The Ramifications of Late Creative

Last week I spent some time with a number of sales people and one of the issues that came up was the topic of late creative and the costs that are associated with late creative being delivered to the publishers.

According to the sources I spoke with, the publishers have estimated they lose between 10 to 12 percent of their revenues as a direct result of creative being delivered late and the delay in posting these units to the purchased placements. If this is the case across all of the publishers, then why hasn't this been addressed publicly to date?

Now, it's no surprise that late creative is a problem in the interactive industry. With the shortened timelines and the pace at which we operate, it's a surprise that we ever get anything out the door on time, but if the issue is creating a 10 to 12 percent loss in revenue on the publisher side, shouldn't it be more of a topic for discussion? Shouldn't this be addressed in a way that the publishers, the agencies, and the clients are working together to come to a solution on this topic?



The interactive industry is still maturing, as I have said repeatedly in these columns, but now is the time to address the process by which a "bill becomes a law," so to speak. This is the time for all the players to get involved with one another and lay out the process and the policy by which all of us will abide. I know that many of the publishers have laid out their versions of "materials dates," much like those that exist in the print world. These delivery dates for creative are typically laid out from three to five days in advance of the launch, but there are no repercussions if they are not delivered on time. Sometimes they can be pushed through quickly and sometimes the start date is delayed, but there has never been another incentive for the delivery to be on time. If there are no repercussions, why would anyone worry about it?

Now please don't get me wrong. I am not writing a column that advocates the use of financial incentives or short rates, but I am acknowledging the problem and proposing some forum for the topic to be discussed. Being an agency person myself, I know that the timelines we all operate under create the issue. Clients don't always plan in advance the way they should. Creative approval takes too much time and requires too many chefs. Rounds of revisions on creatives can be too extensive and require too much time, plus the simple fact that our creative requires much more extensive technical knowledge and sometimes these units cannot be produced in a short turnaround time. All of these are factors that contribute to the problem, but I'm an optimist and I tend to believe that with enough smart people we can determine steps to rectify these issues and continue to mature the medium we work in.

What do you think? Is the problem overstated or understated? Does your site lose a significant portion of their revenues from this problem?

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