Morten Reitoft explains the motivations behind the making of a recent film on INKISH.TV. Being an independent media and still asking for sponsorships is an act of balance and the “Behind the Scenes” chronicles are meant to explain why, but also to give you the inspiration to seek further knowledge and information.
Let’s get started.
Earlier this year we published a film sponsored by Highcon. As you can imagine Highcon have a tremendous interest in promoting their laser-die-cutting technology and they chose to sponsor a film made by us with a pretty large print service provider Haubtmann in France. Before getting into the complications of doing a sponsored film – let’s talk about the printer. Haubtmann is part of the global packaging company Autajaon. They operate 36 sites in the US, Europe, and Asia – and they have a strong focus on packaging. The French company Haubtmann is a 215 employees company, and they are a Heidelberg equipped printing company with two conventional machines and two UV-machines. Loads of cutting, gluing and tooling can be found on premises – so to see a Highcon Beam at a printing company like this is, well, not the first thing that comes to mind. In good and bad, this is an entirely conventional packaging company – so why at all invest in a digital laser-die-cutting-machine?
Before answering that question – let’s talk about the market. Brand owners and print buyers, in general, don’t demand “digital.” They require shorter print runs, faster turn around time, new types and unique products, personalization or at least versions – and with conventional equipment on both the printing and finishing side, this is not easy to accomplish. It’s important to understand that NO client demand to use specific hardware, but are only interested in applications – that can just be made by digital equipment – hint no tooling, faster setup time, high quality – and well – in the future may be entirely new applications not even possible to do on conventional equipment.
The market is changing. Maybe the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was a brilliant example of what can be achieved and perhaps some will try to copy the concept. But before that becomes mainstream, we will see private labels, we will see various versions, we will see entirely new products and services – and that is great for our industry.
So back to Autajon. With an efficient analog production setup, they believe the bottleneck of short runs will be the finishing and not the printing part. Depending on how small volumes they are targeting I tempt to agree with them – as long as there is no need to add personal data to the actual print. This leads me back to how we can make an unbiased and independent film from a printer when the film is sponsored by a vendor.
I believe the challenges that Autajon is facing and explaining in the film is generic. The story, therefore, needs to be told and though we, of course, did some editing in the film I genuinely believe that we are still delivering an unbiased story and telling it through the eyes of a user. That is the essence of what we do – but judge for yourself.
Short note: Highcon gave us tremendous freedom to ask the questions as we wanted them – and there has been no censorship from their side. When they asked me to consider a critical comment from an employee I actually chose to remove it myself. Not because of Highcon, but because one statement from one person can’t be proved or even challenged from an editorial perspective. That wouldn’t be fair to judge the Beam on that one statement.
The Beam is a fantastic product, and on one side Highcon wants it to deliver amazing and fantastic filigranes that are simply ART. On the other hand, they want it to be a full industrial production machine – and you know what – In my opinion, it can do both. Customers investing in the Beam, or other laser-die-cutting machines, will for sure be able to deliver unique products to the market and isn’t that just something most of us really would like?
Morten Reitoft is the editor of INKISH.TV. WIth an intensive background in the printing industry, he strives to support the printing industry with opinions, commentary, and insights. During the past years, Morten Reitoft and Print Media Centr have worked closely together to bring knowledge to printers through Project Peacock Peeks by filming and sharing the panel debates from the Printerverse.