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Dec 1, 2009 12:00 AM
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Our survey respondents report an average of 104 employees.
26% run heatset web and sheetfed presses, but no coldset
23% run heatset, coldset and sheetfed
17.5% run coldset and sheetfed, but not heatset
17.5% run coldset only
5% run heatset only
9% do not run sheetfed presses (web only)
2% no reply
Web offset printers, the largest segment of the industry in terms of print volume and sales, are retrenching after a tough year. As the world economy declined, the U.S. print industry suffered along with it.
Almost 390 magazines closed in the first nine months of 2009 while just 259 new titles launched, according to Oxbridge Communications' Mediafinder.com, continuing last year's downward trend (525 magazines closed in 2008; 335 were launched). This year saw the end of print titles including Conde Nast's Gourmet, founded in 1941; Ziff Davis' PC Magazine; and Alpha Media's Blender, which survived less than 10 years. Magazine Publishers of America's Publishers Information Bureau reports total magazine ad pages declined 26.6% in the third quarter of 2009 vs. Q3 2008.
Postmaster General John Potter has said the USPS will not raise rates in 2010 for market dominant products (First-Class, Standard, periodicals and single-piece parcel post). But catalog mailers are still waiting for a special prospecting rate, which didn't materialize as hoped, this year. In Multichannel Merchant's (a sister magazine in the Penton Media fold) January 2009 article, “Get back to prospecting basics in 2009,” catalog consultant Todd Miller shared this tip: “Reduce the timeframe between the delivery of the initial catalog request and the subsequent mailing. Many companies … let months pass in between catalog mailings. Strike while the iron is hot. Get a second book in the mail within four to six weeks after the initial catalog request fulfillment.” We couldn't agree more.
While the industry is in the early stages of a turnaround (see http://napl.typepad.com), NAPL chief economist Andy Paparozzi stresses that structural changes in the industry will hold some printers back. New opportunities exist among the old challenges of price pressure, rising costs, shrinking inventories, and competition from the Internet and other channels. Going beyond the commodity business requires new strategies, equipment and skill sets. Savvy printers are partnering with their customers to add value through services such as content management, Web to print, multichannel output, and mailing and fulfillment.
AMERICAN PRINTER publishes this report annually for the web offset market, the largest print industry segment in terms of print and sales volume. The study is prepared in conjunction with the market-ing research department of parent company Penton Media (www.penton.com).
We would especially like to thank our sponsor, Goss Intl. (www.gossinternational.com).
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On average, web printers have run their presses 5.2 days per week in the past 12 months. Their 2010 predictions indicate a very modest increase (5.3 days).
Some web printers continue to suffer from overcapacity
What percentage of your total revenue is derived from ancillary services (anything except ink on paper)?
Paper prices fell approximately $100 per ton from April 2008 to April 2009 (see “Paper prices fall again,” Multichannel Merchant, www.multichannelmerchant.com). But as demand ticks upward, so do prices.
More than half of our survey respondents expect to see rising prices for both coated and uncoated papers in 2010. Additionally, 23% expect to see newsprint prices increase, and 14% expect a hike for supercalendered.
Web offset printers are concerned about competition from e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's nook.
|No, not at all||18%|
|Too early too tell||5%|
With automation reducing waste, makeready times and run-length thresholds, do you see opportunities to shift more work from sheetfed offset to web offset?
|More likely to shift from web to sheetfed||9%|
|No shift at all||32%|
|Some shift to web||42%|
|Significant shift to web||16%|
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Do you see any signs of economic recovery in your market?
|Too early to tell||40%|
One web printer reports: “Sales volume is still running behind last year, but the gap is narrowing slightly.”
With the introduction of web presses that print up to 96 magazine pages per impression, would you consider purchasing such a large-format press to increase efficiency and reduce labor?
|Only for specialty or niche applications
“Good for a long-run pub plant.”
|More than 2 hours||4%|
|More than 2 hours||0%|
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The Web Offset Assn. (WOA), a special interest group of Printing Industries of America, is accepting entries from printers around the world in the 2010 WOA Annual Print Awards Competition. The competition also is open, for free, to graphic arts students at the high school or college level. In addition to global recognition, winners will receive a complimentary registration to the Offset and Beyond Conference, May 17-19, 2010 in Baltimore, MD. The deadline for entries is January 29, 2010. See www.printing.org/printawards.
In 2009, many U.S. newspapers struggled to contend with weak advertising markets, declining readership, new media competition and other challenges. How has this impacted your business?
|Substantial negative impact||12%|
|Moderate negative impact||26%|
|Slight negative impact||25%|
|Slight positive impact||2%|
|Not applicable to my market/specialty||7%|
U.S. automotive, financial and real estate markets have undergone unprecedented transformations in 2009. How has this impacted your business?
|Substantial negative impact||19.5%|
|Moderate negative impact||28%|
|Slight negative impact||28%|
|Not applicable to my market/specialty||5%|
|Declining demand for printed products||51%|
|Increasing paper prices||33%|
|Limited capital for improvements||30%|
|Selecting new directions for future growth||28%|
|Rising postage costs||28%|
|Lack of skilled employees||26%|
|Rising energy costs||18%|
|Selecting new technologies||5%|
* “Rising healthcare costs.”
