Commentary & Analysis
New Revenue Streams for Newspapers
Newspapers and the companies that publish them are facing a fundamental business transformation. The ways people choose to get their news have changed a lot in the last four centuries, so publishers have had to adapt to those changes and embrace new opportunities in news delivery to uncover different opportunities for revenue sources.
By Bill Schweinfurth
Published: October 31, 2013
For more than 400 years, consumers around the world have relied on newspapers to stay informed, communicate with each other, buy and sell items, and build communities. More recently, the newspaper industry has grown and changed dramatically, with thousands of titles coming and going as the demographics and reading habits of consumers change. For much of the time, revenue from printed advertising provided a majority of the funding to keep the presses running.
Today, newspapers and the companies that publish them are facing a fundamental business transformation that presents a variety of new opportunities. The ways people choose to get their news have changed a lot in the last four centuries, so publishers have had to adapt to those changes and embrace new opportunities in news delivery to uncover different opportunities for revenue sources. It’s not an industry where standing still is an option. The newspaper business has always been a dynamic industry, and that tradition continues today.
Globally, the adoption of digital content delivery has had a significant impact on the way people consume news, meaning that in many cases newspapers have had to reinvent themselves and find new and unique ways to connect with and maintain their readers. Furthermore, advertisers are exploring new capabilities in direct marketing and digital advertising that are taking them to new media channels.
Newspapers have responded by adopting new technology and designing ways to engage in a more interactive fashion with their readers. Whether through personalized news content, targeted advertising, or blended print and digital strategies, newspapers are finding ways to remain as competitive as ever.
A growing publishing trend today is to use digital inkjet printing to add variable and targeted content to traditional offset printing. These hybrid printing approaches are helping many newspapers stabilize circulation and increase revenue in some areas of the business. With high-speed digital inkjet printing, publishers are able to produce targeted or versioned issues of papers. These new targeted or personalized papers are more attractive to advertising clients because they strategically reach only the readers who are aligned with their marketing messages.
Powerful digital printing solutions give publishers the chance to deliver more value to both readers and advertisers through games, late-breaking news, and localized content. Microzoning—producing different versions of a paper for a highly localized area—offers smaller businesses affordable advertising to their nearby constituency. Targeted ads in a targeted area generate higher response rates for advertisers. Increased relevance leads to increased interest, which leads to increased circulation.
So how do publishers create hybrid digital/traditional systems? One solution is high-speed inkjet printheads, like the KODAK PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems, which integrate easily into existing offset production processes, enabling full utilization of existing equipment, while helping drive readership through more interactivity. Kodak’s systems mount inline on an offset press and offer speeds up to 3,000 feet per minute in monochrome or full color.
With hybrid digital printing, newspaper printers can add any number of unique features to traditional newspapers. Features such as images, maps, QR codes, serial numbers, addresses, or versioned ads can be integrated at full production speeds on existing offset presses. These interactive ads can command premiums of 30% over traditional static ads. Gaming applications let newspapers print winning numbers on each copy, driving readers to visit a Web site or a merchant location to see if they won. Other applications include inserts that contain unique barcodes for the holder to scan at a retail location.
In addition to marketing and content, digital printing also helps in the area of logistics, enabling the printing of barcodes to expedite truck loading and delivery as well as tracking of returned copies.
Beyond new revenue opportunities, newspapers around the world also are looking for ways to reduce costs by streamlining production. Advancements in newspaper workflow, plates, and presses are making production more efficient and helping publishers to reduce their costs and improve their bottom lines. At a time when boosting revenues is a difficult challenge, reducing overall costs helps to keep many businesses profitable.
Kodak offers a variety of solutions to help newspaper publishers and printers make their offset process more efficient. For example, KODAK SONORA NEWS Plates are designed to remove the burdens of maintaining and running a processor while achieving better process control by eliminating all processing variables from the newspaper pressroom.
Kodak has been serving the newspaper industry for years and understands the unique needs and opportunities in the market. With an integrated portfolio of solutions that ranges from workflow and plates to digital printing and support, Kodak leverages its expertise to help customers find scalable, robust solutions that will grow as their business grow. The newspaper market will continue to evolve, giving those who lead with innovative approaches to the business a unique opportunity to succeed.