Remember how wonderful and magical it was when the musical motion picture, The Wizard of Oz went from black and white to Technicolor? The New York Daily News is about to undergo a similar transformation when it purchases new color printing presses that will allow the paper that once carried the logo "New York's Picture Newspaper" to print in color from cover to cover. Boston Properties Inc. chairman Mort Zuckerman has raised about $31.6 million in company stock sales to finance the presses, reported Bloomberg.
"Wait till you see the way this paper is going to look four or five months from now. We are going to once again be able to be the picture newspaper in a way that nobody could have imagined," Zuckerman told Bloomberg.
Just how important are the aesthetics of a newspaper? Very, according to Jacek Utko of Bonnier Business Press CEE, a Polish design director who spoke at a TED conference back in February. The video which recently resurfaced on Mediaite explains how, inspired by a Cirque de Soleil show, Utko decided to apply the same principle of taking a standard product to "the highest possible level." He stepped in as art director and begin to redesign the covers of his company's newspapers in a way that mimicked posters. The cover design gradually penetrated the entire issue; for example, by treating two side by side pages as one unit because "that's the way users perceive it."
The innovation earned the company several prestigious awards as well as a significant boost in circulation to its respective newspapers. But Utko claims that redesign alone is not to take full credit for the abundance of awards and profit that came their way. Rather, a successful marriage of design coupled with quality content is the secret.
Will printing the New York Daily News in color from cover to cover help realign the paper's circulation figures which fell 14% during the six month period after March 2008? This is worse than many other papers; during the same period, only a 7.1% drop industry-wide was reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
California based analyst with Outsell Inc., Ken Doctor told Bloomberg that the transition to color will help bring in advertisers more keen on publicizing their products and services in color, but may not have a hugely significant impact considering the competition that flat ads face from the Web. It may just well be "too little, too late," says Doctor.
Zuckerman told Bloomberg that he believes the presses will add a great deal to revenue and prove to be a wise investment. Zukerman does not plan on backing out and is "personally committed" to the upgrade. "It's a commitment I made two years ago. I think it will make a great deal of sense for the Daily News," he says.
Only time will tell if Zuckerman is right. The paper's color bonanza is due to launch by the end of the year.