While other papers are downsizing in this economy, the New York Daily News has invested in new and improved colour printing presses, the New York Times reports.
Owner Mort Zuckerman, a self-professed business contrarian, tells The Times he’s commited to “long term”– he see a future in print — but understands why sceptics would question his decision to upgrade the News’ presses, based in Jersey City.
Via the NYT:
There, he has sunk more than $150 million into expanding the newspaper’s printing plant, installing advanced high-speed presses — a statement of faith that print will still be big business for another decade or two, if not longer. As of this month, The Daily News can print full colour on every page; executives say it is the only large paper in the country with that capability.
The question is whether the investment makes business sense; the answer may never be made public because the privately held paper does not disclose its financial performance. Mr. Zuckerman signed the deal for the equipment almost two years ago, before the drop in advertising turned into a free fall, and before the weekday circulation of The Daily News fell to less than 550,000, from more than 700,000. He conceded that the paper, which had been marginally profitable for years, is at “worse than break-even.”
First reaction: Craziness! On second thought: Maybe this is crazy enough to extend the News’ life span. Advertisers love the quality of colour pictures; it makes their product look better, and for many, that’s worth the extra charge versus black-and-white standard ads.
While he believes newspapers will be around years from now, Zuckerman is keeping expectations low in an ailing industry.
“Anybody who goes into this at this stage of the game with an excessive degree of optimism,” he said, “is incredibly naïve.”
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