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Latest consolidation ideas not new

Gannettoid.com | news@gannettoid.com | Posted: Aug. 11, 2009 • Night report

A memo from Jan. 24, 2008, shows regional ad building centers and editorial hubs are not a new idea for Gannett.

Some thoughts first proposed to the company a year and a half ago were being revisited this week as a meeting was held Monday and Tuesday in Des Moines to discuss consolidating the production of ads.

"Our plan would be to continuously improve efficiencies and reduce costs by implementing new technology and improving workflows," the outline of the attached proposal said. "This plan would be implemented instead of outsourcing our ad building to 2AdPro for several Gannett newspapers. If successful, we believe the cost per ad will be lower than the cost of outsourcing."

The proposal was sent to Austin Ryan (Gannett's vice president of production), Mark Morneau (Gannett's vice president of systems) and Leslie Giallombardo (Gannett's vice president of advertising). Out of that group, at least Ryan was scheduled to be at this week's meeting in Des Moines.

The memo was making a pitch for Gannett's site in Louisville, The Courier-Journal, to house a regional ad building center since the editorial hub was already in the planning process, but this week's meeting focused on such centers being at The Des Moines Register and The Indianapolis Star.

The proposal said, "With the strong possibility of having a consolidated editorial system in Louisville, and as an alternative to Corporate Production’s proposal to outsource our ad building to India via a company called 2AdPro, we would like to propose a regional ad building system to complement the regional editorial system in Louisville."

About the editorial plan, the proposal said, "This plan has been in the works for some time, and has been approved by the capital committee. Basically, the plan is for Louisville to purchase new hardware with disaster recovery in Greenville. The new hardware would host CCI’s latest software called NewsGate with Print. This software is the best solution to fit the Information Center’s current, and future, needs. The system is also designed to be scalable, so more sites can be added as needed. Asheville, Greenville and Louisville will be the first 3 newspapers on this consolidated editorial system."

The proposal even included a section discussing how the plan would work even if Gannett chose to not follow through with the editorial hub, saying, "Regional ad building will work even if the sites maintain their own local editorial system. The staff in Louisville would build the ads, but instead of a workflow that sends the ad to the consolidated editorial system in Louisville, the ad would be sent to a specified server back at the site. Depending on the preferences and set up at the site, the ad could go automatically to their editorial system or go back to their ad tracking system for verification and final release."

The section titled "The Downside," focused mainly on layoffs.

"The most apparent downside to the project will be the layoffs at the sites. Some of those employees that are currently building ads will no longer be needed. However, outsourcing the ads to 2AdPro will also result in job losses," the proposal said.

"Loss of local knowledge," was also a listed downside. "The people that are building the ads will no longer have local knowledge of the businesses they are building ads for. The loss of local knowledge will not be as bad as if it were to be moved to India, but it will be an issue. We are currently in talks with DPS to develop an Advertiser Profile page within DPS. This would allow the sites to input notes about the advertiser or even upload copies of their latest radio or TV ads into the DPS system. The ad builder could view this profile page for more information about the advertiser and their ad preferences."

Related reports: Aug. 3 | Aug. 10 | Aug. 17 | Aug. 27
Aug. 20: Ad centers lead to cuts, big savings

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