“Newspapers are looking to improve the quality of their products in order to compete with other media, as well as with competitive papers in their markets,” asserts Dave Moreland, vice president of sales and marketing at Dauphin Graphic Machines in Elizabethville, PA. As a result, the typical buyer’s “must have” feature is the ability to support high-quality, four-color placement anywhere in the printed product, Moreland says.

“For the past two years or so we’ve been selling more four-color units than ever, and the demand is continuing,” adds Charles Gath, vice president of sales at Web Press Corp. in Kent, WA.

Color is just one of four key press capabilities that newspaper publishers are demanding in order to withstand the challenge from the Internet and other media—both print and electronic, says Greg Norris, manager of marketing communications for Heidelberg Web Systems in Dover, NH. To remain competitive, he believes news-paper presses also must provide:

  • Faster productivity to reduce print windows and improve the timeliness of the news;

  • Enhanced targeting and versioning capabilities; and
  • Greater production economy to reduce costs.

With the move to greater use of color, newspapers are having to follow more in the footsteps of their commercial printing brethren, says Roger Kaughman, manager of marketing administration at King Press, Joplin, MO. “That means adding or upgrading their automated systems—including ink and register control—to increase color quality and reduce waste,” he explains.

Group Strategies
Also fueling newspaper press purchases is the acquisition of smaller independent papers by newspaper groups, Kaughman continues. As a result, local printing facilities are shut down in favor of regional production plants producing several newspapers, he explains. “The combined volume justifies the purchase of new presses, which are more versatile and efficient.”

Another factor driving newspaper publishers to upgrade their printing capabilities is the industry trend toward expanding into the printing of advertising circulars, free-standing inserts (FSIs), supplements and the like, says Richard Kerns, president of Solna Web in Lenexa, KS.

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