Are Media: Accelerating and Streamlining the Use of Digital Content
Interview with Angus Chisholm, Senior Business Analyst of Content Systems
About Are Media
Are Media is Australia’s leading content company for women, keeping them informed through magazine media, digital, video, social, eCommerce, customer reviews, podcasts, events, and experiences. Are Media’s content spans about 20 titles including Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Day, and Better Homes and Gardens, and reaches nearly 9 million Australians and New Zealanders per month. As they grow their digital and eCommerce channels, innovative, centralized technology systems will be key to making the most efficient and cost-effective use of content.
Challenge – Are Media wanted a centralized, modernized system for digital assets
Are Media leverages various systems in their IT stack to facilitate moving content from inception to creation. They were using two legacy digital asset management (DAM) systems to house all of Are’s assets, including photos, print-ready PDFs, InDesign files, articles, and release forms. One system was used for syndication and the other for Are Media’s digital and print teams. Both were antiquated, inefficient, and, for the internal teams, too slow to hit deadlines, plus they wanted to consolidate the two systems, which held more than 13 million digital assets, into one central source of truth.
“Even just displaying a picture was torturous in our legacy systems. Finding them was nearly impossible. I began the process by interviewing peers to find out their frustrations around their current systems and what they wanted from a new one, then turned those into 49 specific use cases, which we used to shop for vendors and find a solution that would fit the bill.”
Wish list items included:
- A simple-to-use, non-technical system with an intuitive user experience for easy adoption
- A cloud-based system to store, easily search across, and download the latest and highest-quality assets for online publishing
- A smooth transition from the DAM to print layouts, where assets can be placed, edited, pre-pressed, and transferred back to the DAM seamlessly
- Quick adoption into the workflow, including integration with Are Media’s finance processes
Solution – PictureDesk, a single, high-speed system for asset organization and accessibility
In analysis, Are Media found that other options fell short because they were rehashes of old code sets and did not fulfill the promises that the companies were touting. PictureDesk has proven to work exactly as billed.
With PictureDesk, Are Media was able to centralize assets from their various folders and legacy systems, move them into a high-speed, cloud-based platform, and organize them into familiar categories such as Home, Entertainment and Health in an effort to make them easily accessible to all stakeholders. Additionally, PictureDesk became a storage system for the finished editorials along with source files, allowing for endless possibilities of reuse and syndication.
“PictureDesk quickly rose to the top from the very beginning. Even in our staging library, PictureDesk was faster than anything we had running. Once we cut over to production servers, it was even quicker. It’s right there. What more could you ask for?”
Results – Lighting-fast search and reduced storage
“The photos really segment themselves in PictureDesk. The channels are displayed across the top and users instinctively know where to go based on their position in the company. Search and content reuse has improved just by consolidating into one system and there is clear visibility into the rights. Content that isn’t available is just hidden from view. Previously, you had to ask the syndication people, for example, and they may not have had the paperwork from 10 years ago on hand. In PictureDesk, if the content is usable, there is a green border around it, and the staff are loving that. And the ability to publish final issues along with source files (e.g., images, PDFs, InDesign files) has been a real boon. Before, after each page was done, the team would have to jpg every single page of a publication.”
In addition, staff can easily see what has been syndicated based on download reports, allowing finance to map the value of each asset. Operations can see exactly how much money was spent on external pictures for the magazine versus anything generated internally. This allows the operations and finance teams to make more data-driven, informed decisions. There was also an unexpected outcome from adopting PictureDesk: Are Media can now use just one process for print production for both the weekly and monthly titles.
“PictureDesk gave us a public-facing web front end, which made syndication so much easier and allowed us to offer more competitive pricing. Previously, our syndication team had to perform 70-80 manual processes per photo set. PictureDesk has automated that process completely. We’re all excited to see how much of a revenue stream this will be for us!”
“We are still transitioning between our legacy systems to PictureDesk but, once we shut them off, we will be able to cull storage by about 30% and the cost savings for that alone is going to be significant.”