In the summer of 2004, New York City’s weekly arts and entertainment bible, Time Out New York (TONY), was searching for the holy grail of publishing systems—one that could run on Mac OS X, provide a robust set of features appropriate to their size, and guarantee that, like this hot publication, it would stay ahead of the curve. With the help of MEI, TONY found its solution in the K4 Publishing System with Adobe InDesign and InCopy, and even extended K4 to its latest start-up, Time Out Chicago (TOC).
Prior to discovering K4, TONY and its 125-member staff had relied on an older publishing system. Unfortunately, the system was aging and not keeping pace with technology changes in the marketplace.
“We ran our old system in Apple Classic OS mode for over six months, which seemed like a ticking time bomb,” said Nestor Cervantes, production director for TONY.
Another factor that inspired change, according to Cervantes, was that TONY needed a way to concurrently publish their printed content online, without creating duplicate work for the editorial and online staffs. TONY also needed a database-driven system to handle all of its data, and one that would interact with Leo-Event and Xyleme, the magazine’s all-important events-management systems. Finally, TONY hoped to standardize fonts and update the ten years of corrupted and stray fonts they had been using by moving toward OpenType fonts.
“All of these things were coming to a head at the same time and we needed to act fast,” said Cervantes.
Enter K4 and Adobe CS
After MEI completed a workflow analysis for Time Out, TONY was convinced they had found their solution. In the end, K4 was selected because of its simple user interface and easy admin management—”no one needed to be a MySQL expert to administer K4,” said the TONY staff. Plus, the real-time updating of administration information in K4 enabled greater productivity.
“You don’t have to shut the system down to add a user, and in fact you don’t need a separate application to add users—just a web browser,” said Cervantes, on behalf of the staff at TONY.
The fact that German-based K4 creator SoftCare was on its fifth release of K4, the staff said, made them feel they were in good hands.
“SoftCare seemed to be always changing and bettering K4,” Cervantes said. “Our old system was still not able, at the time, to release a version for OS X.”
Also, according to the TONY staff, Adobe InDesign, the designer-friendly program that integrates Photoshop and Illustrator, and its type engine were superior to the competition.
“When you add in transparencies, built-in drop shadows and an open architecture for XML it was a no-brainer,” Cervantes said.
TONY now has 70 staff members using K4. Sixty of those users are writers/editors/copy editors using InCopy and about ten are designers/production staff using InDesign.
After installing K4, TONY experienced fewer problems with file corruption and/or lost files. Cervantes said the staff currently saves production time and will soon save even more time in both repurposing content for online display and by using a new ad planning solution.
Another major factor in the K4 decision was based on the fact that Time Out’s soon-to-launch sister publication Time Out Chicago would need a system that it could run independently from the one in New York. Once the New York system was up-and-running, Chicago was a “piece of cake,” in part because no one there required re-training.
At TOC, there are now 35 writers/editors/copy editors using InCopy and seven designers/production staff using InDesign. TOC, which launched in March 2005, created its very first issue with K4 and Adobe, and has been running live with it ever since.
In the grand scheme of things, said Cervantes, K4 will be the hub of all of Time Out’s systems, including their LEO and Xyleme systems (already integrated in Chicago), and customized for Time Out’s ever-changing needs.
“Flexibility is the biggest time saver of them all,” he said.
In addition to the new systems, TONY and TOC also enjoyed working with MEI’s George Mahlberg, whom they praised as being “a very patient man.” All in all, Cervantes and the staff at TONY and TOC said they recommend K4 and Adobe to other magazines. K4 Publishing System was the perfect size for both New York and Chicago and exceeded their expectations in terms of features and flexibility.
“K4 is growing by leaps and bounds and I look forward to the future releases,” Cervantes said.
About the Publications
Time Out New York launched in September 1995. TONY is New York City’s weekly arts and entertainment bible, the “obsessive guide to impulsive information.” The magazine currently has a rate base of 138,000. TONY averages between 162 – 194 pages weekly, and has outsold every other city, state or regional publication in ad sales on an annual basis for the past seven years. There is a full time staff of 125 at TONY.
Time Out Chicago (TOC) launched March 3, 2005, as Chicago’s weekly arts and entertainment listings publication. TOC employs 67 people locally in Chicago.
Both American titles are sister publications to Time Out London, launched in 1968.