German publishing and printing house Schlecht has been printing local newspapers and small-town news bulletins for more than 60 years, and expects to do so for years to come. The growth of online news doesn’t seem to have affected this niche market of printed publications where communities share news about their football club, church and local politics.
Oliver Merz and Silvia Schlecht, of Verlag & Druckerei Schlecht: SCREEN digital press fits our requirements to deliver newspapers in small print runs, at short notice, every week
With its new SCREEN Truepress Jet 520HD, Verlag und Druckerei Schlecht is now able to serve this market more efficiently and sustainably, it says. The acquisition shows how digital printing is continuing its advance in Germany, including in the markets of printers specializing in low-circulation publications.
“The SCREEN 520HD fits our requirement to deliver newspapers in small print runs, at short notice, every week. It has exceeded our expectations,” says Oliver Merz, Direktor-Owner of Schlecht.
“This new SCREEN machine delivers enhanced efficiency and sustainability, thanks to its speed. And because we can reduce test runs, there is less paper waste. The 520HD allows us to cut up printing of already small print orders into even smaller stages, creating a more even workflow. This means less paper use overall, and a much more efficient use of our resources. By eliminating makeready times, we can print much faster and thus further improve our workflows.”
The niche market of small local print-media has – perhaps surprisingly – persisted, despite the exponential growth of online and social media over the past few decades. Local print bulletins are seen as a more convenient way than the Internet to find information about events in one place, Merz explains.
One would typically have to drill down deeply on the Internet to find the same type of local content. Also, local print media plays an important role in forging social cohesion, Merz adds, as it contributes to strengthening a sense of community. Readers appreciate this, he says. As for Schlecht, small circulations mean that they, almost by definition, offer targeted advertising. Schlecht’s newspapers continue to attract small advertisers, such as local stores or country doctors. They also publish official information issued by city councils.
Each week, Schlecht prints 24 local newspapers. These are distributed to about 37,000 households, reaching 70,000 readers in 24 cities and towns in the federal states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hessen. A typical print run is 3,000 copies. Schlecht also produces brochures, flyers, calendars, and other similar print products.
All newsletters Verlag & Druckerei Schlecht produces are printed in full colour, which is still far from standard practice for local newsletters. And although circulations of local newspapers have been decreasing somewhat, Schlecht’s efficiency and flexibility have helped it compensate for these lower circulations by continuously gaining new clients.
Merz adds: “With this digital SCREEN printer, we’re well positioned for the future, as it allows us to further fine-tune service-targeted audiences. We’ll also explore personalised advertising in our print media, as this is one of the options the SCREEN 520HD already offers.”
SCREEN has seen demand for digital print equipment in Germany speed up over the past few years. “This is driven by the need for fast and flexible print technology capable of delivering relatively small print-runs fast, and with a high print-quality that matches that of offset. This is exactly the qualities Schlecht Verlag and Druckerei was looking for,” says Merz.
“An additional aspect of digital printing is the careful use of raw materials and thus the environment. This helps German companies meet their increasingly ambitious sustainability requirements,” says Patrick Jud, Area Director DACH at SCREEN Europe.