New Mail presses start rolling

Lord Rothermere with Kevin Beatty, group md of Associated Newspapers, and John Bird, md of Harmsworth Quays Printing.

The Daily Mail this week started printing on new presses, making it the first UK national to install the next generation of printing hardware.

It marks the end of a £135 million five-year scheme in which the Daily Mail & General Trust has renewed its presses at Harmsworth Quays, East London, and in Stoke, Derby and Bristol.

The company claims that the Mail titles will now have more colour pages than any of their rivals. The move will provide a cash boost because advertisers pay a premium for advertising in colour rather than black and white.

Lord Rothermere said: “We can give readers and advertisers more colour, more pages and better printed newspapers than anyone else in the UK.”

The new presses can produce 128page Daily Mails with 64 pages of colour and 168-page Mail on Sunday s with 128 colour pages.

The DMGT deal is the latest in a series of a major re-pressing announcements from national newspapers – but the Mail titles are the first to get their presses rolling.

Printing presses have a lifespan of about 20 years and most of Fleet Street’s are understood to be nearing their sell-by date.

The Guardian and Observer have already started work on a £50 million project to replace their presses with equipment to print the titles in a new mid-size format in 2006.

Last week Trinity Mirror revealed a £45million deal at its Oldham printworks which is part of a re-pressing programme for its national titles.

In October, News International unveiled a five-year plan to build new printworks outside London for all its national titles: The Sun, News of the World, The Times and Sunday Times .

The move will enable the company to print 120-page tabloids in full colour.

The Daily Mail’s middle-market rival the Express is currently printed on aging presses at West Ferry in East London and has not revealed any plans to renew them.

Daily Telegraph editor Martin Newland has previously expressed frustration on the printing limitations placed on his titles, which are also produced at West Ferry, but the Telegraph has yet to reveal any repressing plans.

By Dominic Ponsford

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