Commercial Opportunities for Newspapers -- Know Your Strengths
The Fayetteville (NC) Observer has proven that it's never too late to start offering a new service. In 1994, the Observer (70,000 daily/80,000 weekend)—the oldest continuously published newspaper in the state of North Carolina—spun off Target Printing and Distribution.
Wide Range of Offerings
Target goes beyond its name, offering everything from design work, database management, fulfillment, mailing, printing and distribution, according to John Jenkins, Target production director. The printer performs a lot of work for the government, primarily books (flexi, case-bound and stitched). Among its publication customers are alternative weekly publications, such as Creative Loafing, affectionately dubbed the Village Voice of the south.
Target also performs a measure of single-sheet work, while 20 percent of its jobs are TV books. One-time jobs account for another 10 percent, but the lion's share (60 percent) is accounted for by other publications.
A KBA Colora, installed in 1999, offers the versatility needed by Target. "We bought it to be a newspaper press, but we also knew we wanted to diversify and grow our commercial printing business," Jenkins says. "We designed the press more like a commercial press. For example, I can run 192 tab pages in full color on a single pass. It comes back to high color capacity, high page counts. I can run extremely large broadsheets with full color. Our newspaper runs up to 48 pages a day and it's about 80 percent color."
Observer/Target offers a print and delivery program for its customers: a single sheet printed and inserted into its newspaper. Minimum counts are a bit high for the smaller advertisers, but Target will print, store and fulfill the product over a six-month period.
As in the case of Wenatchee's Shroeder, Jenkins prefers to market one-to-one and avoid big promotions that could overburden the printer. He also likes the notion that 90 percent of sales are from outside the area, as jobs are sold to clients in Rhode Island, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida, among other states.