Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Remote Print on an Island: Newspaper POD or Maltese Tease? Localized Printing on Demand Helps Keep Newspapers Viable, Relevant for Global Markets

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Remote Print on an Island: Newspaper POD or Maltese Tease? Localized Printing on Demand Helps Keep Newspapers Viable, Relevant for Global Markets

Article excerpt

HELLENIC MILLER NEWSPRINT LTD., A JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN HELLENIC DISTRIBUTION AGENCY AND MILLER DISTRIBUTORS OF MALTA, has begun digital printing operations in Cyprus. Miller Newsprint is part of the Miller Malta Group and a major shareholder in Newsfax International Ltd., in London, the U.K.'s largest independent newspaper contract printer. Their production platform features the Kodak Versamark VL4200 Printing System, a roll-to-roll inkjet device that runs up to 410 feet per minute, along with Hunkeler finishing equipment on the back end. By the end of March, agreements were in place to print virtually all the imported press that had been flown in, amounting to 25 leading U.K. and international titles.

"There are environmental and commercial advantages to be gained," said CEO Malcolm Miller, the visionary entrepreneur standing behind the digital infrastructure. "Publishers are looking for increased sales and improved supply-chain solutions in these challenging times, and we have built up a proven model. Other locations are currently being finalized, and we should be making further announcements shortly."

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Local production slashes costs. "Over the past two or three years, newspaper sales have declined because of prices being driven up by rising air freight costs," said Michalis Iacovides, managing director and owner of the operation that distributes almost all of the foreign newspapers in Cyprus. "As an island, we are reliant on air transportation, and with rising air freight costs set to continue, it made commercial sense to invest in our own printing capabilities."

RotOcean installed a similar setup a year ago on Reunion Island, a French outpost in the Indian Ocean. And costs are not the only issue. Delivery times have a big impact on sales, Iacovides said. "A few titles that were being printed in Greece or Turkey were arriving by 8 a.m. and available in shops by 9 to 9:30 a.m. Most of these will now be available for breakfast, at the same price as before." Some titles were not arriving until the next day.

Hellenic Miller is following the lead of Miller Newsprint, which made the same move in late 2009 after facing cost and delivery pressures in the Republic of Malta to the west, situated about 100 miles south of Sicily. Through the investment, "we can ... radically change newspaper production and distribution ...," Miller said at the time. "The Kodak technology means we can supply newspapers around the clock to more than 1,000 outlets across the Maltese Islands. …

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