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Posts Tagged ‘commercial printing’

September 2009 – Commercial printing shipments drop by 10.8% compared to September of last year. And it’s refreshing to read somebody stating that the printing industry has been in a paradigm shift for more than a decade before the current recession. It turns out that new media is pulling plenty of advertising dollars away from traditional advertising formats, e.g. printed marketing materials.

Today web technology that has taken a bite out of print is beginning to put the profitability back into commercial printing via print aggregation storefronts (PAS). This new technology comes just in time to match the dynamic changes that are occurring in the commercial printing industry in late 2009.

The following article provides some additional details:

“September commercial printing shipments were nearly $7.5 billion, down -10.8% compared to September of last year. September is the first of what are commercial printing’s biggest three-month period, with catalog, retail, and advertising printing boosted by the holiday shopping season,” said Dr. Webb, director of WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center. “There are many reasons for the change in print’s seasonality, but this one has been evolving for years, and can’t be attributed to recessionary forces, no matter how tempting that might be,” he noted. Shipments had not been below $8 billion in a September since 1994.

Forecasts of corporate advertising spending for the next few years indicate little change from current levels, but a massive re-allocation of the dollars in those spending plans. Traditional advertising formats have been giving way to public relations, social media, and many other media that have lower production cost, and often have greater reach.

Dr. Webb portrayed the commercial printing industry situation as follows: “The communications market is so dynamic, that the guidelines for media selection and deployment are being revised every day. We know that, in most cases, print can work alongside the newest communications media to make strategies more effective and efficient. It’s up to each printing business to join in this communications chaos with new ideas, compelling services, and creative approaches directed to individual client objectives. Printers must demonstrate their competence in new media by using these media in their own businesses.”

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It comes as no surprise that the printing industry, and it’s sister graphic arts industry, are both hurting during this nasty recession. And while there is no magic bullet to instantly pull these industries back into the black, there is some hope on the horizon with the latest developments in print aggregation models. Through economies of scale and advanced information systems that provide efficiencies in production, printing has an opportunity to become an even greater value and therefore attract more business that will get the economy rolling again.

The following is an excerpt from the article Commercial print industry feels headwinds

“ … the commercial print industry — which plays a major role in the region’s economy and intellectual fabric — is struggling to generate financial black ink. “This year probably challenged (us) more than any other,” said Francis McMahon, director of marketing for Hewlett-Packard Co.’s graphic solutions business.


Two major employers, Eastman Kodak Co. and Xerox, make billions of dollars annually from equipment sales and services to the printing industry. Rochester Institute of Technology arguably is the top school for printing technology in the nation. But the graphic arts economy, like so many other industries globally, has been hard hit by the recession.


Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group for the first half of the year had sales of $1.3 billion, down about 25 percent from the first six months of last year. On the bottom line, a $12 million profit turned into an $88 million loss. Xerox’s first-half production business revenue fell $500 million to $2.1 billion.”

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