One For The Time Capsule?: FT Big-Ups The Print Network

The FT had already clicked “undo” on one Pearson (NYSE: PSO) exec’s recent assertion the paper will scale down its print distribution in the next few years.

Now it’s positively coming out batting for dead trees.

This curious little corporate video just popped up on the paper’s video stream, telling viewers about the marvel of the print distribution network…

The numbers:
— eight U.S. print sites output up to 45,000 copies per hour, 138,000 per night
— papers are delivered by dedicated and shared trucks and “several commercial flights”
— they go through 200 delivery and retail distributors, 60 post offices nationwide
— truckers drive up to 1,000 miles each night
— several hundred end delivery men and women deliver to over 10,000 U.S. zip codes
— “challenges” include street closures, weather or limited building access (!)

That’s a considerable undertaking, and one can’t help but feel that, in decades to come, this kind of video will be shown to students as a historical record.

But most newspapers are still clearly committed to printing for now, at least for as long as there’s demand or until this kind of process becomes too costly compared with print income.

But, though some metro and specialist newspapers have simply gone online-only, don’t expect that nuclear option to be taken across the board – perhaps more likely in the medium-term: rival publishers consolidate print factories in pooled service businesses, or retreat tactically from print only in particular regions.