PRESSPOINT HAD LITTLE NOTICE OF FUNDING WITHDRAWAL

By: Jim Rosenberg

When Warburg Pincus Backed Out, Other Investors Followed





Just days after the start of the 2000 Olympics – PressPoint’s long-awaited showcase – the company was forced to pull the plug on its on-demand newspaper service.



Selling ads for and arranging printing of dozens of “Global Editions” of the world’s business, national, and metro dailies, PressPoint had “very little notice” that it would receive no further funding, said PressPoint Executive Vice President Stephen Langan.



“It came as quite a shock to everyone,” said Langan, adding that the company had just begun the process of securing its third round of funding. But other backers got nervous, he said, “when Warburg backed out.”



That’s Warburg Pincus Equity Partners, which last winter made a “sizable investment” in PressPoint and last week had no comment on it decision to end its backing.



Langan said PressPoint will seek funding elsewhere, the staff was paid through this week, and operations in Sydney had been scaled back.



Langan cited “tremendous support from our publishing partners.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution Publisher Roger Kintzel called PressPoint “faithful and dependable folks to deal with.”



Spun off of Israeli prepress systems developer Scitex Corp., the enterprise undertook a pilot project at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to prove it could remotely produce same-day editions of overseas papers. By 1998 it was a business run by former New York Times Co. executives.



Digital page files made up for the Global Editions’ 11″x17″ format were forwarded to PressPoint, then relayed to designated markets for output on high-quality sheets with full-page ads preprinted on one side.



PressPoint did prove the technical viability of distribute-then-print publishing: moving pages electronically to print shops that produced only the needed number of copies on toner-based digital printers rather than on huge, costly ink-based presses.



By summer, PressPoint was sending 40 editions to 14 sites that printed more than 6,500 copies for at least 20 world markets – a feat not economically feasible for conventional newspaper presses.



Competitors arrived in the spring: NewspaperDirect selling in hotels and on cruise ships; PEPC in self-service kiosks.





Jim Rosenberg (tech@editorandpublisher.com) is a senior editor covering newspaper technology for E&P.



Related stories:



PRESSPOINT TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS (09/19/00)



PRESSPOINT MAKES OLYMPIC BID (08/21/00)



PRESSPOINT ADDS EDITIONS, PRINT SITE (03/13/00)



BOOKSELLER TO OFFER ‘INSTANT NEWSPAPERS’ (12/07/99)





Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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