‘Our business model on the digital press is simple,’ says Topweb’s Rodd Winscott

Topweb LLC (formerly Newsweb) is a commercial printer in the USA that specialises in newspapers, journals and a variety of cold web offset products. The company has a client base of about 100, which includes about 75 different mastheads with circulations that range from 1,000 to more than 100,000.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | October 2, 2014

Two years ago, Topweb installed a digital press, the TKS Jet Leader 1500.

In this email interview, Rodd Winscott, the company’s president, discusses Topweb’s experiences with digital printing and its business model for digital, and offers advice for those who are considering buying a digital press. Winscott will be speaking at WAN-IFRA’s World Printers Forum in Amsterdam on 15-16 October.

WAN-IFRA: You installed your first digital press for newspapers about two years ago. What has your experience been with digital printing?

Rodd Winscott: Our experience on the first digital press has been very good. It has met our expectations and has been well received by the client base.

What are a few of the main advantages you have found with it?

Some of the main benefits of the digital press are:

  • We have the ability to cost-effectively produce high-page-count, low-press-run newspapers;
  • Colour capacity is no longer a consideration as it might be on the offset side;
  • Supply costs are limited to paper; and
  • Labour is a fraction of that for offset.

What is your business model for the digital press?

Our business model on the digital press is simple. If the job is under 5,000 circulation and less than 72 pages, we consider it a candidate for the digital press. We then look at the pricing – how it compares with offset and if that is a consideration to the client.

When did your new facility open and what are some of the main benefits?

We moved into our new facility in January 2014. It offers us three times the space, is environmentally controlled from front to back, and was designed to house our existing equipment as well as a new four-tower Goss Universal 75 and the second TKS digital press.

Based on your experiences, what advice do you have for printers who are considering buying a digital press?

I think that when looking at a digital press you need to look at the type of product you wish to print. Take into consideration that the actual printing portion of the equipment is probably very similar across all vendors. Where differences begin is at the finishing end. Each vendor has a little different way of completing the newspaper.

The other area that I believe is important is to consider the sourcing of supplies such as ink and paper. Are you required to purchase the vendor’s ink or can you buy it elsewhere? Does the paper have to be digitally enhanced or can you use the same paper as on offset presses? These are a few of the questions that when answered may have significant impact on the buying decision.

The World Printers Forum conference will be held on 15 and 16 October, the last day of and the day after World Publishing Expo 2014 in Amsterdam. A season ticket for the exhibition taking place from 13 to 15 October is included in the conference price.

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