What is the best way to improve your production efficiency?
|Improve the front-end link from customer to prepress||23%|
|Improve planning and scheduling process||21%|
|Improve postpress operations||12%|
|Install new production equipment||10.5%|
|Obtain better data on plant productivity||10.5%|
|Advanced pressroom training||10.5%|
|Speed press makeready||7%|
Which print processes threaten web offset volume?
|Digital printing (toner, variable-data)||51%|
|High-speed inkjet presses||49%|
|Perfecting sheetfed presses||26.5%|
With shrinking runs, digital's variable data flexibility, and high-speed inkjet's sights set on books, transactional/transpromo and newspapers, web printers are concerned.
Page 5 of 7
Following PRINT 09, Shanghai Electric (Group) Corp. completed its investment, initiated in June 2009, to become the second largest shareholder of Goss Intl. (Bolingbrook, IL).
At the show, Goss introduced a new Ecochill enhancement for existing heatset dryers. It uses proven technologies from Goss Ecocool dryers to eliminate condensate on the chill rollers, preventing print defects such as smearing and ink picking, and allowing web presses to run at higher speeds. The enhancement eliminates the need for a smoke tunnel and is available as a retrofit on all Goss Ecotherm and Ecoweb dryers, as well as some dryers manufactured by other suppliers.
“The Twenty Tweetable Truths About Magazines,” from Magazine Publishers of America, shares facts that showcase magazine vitality in 140 characters or less. See www.magazine.org/research/twenty-tweetable-truths.aspx.
Our survey indicates room for improvement on the environmental front.
|None of the above||44%|
What percentage of your paper is FSC certified?
|Less than 5%||30%|
|More than 50%||4%|
What percentage of your paper is recycled?
|Less than 5%||28%|
|More than 50%||14%|
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Congratulations out to our web offset winners in the 2009 Environmental Excellence Awards: EarthColor, Williamson Printing and The John Roberts Co. See www.americanprinter.com/environment/excellence-awards.
According to a 2009 national poll by Roper Public Affairs on behalf of the Custom Publishing Council (www.custompublishingcouncil.com), print remains consumers' preferred medium for custom content.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents say they pick up and look through print custom publications.
Of these, 56% would rather receive a print version than an electronic one. Thirty-seven percent prefer receiving publications electronically.
Eighty-three percent of the CMOs responding to the Roper study in 2006 agreed that too many custom publications were “still thinking mainly about print rather than recognizing the potential for integrated marketing across platforms.” Eighty-nine percent would use custom media more if there were a good way to measure ROI.
Montreal-based Quebecor World officially emerged from U.S. and Canadian bankruptcy protection this summer as Worldcolor (not “Novink” as formerly planned). The company has owned the World Color brand since Quebecor Printing Inc.'s 1999 merger with Greenwich, CT-based World Color Press Inc. Quebecor rejected an acquisition offer from R.R. Donnelley during the bankruptcy proceedings. Worldcolor has approximately 20,000 employees working in approximately 90 printing and related facilities in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
|Mailing fewer pieces||61%|
|Reducing mailing frequency||46%|
|Reducing page counts||46%|
|Reducing paper basis weight||42%|
|Moving more print to electronic media (online)||35%|
|Changing trim sizes||32%|
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council (www.cmocouncil.org) and InfoPrint Solutions Co.'s (www.infoprint.com) latest study, “Why Relevance Drives Response and Relationships: Using the Power of Precision Marketing to Better Engage Customers,” shows consumers still value traditional mail.
Download the complimentary summary report of findings at www.precisionpromotion.org.
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|Develop sales in new markets||47%|
|Improve the cost of manufacturing||23%|
|Sell more to existing clients||11%|
|Specialize in a targeted market niche||7%|
|Better understand what types of jobs your company prints more profitably||5%|
|Add more non-print services||2%|
|Merge/acquire a new company||2%|
“Add more new customers.”
Bleeding edge or leading edge?
Web offset printers value continuous investment in new technology.
|1 = Not at all important||2%|
|5 = Extremely important||32%|
Where in the web offset production process do you expect to see key innovation or important progress in technology over the next five years?
|Hybrid press technology||19%|
|Digital soft proofing||12%|
Which do you plan to purchase in the next 12 months?
|Digital presses (toner-based, variable-data)||32%|
|Computerized management information systems||18%|
|Sheetfed offset presses||16%|
|Heatset web offset presses||14%|
|High-speed inkjet presses||11%|
|Digital soft proofing systems||9%|
|Four-color proofing systems||7%|
|Coldset/open web presses||5%|
|Hybrid web offset presses||0%|
|Other: “UV web presses”||7%|
How useful is integrated automation in your operation today?
|Not at all useful||9%|
|Don't know/no reply||17%|
How useful will an integrated and automated process be in 3 to 5 years?
|Not at all useful||4%|
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