Unit 3: Economics of Print Media – Media Management Class Notes

Production Costs

Operation, Non-Operation

Revenue Heads-Selling Of Spaces

Commercial Print Jobs

Newspaper Production Process

Newspaper production is an act that actually starts from the gathering of news stories, articles, opinions, advertorials and advertisements to printing and folding of the so-called “Hard Copy”. Usually, the news is printed on the newsprint. The whole production process can be divided into four parts. Such as:

  • Content gathering:
    • News/Information:
      • Gather stories, cover events and get the stories ready on a day-to-day basis (Newsgathering & Dissemination)
      • Email the completed stories to the editor/sub-editor
      • Sub-editors – responsible for edited and typically uses a red pen or red font colour
      • Chief Sub Editor uses blue
      • The editor uses green ink
      • Through the use of ink, the stage of editing can be understood
      • The reporter works with a particular desk in the newsroom such as City, Sports, Business, Political, Lifestyle, etc.
      • Automate parts of the news gathering on digital and social platforms
    • Advertisement:
      • The marketing department is responsible for getting advertisements
      • Work with the newsroom/desk to plan for the placement of the ads
  • Pre Press:
    • Photos – editing
    • Advertisements – creation and composition
    • Newspaper layout and design
    • After the editing process
      • Content to be included: Editorial conference to determine what goes inside the paper for the day
      • Sub-editor plan their respective pages
      • The marketing department will forward the advertisements along with the specification of the pages allotted to the advert
        • Dummy newspaper – Page Planning: Give a prototype of the final outlook of each page
        • Transformation into digital form: Graphics desk converts the dummy sheets into a digital form – text, pictures, cutline, graphics, and graphical illustrations as well as color
        • Some of the desktop publishing programs (DTP) such as Corel Draw, Adobe PageMaker, Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, etc.
        • Compose pages and output them on a hardcopy proof-printer for proofreading and sending the corrected and finished pages to a RIP (Raster Image Processor)
        • The RIP transformes PostScript (PS/EPS) or PDF pages into rasterized TIFF G4 data.
        • The TIFF (Tag Image File Format) data is usually imaged in a CTP-device (Computer to the plate) using a Laser directly onto the offset printing plates.
        • The final stage is preparing the imaged offset printing plates for mounting onto the plate cylinder inside of the offset press
        • The plates have to be bent and often also punched so that they can be mounted easily and proper on the plate cylinder.
        • Newspapers follow WAN-IFRA and ISO standards namely ISO 12647-3 (2013) and Ifra Special Report 1-2008
  • Press:
    • Quickness and reliability
    • Reasonable costs
    • Newspaper rotary presses not only produce the sheets, signatures or reels of printout but  also finished goods
    • Printing
      • Loading and unwinding of newsprint reels – the first function involved in printing
      • These functions are provided by the paster
      • Pasters unwind paper reels and automatically change paper reels at full production speed (e.g. 100.000 copies per hour)
      • Often pasters are placed below the printing towers.
      • The towers often consist of four printing units to print Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink onto the newsprint
      • The newsprint web travels upwards in the printing tower during the color is applied to it on both sides of the reel.
      • Usually for every page there is one individual printing plate per color. This printing plate is mounted onto the plate cylinder within the printing unit which again is part of the printing tower
      • Modern presses can print full color on every page
      • Four colour printing units are used for printing on one side of the paper web and another four printing units apply the backside print onto the paper web
      • Printing front and backside can happen simultaneously (blanket-to-blanket-configuration) or after another (satellite configuration)
      • The printing units cannot just print one page like in digital printing, instead of printing towers in newspaper presses can print up to 24 broadsheet pages in full colour.
      • If the press consists of several towers much more pages can be printed at once.
    • Folding
      • The folder starts were the printed webs come together
      • The Folder can produce ribbons and combine these ribbons in such a way that the pages are sorted on top of each other
      • The folding process starts in the so called super structure and ends in the main foling units at the end of the press process
      • The ribbons are cut in such a way that the pages of the newspaper are separated from each other and the folder lays down the newspaper copies onto the delivery belt.
      • The first real newspaper presses was produced by Koenig & Bauer. The Times in London was printed at first on a rotary/flat machine press instead of a hand press in the night from 28 to 29 November 1819
      • Today also other manufacturers such as Goss, Manroland Web Systems, TKS, Mitsubishi and TPH are in the press market.
  • Post Press:
    • The copies are collected on the delivery belt and usually transported to the mailroom using a gripper conveyor system
    • The post-press area is also often called mailroom because here the copies are prepared for mailing to the customers
    • Newspaper copies can be bundled directly so that they are ready to be put into a truck for transportation
    • Alternatively, extra preprints from the newspaper press or flyers/brochures from external sources can be inserted into the newspaper copies before creating bundles
    • Mailroom systems are mostly manufactured by three companies (Ferag, Müller Martini and Schur).


Break Even Points

Promotional Strategies

Circulation And Revenue-Readership Measurement Systems