Aftenposten moves to page automation, adds e-edition

By Amalie Nash


Denver, Colorado, United States


Tore Nilssen, head of the 21-person print department at Aftenposten in Norway, said he sees his job as ensuring the print edition remains a high-quality — and efficiently run — product for as long as demand exists.

To achieve efficiency, the Schibsted-owned newspaper implemented page automation over the course of about a year. Aftenposten uses Aptoma’s Dr. Publish programme. Aptoma works with more than 200 publishers and reports its customers doubled productivity — or even more — if they integrated strategic end-to-end planning.

Nilssen said the old system was inefficient and reliant on manual InDesign work. Page automation has greatly streamlined that with dynamic templates, drag-and-drop ease, and less expertise required.

“You still have the possibility to add special work, but it’s much easier,” he said. “But we don’t need to make every page special in InDesign. We can get a lot of layout suggestions in the system.”

In fact, 98% of the newspaper is produced by automation, he said. Aftenposten’s newspaper ranges from 46-56 pages most weekdays and up to 80 on weekends.

Ninety-eight percent of Aftenposten is created by automation.
Ninety-eight percent of Aftenposten is created by automation.

Page automation also has allowed for a new benefit for subscribers. The newspaper was once two editions in print, but that was eliminated some time ago. By moving to print automation, they’ve been able to introduce an afternoon digital replica of the newspaper.

It’s smaller than the daily edition and filled with news that occurred throughout the day as a bonus edition for readers who prefer their news in an e-edition format.

Readership of the e-edition is up 35% in a year, Nilssen said. That translates into about 40,000 people interested in that curated news experience.

“This has been easy to do with automation,” Nilssen said.

His advice for other publishers interested in automation:

  • Limit detailed variations for the newspaper, including sections, colours, and other components.

  • Ensure the print desk sticks to the plan and doesn’t try to manually adjust every page. 

  • Focus on the possibilities, not the limitations of the system.

“Do you need to have this or is it just nice to have?” he said. “Keep it as simple as possible.”

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About Amalie Nash

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