Digital print opens new doors for newspapers

April 11, 2014

By Bill Schweinfurth

Inkjet Category Business Manager | Kodak


hanges in consumer habits and preferences are driving significant changes in the newspaper industry. Many people now embrace a combination of print and online news, and are blending their consumption of targeted local content with national or global content. As a result, newspapers and the companies that publish them are facing a fundamental business transformation that presents a variety of new opportunities. 

Globally, the adoption of digital content delivery has had a significant impact on the way people consume news, meaning that in many cases newspapers have had to reinvent themselves and find new and unique ways to connect with and maintain their readers. Advertisers are exploring new capabilities in direct marketing and digital advertising that are taking them to new media channels.

Newspapers have responded by adopting new technology and designing ways to engage in a more interactive fashion with their readers. Whether through personalized news content, targeted advertising, or blended print and digital strategies, newspapers are finding ways to remain as competitive as ever.

A growing publishing trend today is to use digital inkjet printing to add variable and targeted content to traditional offset printing. These hybrid printing approaches are helping many newspapers stabilize circulation and increase revenue in some areas of the business. With high-speed digital inkjet printing, publishers are able to produce targeted or versioned issues of papers. These new targeted or personalized papers are more attractive to advertising clients because they strategically reach only the readers who are aligned with their marketing messages.

Powerful digital printing solutions give publishers the chance to deliver more value to readers and advertisers through games, late-breaking news, and localized content. Microzoning—producing different versions of a paper for a highly localized area—offers smaller businesses affordable advertising to their nearby constituency. Targeted ads in a targeted area generate higher response rates for advertisers. Increased relevance leads to increased interest, which leads to increased circulation.

So how do publishers create hybrid digital/traditional systems? One solution is high-speed inkjet printheads, like the KODAK PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems that my company sells. They integrate into existing offset production processes, enabling full utilization of existing equipment, while helping drive readership through more interactivity. Kodak’s systems mount inline on an offset press and offer speeds up to 3,000 feet per minute in monochrome or full color.


Hybrid printing

With hybrid digital printing, newspaper printers can add any number of unique features to traditional newspapers. Features such as images, maps, QR codes, serial numbers, addresses, or versioned ads can be integrated at full production speeds on existing offset presses. These interactive ads can command premiums of 30 percent more than traditional static ads. Gaming applications let newspapers print winning numbers on each copy, driving readers to visit a website or a merchant location to see if they won. Other applications include inserts that contain unique barcodes for the holder to scan at a retail location.

In addition to marketing and content, digital printing also helps in the area of logistics, enabling the printing of barcodes to expedite truck loading and delivery as well as tracking of returned copies.

Beyond new revenue opportunities, newspapers around the world also are looking for ways to reduce costs by streamlining production. Advancements in newspaper workflow, plates and presses are making production more efficient and helping publishers to reduce their costs and improve their bottom lines. At a time when boosting revenues is a difficult challenge, reducing overall costs helps to keep many businesses profitable.

Whether you focus on the revenue boosting opportunities or the process efficiency improvements, be sure to partner with a provider that understands the market and offers a full range of powerful, scalable solutions with a proven track record. As the newspaper market continues to evolve, the next few years are critical; those who lead with innovative approaches to the business control their own destiny and have a unique opportunity to succeed.

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