003.

What kind of publishing will serve all of these devices? Adobe calls it network publishing. What is network publishing? According to Adobe: “Making visually rich, personalized content, reliably available any time, anywhere, on any device.”

I like it. You can argue that this is just a restatement of something we already know. In a way it is. But we’ve lacked an overriding conception of the thing, and a term with which to classify it. Network publishing works just fine for me.

If network publishing is the activity in which we’ll all be engaged, then, I figure, we’re going to need some Network Publishing Service Providers (NPSPs). Why NPSPs? Because as more and more organizations get with the network publishing program, they’ll get sick and tired of using three or four different service providers to get their marketing message out to the public.

Using multiple service providers has two great drawbacks. First, it costs extra to manage multiple suppliers. More significantly, it’s tough to get a unified message across in a coordinated fashion when a range of suppliers are involved. A single NPSP would have a significant competitive advantage over three or four different services.

So what’s involved in transforming a company from printer to NPSP? Clearly the process begins with the full digitization of current processes. If you’re still running film to plates, don’t even bother.

The second challenge is building a closed-loop manufacturing model. If you still think printing is a craft, you’ve got the wrong mindset for network publishing.

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