Hybrid Production: Newspapers and Commercial Print Converge

As newspaper printers and commercial printers continue to converge, the News Print Pavilion is a combined marketplace and networking hub that will attract and engage GRAPH EXPO attendees. Representatives from these two print communities have come to Chicago to explore the latest technologies, new applications, and workflow solutions.

A prime example of this trend in action is Seacoast Media Group (SMG). The Portsmouth, NH firm has seen its commercial contract print orders increase by more than 900% in the four years since installing a Goss (Booth 1636) Magnum coldset press and a Goss inserter. The company credits the high automation and versatility of the press among the key reasons for the degree of success.

“We specialize in offset newspaper printing and everything that entails,” says Alan Laskey, Production Manager at Seacoast. “We have a number of titles with quite substantial run lengths, but no run is too small. The secret weapon for maintaining our service to clients is the level of automation of the Magnum press and the flexibility of the single width platform.”

Running 15 to 18 jobs a day, each averaging between 45 to 60 minutes on press, the efficiency of the operation is essential in keeping costs down and ensuring customer satisfaction. “We get through 13,000 plates per month, which gives an indication of the frequency of job and edition changes,” Laskey notes. “The automatic inking, automatic registration, Omnicolor presetting, and the Omnicon controls on our Magnum press maintain job set-up, changeover and [keep] waste at a minimum.”

Prior to installation of the 16-unit Magnum 2x2 press, along with the new Goss inserter, SMG’s printing services were principally concerned with the firm’s own in-house publications, with outside contracts accounting for approximately $700,000 per annum. Today, the value of contract print work totals around $6.5 million per year and accounts for 75% of the company’s total turnover. According to Laskey, this increase is the consequence a concerted sales effort aimed at exploiting the full capabilities of the new press and through referrals from existing customers.

The single-wide press platform also allows Seacoast to accommodate a variety of web widths, between 22" and 32", providing the flexibility to print a wide range of publication formats. Aside from general maintenance periods on weekends, the Magnum runs virtually 24/7, servicing 160 active accounts predominantly from locations throughout Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire and dispatching as far as New York state.

Most recently, SMG was awarded the contract to print 28,000 copies daily of the Nashua Telegraph, as well as its numerous weekly titles. This latest assignment contributes to a total output per week of around one million copies.