Hyper-local Digital Printing Increases Relevance for Newspapers

Article by Manfred Werfel Deputy CEO WAN-IFRA Frankfurt, Germany:

Last autumn Hubert Pédurand invited me to visit the French digital newspaper printing plant “Digitaprint” in Avesnes-sur-Helpe. On 11 January 2017 we met in Paris and drove across the countryside to the small town, which is situated more than 200 km north of Paris and quite close to the Belgium border.

Hubert Pédurand is driving the French INIGraph project, a service for the printing industry, supported by UNIIC, the French national printing union, in partnership with the French Ministry of Industry (DGE).

What is special about the “Digitaprint” print plant and why is it worth visiting and exploring what they do? Founded in November 2015, Digitaprint markets digital printing services, with or without variable data, as well as associated printing, for newspapers and related ancillary products. This alone may not be very exciting.

But Jean Pierre de Kerraoul, President of the publishing company Sogemedia, says, “We are entering an exciting era of personalised print. As a news organisation we want to be at the forefront of content that is tailored and bespoke to our many audiences. This will also provide huge opportunities for our advertisers as we improve the relevance and price of ad space with the inclusion of micro-zoning of ads and content, as well as shorter runs and the introduction of variable editions related to neighbourhood news.”

Sogemedia specialises in local weekly newspapers and follows a clear strategy of hyper-local and personalised publishing. While other regional newspapers in the area are reducing their numbers of local editions to save costs in editorial, production and distribution, Sogemedia has chosen the exact opposite direction.

A recent example illustrates the strategy. Sogemedia took over a regional weekly that was published in a single edition with a circulation of 8,000 copies. They transformed the publication from one into 11 hyper-local editions.


This is not an exception but the rule of the business. For example, the weekly newspaper “L’Observateur” is not only offered in 4 geographical versions but on top the reader can choose from 4 different content packages:

  • Version 1 offers a standard package, including sports and general news pages.
  • Version 2 has no sports news, but includes topics like kitchen, horoscope, creative hobbies, games and general news.
  • Version 3 comes without general news, but with gardening, an arts section and sports pages.
  • Version 4 finally has no sports and no general news, but the special topics of versions 2 and 3 instead.


At the printing plant we talked to Chief Technical Officer, Gilles Mevel, who explained the concept of “variable content” (the slogan of Digitaprint is “the variable experience”) and personalisation in detail. He also walked us through the production facilities and demonstrated the technical process.

Localisation and personalisation are not only a service to the readers but attract new advertising as well. If there are two competing car dealers offering the same brand in 2 of 4 villages, a newspaper that covers all 4 villages with only one edition is not attractive as a marketing platform for each of them. But if you offer 4 local editions, one for each village, a car dealer would probably advertise in the edition of his region and maybe also in a region in which the competing dealer is not active. The same is true for the other car dealer. Instead of attracting none you can get both as advertising partners by hyper-local editions.

The advantages of the content packages for attracting targeted advertising of local shops and service companies are very obvious.

 Sogemedia can follow this targeting strategy because it uses the digital printing system of Digitaprint. The production system includes a Kodak Prosper 6000C inkjet press connected to a MEGTEC reel stand on the in-feed and a manroland FoldLine on the output side. RIMA equipment completes the digital production line. The system installation started in September 2015 with the press. In November 2015 the FoldLine was installed and in February the first copies with variable content were printed.

Five months ago variable content publishing started. Today they print 18 titles with 100 variations. 80 percent of the products are printed for the region and 20 percent for customers from outside. The product range includes weekly newspapers, magazines and catalogues (in preparation). 18 employees work in three shifts and produce weekly newspapers from Tuesday through Thursday, 90,000 copies per week with a page count between between 32 and 40.

With their inkjet production system they can handle paper grades from 45 up to 270 g/m2. The print resolution can be adjusted and ranges up to 600 x 900 dpi. When Gilles Mevel compares the inkjet process with conventional printing he says: “We are not printing, but ‘pixelising’ the paper.”


Here you can find many more photos of Digitamedia

The change from conventional to digital printing did not only require a technical transition but also changed production processes and required the adaptation of new skills and procedures. At Digitaprint they talk about the “Transmutation” of the company. Job descriptions changed and hierarchies were modified. Experienced pressmen had to accept re-training. The transmutation of structures could be managed without conflicts by the clear and intensive communication of needs and open and fair discussions with all people involved.

Gilles Mevel says: “Sure, being a pioneer in digital newspaper printing that produces its entire print run digitally also involves a bit of adventure. But we will prove that digital print opens up promising publishing and commercial outlooks on the shrinking print media market.”

新柯达满血复活 激情对接用户 更聚焦更专注

Evandro Matteucci, Marketing VP, APR


5月22日,必胜网记者采访到柯达亚太区市场副总裁及图文事业部总经理伊万先生。伊万先生于2011年来到中国,这三年间,他亲历了中国印刷业的蓬勃发展以及柯达公司的起起落落。这三年,“柯达已经成为一个全新的公司”,从以往的面向消费市场的公司转变为一家面向商业用户的商业图文印刷公司;而与此同时,中国印刷市场的演变致使企业对高端解决方案的需求越发迫切,尤其在包装领域,为客户提供适合的解决方案成为柯达当仁不让的责任。4月1日柯达新首席执行官Jeff  Clarke走马上任,加强了公司从内到外颠覆性的变革,以客户及市场的需求为导向重新布局柯达的产品与服务,柯达已经迈出最为艰难也是极为重要的一步,取得的进步也显而易见,我们对柯达的未来充满信心。阅读报道全文,请关注必胜网。


Going Direct in Australia

Kodak’s Steve Venn speaks with Print21 to discuss our decision to move to a direct sales model for plates in Australia. You can read the entire article online at Print21. As Steve comments below, it’s all about the customer:  

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 14.24.46“It makes Kodak more competitive, at a time when customers are under extreme price pressures in some cases. But it’s not just a question of plate price, we’re looking forward to talking with customers about total solutions, from plates, workflow, colour solutions right through to working with customers considering a transition to digital.”


2014年1月,当彭安东(Antonio Perez)在中国上海的陆家嘴接受《第一财经日报》独家专访时,柯达已经完成重组脱离破产保护,成为一家“小而专注”的商业图文印刷公司,并且重返纽约股票交易所挂牌交易,股票代码由“EKOD”变为了“KODK”。
这让人回忆起两年前,2012年1月,当1880年成立的美国老牌企业柯达宣布申请破产保护的时候,伊士曼柯达(Eastman Kodak)公司总裁兼首席执行官彭安东耳边充斥的,全是对这家一度辉煌的企业内部发展战略方针失误和创新能力不足的各种惋惜与警醒的声音。





Kodak plans to open technology training center in China

Kodak CEO Antonio Perez visited China this week to meet with customers, talk with business leaders at an AMCHAM China event and to announce plans to open The Kodak Regional Technology Centre in Shanghai. In an interview with Bloomberg, Antonio notes that demand for digital printing is increasing as companies in China are looking to transition into more dynamic business models.

As the second largest printing market in the world, Kodak is working with the industry to integrate new technologies that are transforming the publishing and packaging printing markets. The Centre, which is expected to open in the first-half of 2014, will showcase the latest developments in commercial printing technology, provide training  to customers and partners, and demonstrate innovative new business applications.  Our aim is to make this new Technology Centre a tremendous resource for our customers to learn about winning new applications and develop strategies to grow their businesses in China and across the Asia-Pacific region.