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World first as Sunday paper prints comic unique to each copy

A Sunday newspaper printed a cartoon strip unique to each copy of this week’s edition, in what is thought to be a world first.

The Sunday Post has made use of publisher DC Thomson’s new printing system, which allows the creation of bespoke individual editions of newspapers to be published.

The innovation by DC Thomson’s printing arm Discovery Print means it is possible to change what is to be printed without swapping plates on the press.

Yesterday’s edition of the Dundee-based Post saw its comic strip The Broons printed with bespoke competition codes – and different endings to the story.

A strip trailing this Sunday's edition of The Broons

A strip trailing this Sunday’s edition of The Broons

The codes allowed up to 500 readers to claim a cash prize, with a total of £10,000 up for grabs.

Launched in March, DC Thomson’s digital printing head sprays one billion droplets of ink per second, allowing it to change text and images without slowing down the speed of the printing press.

It can produce unique content on each paper at a speed of 90,000 copies per hour.

Guy Forester, the company’s head of operations (newspapers), said: “We’re one of only two printers in the UK with this technology, so as far as I’m aware The Broons cartoon strip is the first ever variable data strip that has been produced in the UK newspaper marketplace, possibly even the world.”

Donald Martin, Sunday Post editor-in-chief, added: “The digital print head offers exciting new capabilities and fresh ways to engage our readers and advertisers in Scotland and the North of England.

“It has been a genuine team effort with editorial, our writers, artists and graphic designers, working alongside colleagues in operations, production, marketing, advertising and enterprise to create this imaginative reader offer.”


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  • July 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    What a spectacularly wonderful exercise in attempting something utterly pointless.

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  • July 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Us sassenachs didn’t get it. Oor Wullie is still funny though.

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  • July 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Well it’s clearly not pointless, is it, Slate Grey, because the report states quite clearly that it was used as part of a reader competition. Therefore, it serves a purpose. In a bid to maximise revenue, newspapers have to consider requests these days for all kinds of sponsored pages, supplements, special editions, bulk orders for special events, etc, but have to weigh up the potential costs of additional print runs, plate changes etc. This kind of technology would seem to allow for many innovative ideas.

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  • July 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Sound like an innovative concept! Need to try new ideas to keep print competitive!

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