Ifra Italia 2007 focuses on hybrid printing
The area of hybrid printing was the key theme of this year’s Ifra Italia in Sardinia, which was also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and drew approximately 200 participants to the annual conference that is done as a partnership among Ifra and Italy’s FIEG and ASIG.
Although hybrid printing itself is not a new topic, as Ifra’s Research Manager and Deputy CEO Manfred Werfel pointed out during his presentation (he noted that Ifra first addressed the topic in 1987 and has since done a further eight Special Reports on the subject), there are two major reasons for a renewed interest in it by newspaper publishers.
Firstly, as publishers have struggled to find alternative revenue sources in recent years in light of declining circulations and frequently declining advertising revenue as well, it makes sense to try to get more use out of expensive newspaper presses that are mainly only used part of the day to produce the newspaper.
Secondly, as the push for newspapers to go full-
Werfel said the term “semi-
To accomplish this, newspaper publishers have installed more heatset equipment to reach this quality level rather than the coldset presses that had long been standard in the newspaper industry. However, these two types of equipment are being used to such an extent by today’s publishers that, as Ifra CEO Reiner Mittelbach noted in his opening address, “We no longer talk about coldset or heatset, but hybrid.”
However, the problems for publishers as they increase their activities into the area of semi-
Several speakers during the one-
Indeed, Werfel himself noted “semi-
However, he added that Ifra has undertaken an effort to help define this area and create a standard for it. Currently, he said, “We have a first draft that is nearly complete. We plan to publish this draft in 2007 to Ifra members. If this draft is accepted then we will go to the official standard groups – such as ISO.”
He added that the next round of the International Newspaper Color Quality Club (not the INCQC 2008-2010, which is currently under way, but the one that will follow it) will look at both newspapers and semi-
The reason for the addition into the INCQC is the growth in the area by newspaper publishers and the industry at large. “All press suppliers are involved in this,” he said.
“When you look at Italy,” he added, “you have to look at flexo, and flexo has the advantage that it prints all paper grades. With the flexo press, you have the advantage of semi-
For Werfel, “The big question today is who will print the newspaper in the future, will it be the publisher or will it be a commercial printer?”
“The perfect printing system”
Going back to the issue of semi-
“We cannot compare the quality between coldset and heatset. We need space for these machines. If you want to enter the commercial market, you need a heatset system. From my point of view, one of the most interesting markets for a heatset machine is to cover the market of magazines. The printing of magazines. Why? Because if in this perfect plant, if we have post-
However, Serengi also stated that there is one thing lagging in this area: “The culture of printers in this direction.”
This cultural difference between printers, those who are used to printing newspapers (which is a culture that has largely been based on speed) vs. commercial printers, where the emphasis is on higher quality, is an important one, and it was noted by several other speakers in Sardinia.
“The reason for doing it is to increase your revenue”
Speaker Pierre Wruck, of Ifra’s Research Department, cut straight to the point of why publishers need to consider taking on more semi-
Speaking in the same session, Simona Lazzerini of printer Altavia Italia, noted that her company’s client are generally “clients who need to communicate to a network of clients.”
Altavia’s main tool for doing this is through flyers, and despite the theory that more and more people today receive news and information online, the use of paper per individual is still incredibly high. “The growth in the market exploded in the last 10 years: Consumption of paper per person is now 200 kilos per year,” she said, speaking of the Italian market. And, she added that in the United States, where the Internet is more widespread, “the consumption of paper is 300 kilos per person.”
Such consumption raises other concerns, namely the effects on the environment. “So, we have to think about recycling, and think about projects that have a zero impact,” she said.
Organising for success
In the third session, which focused on “the organisation for success,” speaker Dario De Cian, technical director of the Erbusco-
He said a main factor in their success has been an ongoing monitoring system that constantly tracks and evaluates costs and turnover at a variety of levels, such as turnover from production, turnover per shift, per worker as well as costs per 1000 copies, the labor costs involved as well as profits returned.
The company’s strategy is working so well that they are now laying the foundations for a new press, De Cian said. “We will have a dispatch room and machinery for trimming will be available in our plant starting next year,” he added.
During the same session, speaker Roberto Poli, of printing company Centro Stampa, based in Genova said that while his plant is largely a typical operation for newspaper printing, they also offer something more: “From the design of the publication to the distribution to the customers, we can handle everything,” he said.
