As the third Goss Community press in two months comes on line in the Middle East, the schedule of start-ups proves that it is business as normal for those with breaking news in the region. New installations in Bahrain, Oman and Egypt suggest that the latest generation single-width technology is proving ideal for requirements across a diverse territory.
In all three investments, the decision has been driven by the need to gain greater control of production and productivity. According to Paul Feeney, Goss International sales manager for Middle-East and Africa, it comes at a time when immediacy and impact are more critical than ever in the region:
“As the world knows, this is a time of great change in parts of Asia and North Africa where political regimes and long-established systems have been undergoing massive upheaval,” comments Feeney. “While these press orders were placed before anyone had even heard of the Arab Spring, the timing of the installations underlines the continued importance of printed news within the modern multimedia landscape. Social media were certainly instrumental in precipitating events, but printed media continue to be essential for communicating in the aftermath.”
The latest of the three installations will soon be complete in Cairo, Egypt, where commissioning of a two-tower Goss Community with two SSC folders is currently underway. Ordered through Youssef Allam, Goss International’s Cairo-based agent covering Egypt, Libya and the Sudan, this is the first web press for the Police Press Pension Fund. After considerable market evaluation, it was chosen first and foremost as a means of generating revenue, according to Allam. Its configuration allows printing of two webs of 16 tabloid pages or one web of 32 tabloid pages in a single pass, complementing production off eight existing sheetfed presses.
For Apex Press and Publishing – operating in the Sultanate of Oman since 1980 – the decision to invest came as it found that using contract printers was becoming increasingly problematic as its portfolio grew.
Control of print quality and deadlines for the newly-launched Muscat Daily, in particular, was paramount for Apex as the publisher was striving to differentiate the new title from the competition. “Most of our competitors focus on the Asian sub-continent, often using reconstituted news from the Internet. But our approach is to cater to a reader profile that is essentially multicultural but with the limitation that, for us, local news is king,” commented Saleh Zakwani, chief executive of Apex.
The new Goss Community press at Apex has four, four-color towers, one of which is dedicated to heatset pages for high-quality advertising and cover sections. Initial reaction to the Muscat Daily has been very positive. “We have many plans for the future, and owning a press is seen as a critical success factor,” states Mohana Prabhakar, chief executive and managing editor.
In Bahrain, two months ago, a new Community press went on-edition at Al Watan for Publishing & Distribution Co. The press is printing the daily newspaper of the same name – Al-Watan (meaning The Nation) – as well as a number of additional weekly and monthly publications. The new press line comprises five four-high towers, with ten 1270 mm (50”) reelstands, one N40 10-web folder for half and quarter pages with upper former and a gas dryer.