Rumor has it…..

Yes the old rumor is spreading like a wild fire, once again. Word is that PRINT IS DEAD!

Many so-called experts are calling for the death of printing. These “experts” are saying that due to the wide spread use of technology, printing is no longer a main stream requirement.

Think about it for a moment.  Maybe the experts are right. When was the last time you used a phone book or got a phone bill in the mail? When did you last write a check for something? Does the IRS still send you that filing instructions booklet in the mail? Do you subscribe to home delivery of your local newspaper? (if there is even still one in existence). We are in an electronic age and there’s no going back. Do you file your taxes electronically? Do you get your most recent bank and credit card statements electronically or through the mail?  Do you read publications on-line? Think about the documents that you have used over the years and how technology has changed these documents.

Even the President of the United States is getting in on the PRINT IS DEAD mantra.  On June 13th  an Executive Order was issued that focuses on the President’s  goal of delivering an  efficient, effective, and accountable government, which included the announcement that the daily Federal Register will no longer be made available in printed form. In President Obama’s announcement, he equates the printing and mailing of the Federal Register as a stack of “expensive doorstops” and “stupid spending” that “doesn’t benefit anybody.” He was dismissing print as “pointless waste” that “no one reads.”

Just like most industries over the last several years, the printing industry has suffered from the effects of “The Great Recession”. Yes,  Black & White (aka, monochrome) volumes are down substantially.  According to a report published by Carlson & Company, heavy duty cut-sheet and continuous feed monochrome engine placements declined by a combined 27% . Additionally, many of the existing production monochrome engines  have been replaced with “light production” units.  As volumes decreases overcapacity becomes rampant, this in turn leads to fierce price competition for the remaining volume, driving down profits and in some cases driving companies out of business. Really? When was the last time you used a B&W monitor on a computer or watched a B&W television?

But with all this doom and gloom there is reason for hope.  Color volumes are growing substantially. North American digital color print volumes at the end of 2010 amounted to  46.1 billion pages, up 15% from 2009. Furthermore, color volume is expected to grow 59% by the year 2020.  What is left of the monochrome pages is projected to migrate to color. This volume growth of color pages  will be supported by another bright spot with adoption of variable data composition software, web-to-print software, and personalized URL software.  This is a big growth area, but will be limited to the printers who want to produce cross-media marketing campaigns.

Technology has forever changed the face of printing and it will continue to in the future. Conventional printing has gone from the days of film and light tables to computer to plate. We have transformed from the very basic analog copier to the most advanced of digital technologies of today with the major improvements coming in digital color and production ink jet products.

The successful printer of the future will be printing full color documents supported by an in-depth cross-media strategy. Yes, technology has evolved and is affecting the way we print and what we print, but dead, absolutely not! At least not in the world of color.


Categories: Sales

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