Commercial Opportunities for Newspapers -- Know Your Strengths
Two factors enabled the 27,000 daily/weekend edition Wenatchee (WA) World to embark on the world of commercial jobs. One was the purchase of a new press in 1999. Two, the World is one of the few afternoon papers left in existence. On the latter front, notes Stephen Shroeder, production director, a majority of the paper's press crew works days, and there were openings to accommodate outside jobs.
"At the time we were rationalizing the purchase of the press, we felt it was likely that we could do a little more commercial work, but we didn't want to build the ROI around it," Shroeder says. "We wanted the ROI to be justified by the newspaper. After we had the press a couple of years, we investigated what kind of commercial work would make sense for us."
The World focuses on broadsheet and tabloid products, as well as flexi booklets. The company has stitching and trimming capabilities (at press time the World was about to acquire a used Muller Martini Bravo-T stitcher). Mailing services are provided, as well as design work, though Shroeder notes that most jobs arrive as PDFs.
The World's commercial customer base consists of other newspapers, as well as weekly, monthly and quarterly publications. And while the printer is located 150 miles from both Seattle and Spokane, some of its customers are more than 350 miles away.
The World does offer commercial clients a preprint package, a single sheet of 70-lb. stock that's printed full color, trimmed and inserted into the daily paper. "It's simple, easy and cost-effective for the customer," Shroeder remarks. "It's clearly an area where we can benefit our customers and probably need to look at it a little more."
Because the company uses a 10-hour shift six days a week, what marketing the World does is highly targeted. But too much trumpeting could push the paper into another shift, when it is content to stick with the 60-hour week.