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  • Advertising Agency Hakuhodo to Digitize Ad Production
  • September 1, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Hakuhodo Inc., a leading advertising agency, said that it will establish a special division for digitalization of its entire production system.
    The company already has started a test of such a system.

    A new division is making proposals for standardization of formatting video and image data, which comprise materials for advertisements, storage/management methods and data exchange methods through networks. It will discuss such proposed methods for exchanging material with production companies.

    Exchanging material and management of such material has been done separately in the process, in light of industry standards. Agencies and production companies are seeking to set their own method.

    Hakuhodo works with about 3,000 companies, including production houses, design companies and printing companies. Some of those companies digitize a part of their work.

    "Digitalization of the entire production process by standardizing will cut costs substantially. In addition, it will enable us to choose the most appropriate company to work with as we can compare the costs and deadlines for specific work," said Makoto Yanase, deputy general manager of Hakuhodo's Center for Digital Business Solution.

    The new division is called Hakuhodo Power Lab, and it was established in July based on its marketing design section and the Center for Digital Business Solution as a system section. It started with a staff of five full-time employees, 10 part-time project members and 20 engineers on loan from other companies.

    Power Lab is responsible for workflow experiments and technical verification.

    Workflow experiments are applied to six projects, including newspaper advertisements, leaflets and posters. Such experiments are intended to create business flow through digitalization.

    Workflow experiments are under the themes of "remote direction" and "establishment of digital proofreading system" or "paperless proofreading system." Remote direction goes along with production procedures while exchanging information with designers and production houses outside the company through a network.

    The project is meant to help manage digital image data for multiple use as "components" and emerging copyright issues.

    Technical verification aims to standardize output color quality of ad materials that appear different on various screens or printers, and data formats for Japanese language fonts that are exchanged among companies.

    Hakuhodo designed a digital pre-press environment including an image processing system and input-output equipment with an initial investment of about 800 million yen (US$5.6 million) upon establishment of Power Lab.

    As for the communications environment, Power Lab has four ISDN lines, and it plans to increase the capacity through asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) links and satellite communications in one or two years.

    (Nikkei Information Strategy)

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    Updated: Mon Aug 31 19:11:50 1998 PDT