In 2016, WAN-IFRA's World Printers Forum Board noted two trends that seem to contradict each other in the newsprint market. On the one hand, publishers and printers are striving to upgrade their publishing products and expand their market radius with the help of improved newsprint or even higher quality (coated) paper. On the other hand, the trend continues towards papers with lower basis weight. In the United States, this means switching from 48 to 45 g/m2, in India, the conversion from 45 to 42.5 g/m2 and in Europe the conversion from 42.5 to 40 g/m2.
In fact, the two paper trends do not contradict each other. On the contrary, they show how the business field of newspaper publishers and printers is expanding and how publishing products are differentiating themselves. This expansion is on the one hand in the area of higher quality products and on the other hand with the aim of reducing costs for standard publishing products, advertising and free weeklies.
We have addressed the trend towards higher value products in the WAN-IFRA report "High-Value Print Production," which was published in October 2017. This report deals with the trend towards switching to newsprint of lower basis weight.
Switch makes sense, but brings challenges
Newsprint contributes roughly 50% of the cost of producing a newspaper. Hence, this shift to paper of lower grammage makes sound financial sense. However, it comes with quite a few operational challenges. For the printer, the use of lower grammage newsprint presents problems vis-à-vis sustaining quality and optimising productivity.
WAN-IFRA presents a study on the economics behind the use of lower grammage newsprint, challenges in production and best practices that can effectively solve problems associated with the use of newsprint of lower grammage. This report has been compiled from the inputs provided by industry experts in newspaper printing houses, newsprint mills and ink manufacturing companies across the world, laboratory test results on newsprint and data collected from trial production with lower grammage newsprint.
The inputs were in the form of responses to general questionnaires, specific interviews and presentations at WAN-IFRA events. These have been put together as a composite document, to cover the rationale for the changeover, issues and challenges and best practices from a cross-section of stakeholders – printers and suppliers of both newsprint and inks. The report includes interviews and case studies.
We gratefully thank the contributors for their valuable support.