Is There A Future For The European Publication Printing Industry? A study of the European publishing markets and the effects of important techno-economical factors 2007-2010

Details

Document ID: 
70001
Author(s): 
Anders Bjurstedt
Year: 
2007
Pages: 
37

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Abstract

This paper deals with a survey of the European Publication Printing Industry - and it highlights the potential development of future markets and some of the techno-economical factors which are important to the industry. Previous research has indicated that the cost of producing signatures in either gravure or commercial web-offset have been reduced by 65-70% over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, it is believed that most of the economic benefit of lower costs has not remained within the printing industry, but has been transferred to the customers. It has been a buyers' market during the last decade. The extremely fast progress of digital technology since the middle of the 1990's has had a great impact on the publication printing industry, not only in gravure but in particular in web-offset. New and affordable software packages for editorial and image manipulation were quickly accepted, and within a short time the previous analogue technology was abandoned. These new techniques led to a dramatic change from the way in which the industry had previously worked, and the customer gained complete control of the work flow. The extremely fast progress of digital technology since the middle of the 1990's has had a great impact on the publication printing industry, not only in gravure but in particular in web-offset. New and affordable software packages for editorial and image manipulation were quickly accepted, and within a short time the previous analogue technology was abandoned. These new techniques led to a dramatic change from the way in which the industry had previously worked, and the customer gained complete control of the work flow. Since the autumn of 2006 until January 2007, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with top managers in the industry, both customers and suppliers to the industry. A scientific methodology has been used to evaluate the responses, and those have been discussed during extensive personal interviews. The investigation includes interviews not only with the leading managers from the customer to the industry, but also some of the most important suppliers - printing press manufacturers, paper and ink manufacturers, plate and cylinder processing equipment suppliers, and other important contributors to the printing process. This approach makes it possible for the author to explain some of the issues in greater detail and to give the reader a deeper understanding of the current and future European market situation. Are there new technologies to be seen in the near future which will have a strong impact on the structure of the industry? The findings indicate that those publication printers working in the segment of catalogue printing may find the market becoming increasingly difficult. Many of the major catalogue producers are changing their marketing focus from catalogue to E-commerce, which means that today's few but very thick products will probably be replaced by thinner but more frequent issues. The total volume of print will also be affected. Those printers working in the magazine market will also see major differences in the near future. Despite the fact that publishers are increasing the number of titles, the total volume is not expected to increase. The print runs will be more fragmented, and split editions aimed at targeted groups of readers will increase. This means a threat to very large gravure printers, because the newly installed superwide presses may not be sufficiently flexible. This paper shows that the changes in market conditions and product requirements have been dramatic in Europe during the last 20 years, and that further changes are about to take place.

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