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News addicts get world newspaper fix at Swiss kiosks

Consumers can read foreign newspapers locally thanks to satellite and local printing NewspaperDirect

For people who travel, missing the local or even national newspapers is a fact of life.

This content was published on September 18, 2003 - 15:28

But now visitors to Zurich and the environs can pick up a copy of the latest edition of the “Atlantic Constitution” or the “Swedish Aftonbladet” at their local kiosk.

The increased newspaper selection is thanks to a so-called Print-on-Demand system that uses satellite distribution and local printing to publish papers in A3 format for consumers.

It is available in some 20 kiosks on a trial basis by Valora, the company behind Switzerland’s country-wide news and sweets shops with the brand name Kiosk, located in train stations, airports, and some town centers.

Valora typically carries world newspapers such as “USA Today”, “The Nikkei Times”, and the European edition of the “Wall Street Journal”, but this system offers much greater diversity.

“We have always had demand for local newspapers but using the conventional newspaper distribution networks is just too expensive,” said Charles Hertzog, Planning & Development Press Sales at Valora.

The stapled together titles are displayed in a slim cardboard rack similar to those used for magazine displays. Most popular are the Scandinavian, Boston, and Atlantic titles. The trial has been running for one month.

Valora just dropped the cost of titles. The initial SFr19.90 price was too high, even for Zurich dwellers that have been known to pay close to SFr25 for a copy of the “Sunday New York Times” at Bahnhofstrasse locations. The “Washington Post” is now SFr11.80. Other newspapers will remain in the SFr8 to 12 range.

If successful, it will be rolled out across the country.

Distribution via satellite

Valora’s supplier is a Canadian firm called NewspaperDirect, which distributes 170 titles, including the “Times of India”, “Le Monde”, “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”, “Mainichi Shimbun”, “Washington Post”, “USA Today”, “Daily Mirror”, “El Pais”, “Clarin”, and more.

It was originally targeted at delivering daily papers to cruise ships and hotel lobbies but it also works for kiosks, apparently.

NewspaperDirect is just one of a number exploiting satellite for consumer distribution. The startup company, Satellite Newspapers, from The Netherlands, has terminals that will print out newspapers from a roster of some 200 titles. Customers pay with a credit card and the machine prints the paper.

“It is clear that people still want paper and are willing to pay for it, despite being able to access selected news for free on the Internet from local newspapers,” commented Hertzog.

by Valerie Thompson

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