Commercial Opportunities for Newspapers -- Know Your Strengths
"We want our commercial work to augment the newspaper, but not necessarily overshadow it," Shroeder adds. "It's a balance between keeping our commercial customers happy, turning around a product in a timely fashion for them, but at the same time not forgetting that the newspaper is why we have the press."
Shroeder's advice to newspapers considering commercial printing as a side offering: Stay away. "Seriously, we've been cautious not to bite off more than we can chew. We try to take on projects that fit our equipment and our location well. And sometimes, when products aren't a good fit, we have to say no even though we don't want to do that."
Philadelphia Newspapers (PNI), which publishes the Inquirer and Daily News, operates its nine 10-unit Goss Colorliner presses out of the Conshohocken, PA, facility, producing tabloids and broadsheets for various commercial accounts. According to John Shimkonis, commercial printing manager, PNI has been offering commercial work for the past decade.
The doors to the commercial printing world opened up wide for PNI when a local printer, which produced the Philadelphia City Paper and the Northeast Times, went out of business. PNI stepped up to the challenge, and those two publications proved to be the genesis. Shortly after, Shimkonis was brought on-board to serve existing accounts and to solicit new business.
The Northeast Times is now owned by PNI. And while PNI has exhibited at a few trade shows, most of the marketing comes via word of mouth and Shimkonis' soliciting efforts. Naturally, it helps to have one of the top 10 largest newspapers in the country.
"Our biggest strength is customer service and the fact that we are the biggest newspaper in the area," Shimkonis says. "Our success comes from combining our expertise and the group of professionals we have here in all aspects of the business, from delivery to warehousing, to prepress, editorial and sales.