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Digital newspapers will be published in regional Australia this year

Wednesday, 09 May 2012
By Patrick Howard

Teaming a high-speed Océ colour inkjet press with a newly developed manroland web format-variable newspaper folder proves the key to unlocking the potential for local issues of metropolitan newspapers.
Australian newspaper executives have expressed their intentions to initiate up to five or six such digital newspaper sites within a year. Discussions are underway with both Océ and manroland for the unique solution to be installed in selected regional centres. They will be able to print a variety of formats, including versions of metropolitan and even international papers.
Despite the digital printing technology being available from a number of vendors for some years, the lack of an industrial strength newspaper back end has proved a hurdle. The new manroland folder is part of a fully automated newspaper production line able to produce different formats.
“It is difficult to get newspaper people excited about digital printing, but when you show them the manroland folder, they become really interested,” said Herbert Kieleithner, product manager, Océ. “They really appreciate the newspaper folder. I’m confident we will have a number of installations within a year.”
The confidence is echoed by Steve Dunwell, managing director, manroland Australia who predicts at least three sites in the near future. “It is a very exciting concept and it’s just what the industry is looking for,” he said.
The local installations will follow the first installation of the concept with the drupa announcement of a sale to French-based Rivet Presse Edition. Under a project called Synapse, a business model – a world-first for newspapers – has been established in Limoges in the centre of France to open up new opportunities for publishers.
National and regional daily newspapers, as well as foreign editions of titles, will be printed in the order they are required for delivery to outlets in a defined area around the region.
Newspaper publishers are looking to the new model to bolster the fortunes of newspapers. By being able to print local editions of major newspapers, local businesses will be able to place targeted advertisements for nearby readers.
The fully variable digital manroland pin-type folder VPF 211 can produce broadsheet or tabloid newspapers in long grain and short grain with different structures and ensures with that maximum utilization of the advantages of digital printing for newspapers, as well as commercial printing.

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