“We started because we realised when the publisher wanted to create a new plant printing full colour, we needed to be able to offset the costs,” Poli said.
“We found several sectors that were interesting. ... Besides obvious custumers such as supermarkets, there was also the possiblity of printing books, such as school text books, which was a market that we explored,” Poli said, “but for reasons of convenience we decided to print free newspapers.”
He also noted that his company has found a way to turn what might be seen as a limitation into an advantage: “We have no finishing, but we do all sorts of products. We have suppliers who do this for us. We have included them as part of our organisations. We offer them services and support. So, if a client asks us for a service that we do not provide, we can link them to one of our subcontractors.”
In addition, Poli stressed that there was one thing publishers should not compromise in their staffing: “The printers of newspapers must be completely different from the commercial printers. The two types have completely different mindsets. In newspapers, the need is for speed, whereas in commercial printing other factors have to be taken into account, such as quality.”
The newsroom and editorial workflow
The last session of the day shifted focus away from printing and looked at the newsroom and editorial workflow.
Vittorio Sabadin, deputy editor of La Stampa in Torino said that while he was encouraged to have spotted many local people in Sardinia to be reading newspapers, in other cities of the country, “people only have free papers in their hands and young people have only iPods. Only people 40-
“We often hear the demand for newspapers is increasing, but this is only true for part of the world,” Sabadin said. “In places such as India, yes, there is an increase, but in Europe or in the U.S. the story is very different, there they are losing circulation.”
“So, the first part of this process is that the reader has changed," he said. "They do not want general information, they want specialised information. Second, younger people do not read newspapers. Newspapers did not do enough to attract young readers. And, the youth perception is that ‘we do not have to pay for information.’ ”
If copies keep decreasing and advertising keeps decreasing, what can publishers do to make money in the future?
"Here we have two possibilites," Sabadin said. "First, the use of multimedia to deliver news in real time, so that readers can have information immediately and not the day after. So, the reader’s newspaper might inform him through these other tools and not the normal printed newspaper. These need to be made available 24 hours a day. I consider that it is possible to go in this direction in the following 2-
Sabadin said he found the second possibility more troubling. “Since newspapers have seen circulation decrease, they have decided to cut the staff, cut foreign bureaus, but they lost a lot of value at the stock exchange, because 70 percent of the value of a newspaper is in its quality.”
Speaker Carlo Perrone, presidente of Il Secolo XIX in Genova, said he thought it was important to underline that people will always need information.
“They will need international and national information and also local information – information that is within 15-
Perrone added that publishers should not underestimate other forms of journalism, such as citizen journalism (though this currently does not play much of a part in the Italian media landscape) and publishers should also not underestimate the phenomenon of blogs.”
National employment contract remains an issue
Antonello Perricone of Milan-
Offering a global perspective to the panel, Ifra's Reiner Mittelbach said that for publishers, in the end, the matter is very easy.
“You have a story, and you have an audience out there that wants the story," he said. "But where are they when you want to reach them? It depends on the time of day. You have to do cross media publishing.”
Mittelbach also noted that “we still talk a lot today about circulation. I think circulation is a little bit old-
“I don’t think print will go away,” Mittelbach added. “It’s still more comfortable to read on paper than any other medium.”
Passing geographic boundaries
The final speaker of the day was Massimiliano Magrini, country manager for Google Italia. He noted that there are three drivers that make today’s media scene more complicated than in the past.
> the widespread use of broadband
> democrasation of content production tools
> reduction in storage costs
Magrini said he “perceived a sort of sadness,” on the part of newspaper publishers due to challenges resulting from the explosion of the types of media available today, but added that “we should be happy because consumers have many more ways to interact with publishers. Today Google can acquire thousands of advertisers who were not reached in the past. You can reach both large customers as well as smaller customers.”
Addressing the aspect of competition with newspaper publishers, Magrini said “Google gives back one-
“There is an important value for publishers to pass geographic boundaries,” he added. “A local paper can reach people in other parts of Italy or all over the world.”
In summing up, Magrini stated that ultimate issue was simple: “Technology divides the world into two parts: those who use it develop their business, and those who do not use it to develop their business.”
No comments submitted.