Saturday, August 1, 2009

If Kodak is telling the truth and I did the math correctly, versioned newspapers are going tip this year. And black only is good enough.

This morning, I got into a discussion over at The Next Newsroom.

The Next Newsroom Project
Building the ideal newsroom for the next 50 years

Chris O'Brien, project manager
O'Brien is currently a business reporter at the San Jose Mercury News where he has covered Silicon Valley for the past eight years. Over that time, he's written about everything from the dot-com bo... Read More »

Kathleen Sullivan, Chronicle alumni coordinator
Sullivan is a freelance writer and editor. After her 1988-1989 reign as Chronicle editor, she spent seven years in professional journalism: first as a courthouse reporter for the News Democrat news... Read More »

In the thread following Chris's post, I said,
Just one or two recent developments might give a taste of what I see as the next steps in the upcoming evolution. Kodak last week announced that their Prosper system will allow imaging of tabloid pages for .3 cents per page in black and white and 8 cents in color. Although it doesn't include paper, it seems likely to me that with the competition from Oce and HP (other digital press manufacturers), that publishers will be able to contract with outside printers to have 24 page tabloids printed and delivered for under 20 cents an issue in black ink only, with the marginal cost of color pages appx 10 cents per page.
I based my post on the thread started by Noel Ward at PrintCeoBlog. Called Kodak Raises the Bar. In that thread, I said
If I read it correctly a tabloid page in color would be appx .008 x 2 = 1.6 cents and .0015 x 2 for .003 per black and white tabloid page.

Then came this response:

By clifton on Jul 30, 2009 | Reply Michael, I work with the company/product. The math is .008 x 2 = .016 per page.

Is the math correct?
So .016 per page equals 1.6 cents per color tabloid page. Plus paper. Plus folding. That should mean that black only is .3 cents per tabloid page. Plus paper. Plus folding. And those are TCO costs that include financing the box, I think. Take the capital expenses out of the equation and the running all in manufacturing cost is very interesting.

At any rate, back at the journalists' thread, I said
The new thing is that these numbers would hold for 250, 500, 1000, 2000 + issues. That means that a 100,000 circulation news organization could publish 1000 papers each for 100 different "tribes" that are forming and dissolving in any community. To play it out, that means 1000 newspapers purchased, printed and delivered for about $200. With a rules based typography engine there would be essentially no further cost in design and layout.
And this is just at the very beginning of new ways to use print to earn some margins to keep the whole thing going.. I didn't want to start the discussion about CodeZ QR and reader analytics. Nor did I want to get into versioned 24 page. black only newspapers instead of textbooks. But if you follow this blog, you should know exactly what I'm talking about.

Full disclosure: Long on Kodak.

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