TechUniversity: FastChannel

I often hear the production manager running about as the magazine is closing. “Did Lemming LLC ever send us that two-page color spread? And Big Bob’s Surf and Shine is having problems with our FTP; they can’t upload their new creatives!” I’ve seen the chaos employees in these positions are forced to deal with, not because they procrastinate, but because their means of doing business is just plain out of date. Applying yesterday’s rules to today’s advertising industry just doesn’t seem to be working.

Imagine being able to have your audio spots or print ads delivered to you by running a simple application from your PC or Mac, anywhere in the world. How about being able to upload a creative to one place and distributing it to any or all of your clients from there? Enter FastChannel Networks; headquartered in Massachusetts with offices in Chicago, Seattle and London, this company can do all that and more.

After they’ve been uploaded, FastChannel Networks keeps all of your spots centrally located on their servers and available for your retrieval or redistribution (for a small fee after 90 days). They can handle the delivery of your spots to offline clients with next day delivery or to online clients via downloads. FastChannel also allows you to keep a custom list of shops that you’re working with or have worked with in the past.

Running a newspaper and expecting 100 new creatives for this Sunday’s edition? FastChannel’s adCasterAgent will run in the background polling their network for your ads and automatically downloading them or even notifying you by email when they arrive. Through SpotTaxi, a Java based application, FastChannel provides the functionality to deal with audio files in multiple formats. SpotTaxi is able to encode or decode audio files into WAV, AIFF or SDII formats. If you requested your spot as a .WAV file and you got something else there’s no need to go through the hassle of contacting your shop to have them convert it and send it back over!

Late last year, FastChannel was able to acquire eCreativeSearch, a subscription-based Internet service that allows users to search through its database of directors, production companies and even commercials through a handy little interface. Through its strategic moves and innovative business model FastChannel has been chosen as the preferred ad distribution service by NBC, for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Hopefully, through their use of the Internet, FastChannel will help bridge the gap between the online and traditional advertising worlds and the way they do business.

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