Later this week, my Print Correspondent column will be posted at PBS Mediashift.org. It's still in editing and I can't post excerpts here until after it is posted there. But I can tell you it's going to be about the printernet.
The free advice
Get in touch with one of the gezillion newspapers that aren't sure of what to do. My suggestion is the Christian Science Monitor. They have unique content. They have a 100 year old long tail of content. They run great stories about innovation on the ground and a have global focus that is very unusual in the States. Their audience is mostly readers. They've just made the very courageous decision to stop their daily print publication and organize their staff around the web. My bet is that they are going to be a lot less distracted then the others.
Then some big media company with some extra cash (maybe a global advertising agency?) to pay for some number of the system you recently announced is going to be installed near Madrid. That could be Print Node #1. Then roll out installations at print shops around the world. In the States, most likely is AlphaGraphics since they did the Screen deal. Plus they have over 250 outlets, with very professional managment at many of them.
Or Fedex? Or go for a Big Box store that is networked with a production print partner: Staples? Office Depot? Costco is a good bet, since they have such awesome relationships with a mass market of small business. It would be the perfect place to sell local advertising.
Then contact a really awesome advertising agency. I suggest Media One. They are the outfit that invented "mine", check out timeinc.com/mine for Time.Inc, American Express and Lexus. They're a division of Saatchi. Their director of media understands creative, metrics, experimentation and the power of Print.
Given the buzz they're about to create, my bet is that every global agency is going to have teams of creatives who are positive they can do it better.
If I read your press release correctly, it said the machinery near Madrid can produce up to 24,000 80 page newspapers a day. So that could mean 48,000 40 page a day? or 96,000 20 page a day? Even if I don't have the numbers right, it's still lots and lots of newspaper output driven by data streams.
So, if you had installations in Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Amsterdam, London, Mumbai that would mean 9 print output nodes. Let's say each produces 50,000 20 page newspapers, printed the next day.
So that means 450,000 20 page newspapers that could be micro versioned and personalized and delivered overnight with a minimal carbon footprint
I bet that P&G or Starbucks or (you can pick the global brand searching for a way to deliver local advertising) would think that would be a pretty cool thing to do. At least two or three of them should have the focus and the resources to pay for it.
If you don't like the strictly commercial approach, talk to the folks at PediaPress.com
They are in Mainz, Germany. Have done a deal with the Wikipedia Foundation and their website delivers wikis-in-print for $8.95 for a 100 page paperback.
The technology is mostly well tested and proven in the field. The skill on the ground to run it is in place. The necessary slice and dice intelligence exists in the Cloud. All it needs is some money flowing to catalyze the separate pieces. The problem is that printers and most publishers won't have any extra money for a while.