YM starts printing mega Mail job

Jo Francis
Friday, October 1, 2021

All eyes in the high-volume market are on YM Group this weekend as the business starts printing the Mail supplements a week earlier than initially envisaged, and after recovering from the breakdown of a key piece of equipment in the nick of time.

Weekend and You: three YM plants involved in production
Weekend and You: three YM plants involved in production

When news of the contract’s move from gravure printing at Prinovis to web offset at YM Group emerged in August, the expected start date for YM taking on production was 8 October. 

However, Printweek understands that printing of You began yesterday (30 September) at YM Chantry, with a delegation from the Mail also on site to supervise production of the first batch of supplements. 

It involves the production of some 2.5m magazines a week. The Daily Mail’s Saturday edition, which includes the tabloid-format Weekend, sells more than 1.5m copies a week, while the Mail on Sunday, which includes You magazine, has an ABC of 839,633. Both titles are stitched.

This weekend's supplements (2 and 3 October) are the last to have been printed at Prinovis.

Industry sources said that Chantry’s KBA Compacta 818 72pp press had been out of action for more than a week due to a breakdown involving its oven. The press was apparently up and running again from Monday afternoon (27 September) after engineers from Megtec were able to resolve the problem.

YM Group previously said that printing of the Associated Newspapers supplements would be “focused primarily at YM Chantry with support from our Pindar, Scarborough and York Mailing sites”.

“This substantial contract consolidates our position as key suppliers to the publications printing sector. Over the last five years we have worked closely with publishing clients to establish ourselves and build a desirable stable of leading titles, which complement our long-standing relationships in the commercial printing sectors,” the firm stated at the time of the win. 

YM chief executive Stephen Goodman and group managing director Peter Greaves were at Chantry earlier this week, checking on progress ahead of the arrival of the Mail titles.

Independent engineers have also been on site working to resuscitate the mothballed 64pp Goss M4000 at Chantry, but sources told Printweek the press is still a way off being operational again. 

Most of Weekend is likely to be printed on the 64pp Lithoman at York Mailing as a result, sources said.

Associated Newspapers is part of DMG Media, which is a division of the huge Daily Mail & General Trust group.

It’s understood that the contract for You magazine has been agreed on a multi-year basis, with a break clause, while Weekend is on a rolling contract because DMG aims to bring production in-house on its own presses, potentially within six months.

YM Chantry has also won the contract to produce the Guardian’s new Saturday magazine, which consolidates several supplements into one.

The first 112pp edition of the tabloid was published last weekend. It’s printed on the Goss Sunday 5000 64pp short-grain at the Wakefield printer. The change also means the Guardian has stopped paper wrapping its supplements package. 

Saturday is printed on Holmen View Matt. “It has the same dimensions, paper and printers as Observer Magazine which gives us a small logistics benefit,” explained Dave Kirwan, production director for publishing. 

The separate Feast supplement is also printed at YM, on Holmen TRND 2.0 bulk, and then inserted into Saturday. 

“The Holmen papers are not only great looking but have a significantly lower carbon footprint than the mix of papers we were using before,” Kirwan added. 

“The change from Weekend, Review and The Guide to Saturday reduces the number of sections printed from six to three each week, and we can now insert the whole package so have stopped wrapping in paper which also reduces the associated distribution considerably.”

 

 

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