After baring the follies of Australia's news publishers to delegates at this year's INMA World Congress, Melbourne academic Mark Ritson is set to face the local industry at the end of this year's Inform News Media Summit.
Charlie Scandrett, whose Pressnet company has been appointed Australia and New Zealand agents for US-made Web Leader presses, sees the combination of UV with the maker’s compact Quad-Stack colour tower as a “great opportunity” for regional and independent newspaper publishers.
“I think it’s the way smaller newspapers will go to meet the heatset challenge,” he says. “If they’re up against a metro publisher with a large heatset component, they can use UV economically to compete.”
The Web Leader agency follows meeting s at DRUPA, and adds a range of single-width equipment including the Quad-Stack colour unit, single-colour UPM units and WPC folders to Pressnet’s offering to newspaper and semicommercial printers. Pressnet already has a non-exclusive agency for Indian single-width maker Pressline.
Web Leader president Mark Rocca says sales of the Quad-Stack have been phenomenal in the USA, the UK, and South America: “We now have press lines containing Quad-Stack and UPM units in Asia and Africa as well. The units are rugged yet compact, hold tight registration almost from start up, and can produce sellable copy within the low hundreds range. Customers tell us that their savings after changing to this system are outweighing their payments.”
Despite the overseas success, Web Leader – represented in recent years by Chris Barton’s AIM Group and Singapore-headquartered Cyber – has yet to crack the Australasian market. Pressnet’s Scandrett is optimistic of changing that, likening Web Leader to sheetfed maker Sakurai, of which he has sold seven multicolour presses in three years, after previous agents had sold an average of a one or two-colour press a year.
“We have a pretty economical distribution system and believe we can make this a very effective option for the smaller newspaper publishers we already deal with. The Quad-Tech tower is compact, simple to use, and its staggered cylinder configuration means it works well without the expense of automatic colour registration systems,” he says.
Having promised the US maker a first installation within a year, he is now handling three proposals and hopes to have the first press running before next year’s SWUG conference.