Sun website to scrap paywall

Publisher News UK set to make U-turn and offer its content for free from 30 November in bid to compete with rivals such as Mail Online The Sun is poised to make a major U-turn by scrapping its paywall and offering most of its website content for free.

It is understood that News UK, which also publishes the Times and the Sunday Times, has taken the decision to compete against major rivals in the free advertising market such as Mail Online.

News UK made the decision to put the Sun, the UK’s biggest-selling tabloid, behind a paywall in August 2013 following a decision to move the Times and Sunday Times.

Rebekah Brooks, the News UK chief executive, informed staff on Friday morning of the U-turn in strategy, which will happen on 30 November.

The Sun has recruited Keith Poole, the managing editor of Mail Online in the US, as digital editor to bolster its team in the transition to a free site. The Sun reported more than 30 million monthly unique users in July 2013, the last officially audited figures before the Sun.co.uk was officially moved behind a paywall.

The move follows the reappointment of Brooks, who returned as chief executive in September after being cleared of all charges relating to the phone-hacking scandal, and the hiring of ex-Daily Mail and senior Telegraph executive Tony Gallagher as editor of the Sun.

Brooks told staff in an email: “I recently shared with you the future priorities for the company and am excited today to tell you more about our plans for the first of these: growing the Sun’s audience. This will mean setting the Sun predominantly free in the digital world from 30 November. By happy coincidence, this is also Cyber Monday, one of the best-performing days of the year for online retail.

Recent months have been filled with experimentation at the Sun. The standalone political site SunNation won plaudits at election time, we increased the number of shareable stories on social media, we entered platform partnerships with Apple News and we will be a major player in Facebook Instant Articles.

“The biggest recent success story has been Dream Team. We have a record 1.25m customers signing up to be managers and our content has reached 276m people on social media. Normally, we see interest drop off as the season progresses. This year, it’s going the other way thanks to Harry Burt and Harry Haydon’s clever use of engaging editorial content.

“Entering this new chapter for the Sun, we are in a strong position thanks to the many learnings we bring from the paid-for era. We know more about our readers than ever before. Our recent acquisition of Unruly, and our ongoing collaboration with colleagues at Storyful, further bolsters our position and will play a big role in how we supercharge our digital advertising capabilities.”

Brooks delivered the public strategy to move the News UK titles behind a paywall before she left the publisher amid the fallout of the phone-hacking scandal.

The Sun made its first move to look beyond the paywall model in July this year when it started to make a range of its articles available for free. Since relaxing its paywall strategy the Sun has increased its average daily browser numbers to about 1 million.

This is about a tenth, or less, of rivals across the free spectrum which includes the Mail Online and the Guardian, the two biggest English-language newspaper websites.

The move represents a major challenge to the players vying to succeed with the free digital ad model – some might argue the U-turn is a vindication for those opposed to paywalls – particularly given the challenges that have emerged for UK national newspapers.

The national newspaper market has seen unprecedented falls of up to 30% in print advertising this summer, an issue compounded by a worrying slowing of growth in digital advertising revenues.

The entry of the Sun to the free digital ad market marks a major ramping-up of competition among national newspapers in the battle for digital advertising pounds in a market dominated by US giants Google and Facebook.

Nazdar launches new Océ Arizona & Fujifilm Acuity inks

Nazdar Ink Technologies has announced new ranges of third-party inks for Océ Arizona and Fuji Acuity printers, claiming they can save users around 30% on costs in comparison with OEM inks. The Nazdar 702 series is designed for use in Océ Arizona printers that use IJC256 inks. The 702 and 703 series are the first inks suitable for “the plug-and-play UV inkjet market”, according to Nazdar market segment manager for the UK Rich Dunklee.

“There’s a gap in the market and it’s for a viable third-party option for the Océ Arizona and Fujifilm Acuity platforms,” he said.

“What’s different about them physically? Nothing; they are designed to be the same as the OEM versions but are considerably lower in price.

“End-users meanwhile don’t have to re-profile their printers, they can just plug in the inks and continue running as before. There are currently around 1,000 of these machines in use in the UK.”

Dunklee said ink prices varied from one country to another, but they would work out between 30% and 35% less than the OEM versions. The inks come in one- and two-litre packs. The 702 series is designed for use in the Océ Arizona printers that use IJC256 inks. The 703 series is for Fujifilm Acuity printers running the KI series inks.

The inks offer good compatibility, quality and cost effectiveness, combined with a seamless conversion process, said Dunklee. Closely colour matched and chemically compatible with the IJC256 and Fujifilm KI inks, users can save time and money by switching one colour at a time, he added.

Flushing, purging or re-profiling is not necessary when transitioning to Nazdar 702 or 703 series inks due to the accurate colour reproduction capabilities of the ink set, the company said.

Lancashire-based wide-format kit reseller Quality Print Services (QPS) has started supplying the inks in the UK with immediate effect. A number of QPS’s existing customers took part in beta tests of the new inks to ensure they delivered the best results at the best price. QPS managing director Chris Bailey said feedback from testers has been “very positive”.

“The 702 series and 703 series inks provide all the qualities that display print businesses expect and demand from OEM inks but at a much lower price point,” he said.

“Our customers will also have the advantage of our team of expert engineers to ensure switchovers go smoothly.”

Heidelberg to Install Speedmaster XL with UV, LE UV & LED UV

Speedmaster XL 106 8P+L with X4 delivery

Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 106 8P+L with X4 delivery is the first press in the world equipped with three types of UV capabilities: full UV, LE UV and LED UV. The press is a key step in helping customers define which type of UV best suits their applications and challenging some of the myths that exist about this technology.

As the newest addition to Heidelberg’s leading Speedmaster XL 106 line, the press is the only LED press in any demonstration center in North America. Adding the capacity to switch between UV capabilities gives customers the unrestricted ability to test which type of UV is best suited for their business. The new press is currently being installed in Heidelberg’s Print Media Center in Atlanta.

Like a standard XL 106 press, this elite hybrid press also reaches speeds of up to 18,000 sheets/hr. with a makeready speed of fewer than four minutes. The Heidelberg XL 106 eight-color perfector is the industry standard, outshining the competition in terms of productivity and efficiency. In fact, users of the XL 106 often produce well over 50 million sheets per year.

Heidelberg’s new DryStar LED, the latest UV technology, is the most powerful LED drying system fit for the Speedmaster XL line. This system is the most efficient available with instant on/off and automatic sheet size formatting function. Designed for maximum curing at speeds of up to 18,000 sheets/hr., the DryStar LED utilizes the most modern semi-conductor technology and energy-saving cooling system for up to 25,000 production hours of operation.

With these new advances, Heidelberg is dedicated to assisting the American market in developing LED consumables and supporting customers searching for a proven solution that cures LED inks at maximum speeds.

Alongside the Speedmaster XL 106, Heidelberg is also installing its first Speedmaster XL 75-5+L Anicolor with UV capabilities, designed for ultra-short run lengths with a breakeven of 250 sheets. In addition to up to 50 percent higher productivity and a makeready of less than three minutes, the Anicolor press further impresses by guaranteeing cured sheets at delivery.

Both presses will be available for personalized customer demonstrations in the coming months. Customers can trial their own applications and expectations of the variety of UV sources available.

Heidelberg remains committed to the American print industry by providing industry leading innovations and proven solutions for its customers. Heidelberg trusts that these advancements will further the American market and provide tailored solutions for its customers.