Hello! revamps with print switch

Hello! magazine with new format shown on right
Hello! magazine with new format shown on right

Hello! magazine has switched to web offset printing for the first time as part of a change of print supplier.

The royalty and celebrity weekly is now being printed by Walstead Group at its Bicester facility, with this week’s 7 September issue the first to be produced at the site.

Hello! had been printed gravure at Prinovis in Liverpool since the summer of 2018, when production of the UK edition returned to home shores – two years after the collapse of Polestar had forced a move to the continent.

Earlier this year Walstead also won the contract to print monthly sister title Hello! Fashion, previously printed at YM Chantry.

Hello! publisher Tamsyn Spires told Printweek that centralising the printing operation for both titles had a number of advantages.

“There are a few beneficial factors to this decision. We have for some time been planning the move from gravure to web offset in order to improve efficiencies in our processes, carbon footprint and sustainability,” she said.

“This decision is not about print run reductions or reduced quality of product. Hello! is currently the same paper stock it has always been, however in the next couple of weeks we are further improving both cover and text paper to a higher grade stock and finish.

Hello! Fashion moved to Walstead earlier this year and we have been so impressed with the quality of service and product,” she added.

Hello!’s latest ABC figure, for July-December 2019 was 206,900 with most sales via newsstands and just over 34,000 subscriber copies. Hello! Fashion’s circulation was 68,769, with 62,000 newsstand sales.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected sales of many newsstand magazine titles, but Spires said both titles had held up well.

“Both Hello! and Hello! Fashion have been incredibly resilient throughout the pandemic, continually outperforming the market in copy sales,” she stated.

Walstead Bicester will also paper wrap subscriber and newsstand multi-pack copies through its on-site arrangement with partner Westcolour.

The group’s pre-media wing Rhapsody already handled pre-press.

Walstead group sales director Jon Hearnden said the simplified supply chain – with Bicester able to print and stitch, or print and bind, as well as handle the paper wrapping – created a number of efficiencies.

He said he was delighted at the win: “Winning a new piece of business at any time is important, but during lockdown it’s even more satisfying.

“This is a great, iconic brand to add to our already impressive customer portfolio.”

Hello! has changed format as part of the switch, with the magazine reducing in depth from 320mm to 300mm.

Walstead Group also prints Hola! at its Spanish facility.