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Digital Newspaper Printing in Italy

Digital Newspaper Printing in Italy

Manfred Werfel's picture

Digital printed daily market: the solid Italian growth
(A report of the Italian Prointers Association ASIG, submitted by Luca Micheli)

“Is it booming?” “It is growing, step by step, but solidly”, Dario De Cian, General Manager at the CSQ – Centro Stampa Quotidiani – the printing plant located in Erbusco, between the cities of Bergamo and Brescia in Northen Italy, does not hide the satisfaction after signing, at beginning of June, a new agreement to print in digital another foreign daily, the Danish Ekstra Bladet. At the Italian printing plant of Erbusco (BS), a very small city 50 kilometers west of the Garda Lake, and 60 kilometers from Milano, the market for the digitally printed daily media is growing solidly.

“We have two new daily entries for 2015 – the tabloid Ekstra Bladed and the broadsheet Belgian Het Laatste Nieuws that join the two tabloid Daily Express and Daily Star, with a growth of 100% over 2014 for the digitally printed newspaper market. Together with several local weeklies from the regions of Emilia Romagna, Lombardia and Piemonte, two fortnightlies and a huge amount of hyperlocal inserts with news and advertising, like the EcoCafé in Bergamo or Eventi-Il Cittadino in Lodi, distributed together with the local offset printed dailies, the stock of products printed on digital web inkjet represents about the 3% of the income, out of an annual production of more than 110 million of printed copies.
“Since the end of 2012, when we decided to introduce a new digital web in the plant – an HP T 230 Color Inkjet with a finishing line from Hunkeler – the business model was focused towards a greater flexibility in the process, offering value added to publishers.”

“The digital web was not introduced to replace one of the four offset webs – all by Wifag”, instead, all the units had to work side by side. It’s not by chance that the new digital web was installed in the mailroom of the plant, where a full installation from Müller Martini and Sitma provides opportunities for whichever post production jobs required.
The CSQ printing plant today is a perfect prototype of what the Italian market calls “hybrid printing plant”, a facility that can offer aggressive and effective services to whichever daily production required, from “one copy” print to hundreds of thousands per night. Integration and flexibility are the finger print of the plant, one of the very few European successful stories of industrial cooperation between two publishing groups. The CSQ of Erbusco was established almost twenty years ago as a joint venture between the SESAAB Group in Bergamo and the Editoriale Bresciana in Brescia. Two owners, one industrial success. “They never looked back”.

The new entries for the digital market are produced under an agreement that will leave the chance to the printer to switch to offset in case the circulation becomes too big for digital printing. “Is it possible?” “Yes it is”, Dario says.

The switching from digital to offset production is very simple as the PDF is the same. What changes is the workflow, but the backbone of the plant, with and Arkitex workflow from Agfa, installed by the local dealer gmde, is equipped with a double tail, fully developed in-house.

From the start of the production at CSQ the circulation of the Danish newspaper has grown steadily. Today (July 2015) it is still in the range of digital printing, but it is not inconceivable that it should be produced in offset by the end of the summer season. Due to the strategic position of the plant, from where it’s possible to easily reach the Garda Lake area, the Mid and Nothern Adriatic Sea and the Mid and Northern Tirrenic Sea, CSQ has also “only offset” summer customers like the Dutch De Telegraaf and the German Bild am Sonntag.

“The digital printing market is growing, this new technology we offer is both, an offensive and a defensive tools in straight times”. “Let’s the publisher decide what he wants”, according to the number of pages and the number of copies for each edition. “We just do the job using the technology that best satisfies his needs”, ends Dario. The positive attitude sometimes hides in a simple switch.

[The picture shows Dario De Cian, General Manager at the CSQ, with samples of inkjet printed products]