Charting the Transformation in Digital Content and Solutions

The following content is excerpted from Publishers Weekly, Digital Solutions in India 2015: The 10th Annual Review. 

The first Publishers Weekly (PW) coverage of the India-based digital solutions industry, which was then widely known as “content services,” coincided with the launch of Twitter and Google’s acquisition of a 22-month-old startup called Android Inc. The iPhone and iPad were, respectively, one and four years away from being launched. Social media didn’t exist, phones were mobile but not yet smart, and life was just fine.

The year was 2006, and the report, titled "Content Services and Printing in India," focused on print- v. content-centric workflows, with conversations revolving around XML, PDF, and e-deliverables. Also included was a “Know the Lingo” sidebar—on SGML, XML, front-end XML, DTD, batch publishing, 3B2, TeX, and LaTeX—to explain the acronyms and new workflows, for the benefit of those who were about to embark on the content digitization path.

The fact that XML—which was introduced 20 years ago, in 1996—was a focus 10 years ago, and has since become nearly ubiquitous, drives home the point that new technology often comes fast and furious, while adoption tends to be slow and sporadic. Costs of shifting to a new technology or workflow aside, change is truly scary for those operating in the legacy print-centric publishing world. In the case of XML, it really is a necessity for ensuring content neutrality, reusability, and multiplicity, while preventing content obsolescence. In short, XML is required for content longevity and healthy bottom lines (or even survival) for publishers. And that has been PW’s main message right from the start of its coverage.

Since 2006, the conversations have been expanded to cover content mobility (with e-books, e-learning, and mobile apps), cloud technologies, accessibility, Big Data, and discoverability—thus reflecting the tremendous shifts and transformation in digital solutions services, publishing models, and consumer demands. The industry is now focused on intuitive and dynamic workflows, interactive and integrated media, scalable and customized solutions, aggregated and dechunked data, single-source and multipronged processes, and agile and mobile technologies.

PW asked nine vendors to share their thoughts about the industry back in 2006, the changes they’ve seen since then, and what lies ahead.

10 Years Ago...

I thought print would be obsolete and XML-first workflows would be a done deal for all publishers.... TODAY, publishers who hesitated with XML workflows might find that HTML5 provides the type of interoperability required for content distribution. Or it might not.... There is no simple, single answer for all publishers. But what we continue to observe is that print drives digital, and digital drives print. And, no matter where the markup language is implemented in a publisher’s workflow, it is definitely implemented. —Marianne Calilhanna/Cenveo Publisher Services

The following graphic captures just some of the transformations we've observed that impact our publishers' business. What technology and content transformations would you add to the list?

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Marianne Calilhanna

Marianne is director of marketing for Cenveo Publisher Services. She started her career in editorial and production, working on STM primary and review journals. During her 28+ year career she's worked as a book editor, SGML (remember that?!) editor, and managing editor in addition to marketing-related positions. Technology, production, and people---these are just a few of her favorite things.