Concerns are rising about the selective news consumption habits of US readers in this election year. Facing decreased circulation numbers and poor advertising spend, some large cities, which for decades had dual and dueling daily newspapers—one leaning Democratic, the other with Republican...
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Concerns are rising about the selective news consumption habits of US readers in this election year. Facing decreased circulation numbers and poor advertising spend, some large cities, which for decades had dual and dueling daily newspapers—one leaning Democratic, the other with Republican affiliations—find themselves with a single subjective voice and very little balance. Major printing press manufacturers have felt the shifting market trends, of course.
At its annual meeting last June, KBA announced more web offset consolidation, including 700 factory layoffs in Germany. Competitor manroland filed for bankruptcy in late 2011 and has since been acquired (in February), but another 1,400 jobs are gone. The newspaper industry was abuzz when "Page One," a documentary about the New York Times, made its debut this past summer. The film analyzed the future of printed newspapers in America. "With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, 'Page One' chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil," said its official news release. It asked questions many are thinking: How will newspapers adapt with timely news? How do they monetize? Can they still profit?
Yet, even as newspapers investigate how to build and improve their digital businesses, print remains the lifeblood of their operations. "Reinforcing Print in a Time of Transition," a special Graph Expo session for newspaper printers and publishers, brought together representatives from US and Canadian newspapers who discussed investments they've made to enhance their printing capabilities. Two organizations have led the way in adopting new ultraviolet (UV) printing technologies to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world:
- Gary Hall, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's director of commercial print and delivery, explained how spending money up-front can help reduce costs down the line. By adding Prime UV curing equipment to the paper's KBA Commander double-wide press, its production costs have dropped and quality has increased.
- The Globe & Mail in Toronto, one of Canada's two national newspapers, ramped up the quality of its printed product with a combination of heatset, coldset, and UV presses. Readers have responded positively. The publisher began an outsourcing partnership with printer Transcontinental 16 years ago and, in 2008, extended the contract for 20 more years. As part of that $1.7 billion extension, Transcon spent more than $200 million constructing a new press infrastructure based on heatset-equipped, triple-wide Commander CT presses from KBA; a UV-equipped, triple-wide press from manroland; and UV-equipped, single-wide presses from Goss International. Since going on-edition with the presses in late 2010, circulation has grown by more than four percent, while ad sales in its glossy Globe Style magazine have more than doubled. One advertiser, L'Oreal, reportedly is spending about $50,000 to $100,000 (Canadian) per week in the edition. Production director Sally Pirri demonstrated how a redesign of Globe Life's (its semi-commercial travel publication) print edition attracted some 100 new advertisers, leading to a 30 percent increase in revenues over the last year.
Why UV? As newspapers continue to look for ways to improve their product with enhanced quality that will attract new readers and advertisers, UV printing is an appealing option—especially since improved curing now meets the demand for high-volume printing at speeds up to 80,000 impressions per hour, manroland pointed out. The small footprint of UV equipment makes upgrades relatively simple. UV also is more ecologically friendly, consuming less energy than heatset and emitting fewer volatile organic compounds. And, UV generates lower waste than conventional heatset printing. (Waste from UV is comparable to that of coldset waste.) Last but not least, the capital investment for UV equipment is much less than adding conventional heatset equipment.