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Océ Helps Make Personalized Washington Times Edition a Success

July 2009
TRUMBULL, CT—July 14, 2009—Océ, an international leader in digital document management and delivery, today announced a successful proof of concept of the personalized version of The Washington Times National Weekly Edition. Details of the program were presented at the recent INC3 Individuated Newspaper Conference. Océ was one of several sponsors for the INC3 event.

Such micro-zoned and personalized newspapers have gained attention as ways to reinvigorate the struggling newspaper publishing industry. Digital color printing plays an essential role in providing this totally variable, consumer-selected media.

“This innovative experiment is part of Océ’s continued support of the evolving newspaper publishing model,” said Duncan Newton, Manager of Client Development, Océ North America, Production Printing Systems division. “We are committed to bringing new opportunities to the industry, and the results of this proof of concept are encouraging.” Océ is the market leader in short-run digital newspaper printing, with 98 percent of the world’s contracted newspapers running on Océ presses. Océ technology has already produced more than 20 million newspapers worldwide, a number that is growing with market adoption of very high speed Océ JetStream inkjet color systems.

Having a weekly mailed edition made The Washington Times a perfect candidate for the trial. Traditional home delivery via route carriers has been an obstacle for correctly delivering personalized newspapers, but mailing resolves the problem. The weekly edition is usually 40 pages on tabloid-sized sheets, which fits the Océ JetStream 2200 full color inkjet press. The 10-1/4 x 13-1/2” pages were imposed two-up across the printer’s 20-1/2” web. The edition is usually 70-75 percent monochrome in content, with full color front and back pages and several full color illustrations. The Océ JetStream printer prints each newspaper as an individual piece with the appropriate content. This makes personalization a simpler process.

A focus group of Washington Times subscribers were invited to participate in the project, and 60 signed up online to join the test. Via a web portal, each participant identified their content and article preferences for editorials, cartoons, sports, op-ed pieces and other articles. Participants could change their content selections weekly, but prior to noon on Thursday of each week. After the readers made their selections, the choice lists and the completed regular Washington Times editorial content were sent to Syntops GmbH in Germany by 10:00 PM Thursday. Syntops software married the available content to the readers’ choice lists and generated the personalized papers in PDF format for printing on an Océ JetStream 2200 system early Friday morning.

The 60 personalized papers in the proof of concept averaged approximately 48 pages per copy, the equivalent of 5,600 8-1/2 x 11” pages. Printing these pages on the Océ JetStream 2200 system at 492 fpm took just two minutes and 14 seconds. Océ technicians cut, folded and stuffed the pages into envelopes supplied by The Washington Times. Each paper already had the name an address of the recipient on the cover, and the papers were fully imposed. The envelopes went into the mail on Friday afternoon at the same time the normal version was mailed, without any delay.

“Reader reaction was tremendously positive, with 60 percent of the respondents reporting the edition exceeded or greatly exceeded their expectations. Of the 44 survey respondents (out of 60 readers), 80 percent said it was important or very important to select different types of stories, and 70 percent said they would be likely or very likely to subscribe to an individuated publication in the future,” said Ted Agres, Deputy Managing Editor of The Washington Times. “The proof of concept offers valuable evidence that individuated newspapers have a place in the future of print journalism.”
 

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