THE EDITOR’S CHAIR: There are golden opportunities for publishers to add value to their print products, says Gary Cullum
WE live in turbulent times. As I write, Donald Trump has just become president-elect of the US and during the coming year – perhaps earlier rather than later – the UK government is due to trigger Article 50 that starts the Brexit process, subject to the Parliamentary review of course. And the pound is weak against other currencies in a world that mainly buys its commodities, including raw materials for ink and paper, in dollars.
So what will the next 12 months bring for news media? Greater stability, sustainability, growth and profitability is on my New Year’s wish list.
I’ve been a strong advocate of the Power of Print for more than 35 years and championed the cause at every opportunity. 2017 will not be without its difficulties and revenue-generating challenges but opportunities will abound for those in our industry with a creative and inventive mind.
As an example, did you see the fabulous one-off perfect bound magazine A Season to Shine in the Telegraph a few weeks ago, produced for top London store Selfridges and all the franchise businesses that operate in-store? A sublime publication with a luxurious feel and wonderfully aspirational.
TMG head of operations Stav Athanasiou says that the beautiful publication was produced entirely by TMG, including photography, designs and repro. And it was no printed import – printing was by YM Chantry and the stunning laminated cover with glittering gold was produced by Celloglas.
It is just the latest example of creative thinking, super selling and amazing print that our industry is capable of producing.
And it’s not just the special high end products; web offset presses across the country are moving into the quality print market. We have already seen examples off the Newsprinters presses for The Times and The Sunday Times and for The Guardian and Observer off the Guardian Print Centre presses and, more recently, off the Westferry machines at Luton.
Indeed, in this issue November/December issue of printed PJ Westferry operations manager Mick Crawley talks of pushing the boundaries of coldset further into semi-commercial areas of print, for his ownpublisher and for third party contract customers.
Regional publishers too are investing in semi commercial and commercial strength products to add value to their newsprint publications.
Each year in the newsawards we see some fantastic coffee table magazines and supplements, along with added value initiatives and the very best newspapers our industry is producing. During the coming year of change, I am sure we will rise to meet the many challenges the industry will face.
Talking of change, do read the criteria for newsawards 2017 in this issue very carefully. There have been a number of changes and the window of opportunity for entries by newspaper printers has been reduced significantly with national newspaper printers given just one week from which to select their entries. Regional printers have one month to choose entries on the basis of needing at least three consecutive weeks for weekly titles.
There are other changes too with 2017 judges now tasked to assess and analyse print production, content, design and commercial innovation.
2017 will be an interesting year.