Press groups have understood that their titles are above all brands. “Developing brands” is one of the 3 major axes of the strategy [1] of Prisma Media, one of the behemoths of the magazine industry in France.

Like all brands, the challenge is to be, as much as possible, present in the minds of their readers or should I say “target”, especially to attract advertisers.

This explains the investments made to feed the different distribution channels. The content of a magazine like Le Point is offered on paper, in an application for smartphones and other tablets, as well as relayed on social networks Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. [2]

From “print-only” to “digital-first

Even if the figures for distribution through apps have rarely been a sufficient source of revenue to stem the decline in the distribution of print versions, the arrival of the iPad was a major step in the digital transformation of editorial offices, with its hopes (new possibilities) and its fears (additional burden on teams).

Previously separate, the web and print editorial teams have gradually merged. A writer must now write for all distribution channels. Since content is not always easy to separate from form, the screens have seen the number of input fields multiply to take into account the specificities of each channel.

In practice, it is often the case that, under a strong time constraint, writers settle for the highest common denominator, namely the version intended for Print.

Content changes in cross-channel workflows

When the print is given priority over digital distribution, the magazine editing workflow is relatively simple (even if it represents a challenge in terms of industrialization): the written content is laid out by the layout artists, the editorial assistants edit the content in the mock-ups, and when the final PDF is sent to the printer, copy and paste can then be done for web distribution.

When the situation is reversed, i.e. when a subject is to be published on the web before being taken over by the Print Department, which will again enrich the web version, the production flow is once again disrupted. The challenge is essentially linked to the feedback of the modifications made in the models to the web.

At J2S, we recommend reviewing the flow in a global way, considering that it is the CMS (e.g. Adobe Experience Manager) that manages the content, including last-minute modifications, and to rely on automated update flows of InDesign pages for the Print part and other flows to feed the web and other channels.

A magazine always has pages that lend themselves well to almost 100% automation. In this case, a content change in the CMS can be automatically reflected in the pages. For the more creative pages, the layout artist will trigger the update before intervening if necessary on the layout.

To optimize the production flow, it will be necessary to consider the nature and importance of the last-minute changes that the designer will continue to make outside the CMS before sending the files to the printer. Do all text changes have to go back into the CMS? Is it necessary to set up extremely complex industrial flows to manage these cases?

It seems to us that the proposed approach, based on a stronger centralization of content management, has the merit of putting Print back in its place, that is to say, no longer as an exception, but as a distribution channel like any other; this is typically what Simple Workspace proposes.


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If you would like to find out how our solution can help you implement a “digital-first” flow, please contact us! We will be pleased to chat.

Richard Loubéjac,
Co-founder of J2S