Commodity presses

Demonstrating that the very thing that made publishing privileged — presses — are now just a commodity and a cost center, the Telegraph is jobbing its printing out to competitor News Corp. in the UK, improving the quality of its output and reducing its investment. Smart move. Presses aren’t what make you special anymore.

  • For some reason, the San Francisco Chronicle’s decision last fall to outsource its printing has gotten very little attention. As you say, smart move.

  • Sort of smart, but also sort of vulnerable?

  • For Adrian Monck: Vulnerable, yes, but not so much if you have an accompanying online venue partnered with your daily tangible.

    A lot of places are doing this, now. It keeps costs down, too, by leaving the maintenance costs in the hands of the ‘service bureau.’ As a final alternative, the paper I currently work for offers past editions in PDF file format. One could easily make the jump to offering the daily as a PDF file exclusively, should the service bureau’s presses jam before street deadline.

    Vulnerability is in the eye of the beholder…

  • Yes but there is also some very particular history to this relationship. Do you remember accounts of Richard Desmond goose-stepping round the table and saluting Heil Hitler in front of startled Telegraph execs when it seemed that they might be bought by a German company? Greenslade spots the legalistic language in the news release:

    Ousourcing the heavy lifting? It makes every kind of sense on the web also. Amazon’s S3 will be treated as a subscribable-Heidelberger-press for the web by companies that dont need to maintain their own servers or server farms.