Newspapers Still Betting on Print
“The idea that this is a good investment isn't crazy.”
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, owner of The Daily News in New York, recently shelled out $150 million for an expansion of his printing plant, including new, high-speed presses that are cost-effective, while allowing for quality, full-color printing on every page of a news publication.
From an observer's perspective, the investment may seem ill-advised. Circulation is down, money is tight, and the print news industry seems to be balanced on the razor's edge. But look closer at the state of the industry, and you can see why Zuckerman's play might be just bold enough to save his empire.
To begin with, the new presses are a major draw for advertisers. Print advertisers are used to working around the blurry, low-quality printing standards in daily rags, but a new generation of presses could change those expectations. And in an industry hit hard by the recession, the extra edge of high quality, full color image printing might be exactly what The Daily News needs to beat out competitors.
More importantly, a line in the sand is being drawn in the industry between those publications that will retain their presses, and those that will outsource their printing. Papers that hang on to their presses will be in demand as increasing numbers of struggling competitor look for printers. And with some of the nicest printing technology now on offer, The Daily News could turn extra printing work into a valuable revenue stream.
And sure, Zuckerman might have made these pricey purchases two years ago – before this whole icky recession started – but they might turn into the foundation that secures the future of The Daily. Will advertisers and other newspapers come running? Would you? Zuckerman is betting on it.