It is the size of 23 football pitches. It is built with enough steel to build the Eiffel Tower twice over. Its 12 presses can roll out 86,000 copies every hour. It will eat up 330,000 tonnes of newsprint every year.
Rupert Murdoch calls it a “printing cathedral”. Roy Greenslade calls it the most amazing newspaper publishing factory he has since since he got into the business 45 years ago.
“Superlatives fail. It is the biggest, most efficient, least labour-intensive press plant in the world. It’s also unusually clean, eerily quiet – except, of course, inside press hall itself – and spookily devoid of human beings…. There were moments when I thought I had stepped into a science fiction movie set, especially when we were shown unmanned laser-guided vehicles that are designed for tasks once carried our by gangs of men.”
Stephen Glover asks in The Independent:
“Newspapers are dead or dying, we are told. Why, then, is Rupert Murdoch, the most successful media proprietor in the world, investing £650m in state-of-the-art presses to print the Sunday Times, Sun, Times and News of the World?
Enter Broxbourne here: Murdoch’s print heaven
Photograph: courtesy Roy Greenslade/ News International
It may turn out to be the biggest lemon in the publishing world especially if his ROI calculations are anything more than 5-10 years. With technologies like eInk and ePaper over the next hump of the technology horizon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_paper) that bit of flattened and starched cellulose varnished with text and served with morning coffee is on its death bed.