NEWSPAPER CTP — MAKING THE LATE EDITION
MEETING DELIVERY dates can be a challenge for any type of printing operation, but there’s nothing quite like the deadline pressures of producing a daily newspaper. Pages need to be kept open as long as possible for competitive reasons, but the printed paper absolutely must be available to readers with their morning coffee.
All elements of the newspaper production workflow have to be up to the challenge, and platemaking is a critical link in the chain. More plates typically are output in the final 15 minutes before the presses start to roll than during any other block of time.
In recent years, digital technology has increased the pressure on print media by spawning electronic news outlets that can publish content at will. The obvious answer would seem to be for newspaper operations to be among the leaders in adopting the latest technology.
Yet, the industry’s computer-to-plate (CTP) adoption curve has followed a rather conservative trajectory on the whole. A 2005 study published by the Print Industries Market Information and Research organization (PRIMIR) projected that 40 percent of newsprint publication printers had adopted CTP production so far. By comparison, the adoption rate for commercial printers with 20 or more employees ranged from 53 percent to 90 percent, depending on size category.
The study—“Life Cycle of the Analog and Digital Lithographic Printing Plate”—found price and ROI to be the main reasons cited by newsprint publication printers for not having converted to CTP production. Cost of plates and chemistry were their top concerns. Nonetheless, this market segment is projected to be the most likely buyers of CTP systems through 2010.
All the News That Fits
Averages and statistics are one thing. The story can be a little different when one looks at individual companies.
The Evening Post Publishing Co., Charleston, SC, installed its first CTP system a little over a year ago. Charleston’s The Post and Courier is its primary news-paper, but the company also produces more than a dozen smaller community publications.