PRIMIR, the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization, has announced the publication of its newest study "Impact of Electronic Technologies on Print."
Early in 2011, PRIMIR commissioned I.T. Strategies to investigate electronic communications technologies and provide insights into how and why the printing industry will be impacted by the ever-increasing array of communications solutions. Eight months later, after thousands of hours of interviews with technologists, industry experts, consumers and printers, I.T. Strategies delivered this significant study outlining the current and future effects of electronic technologies on each of the major print applications.
According to Marco Boer, Vice President, I.T. Strategies, and principal researcher on this study, "Contrary to popular belief, mostly fueled by media saturation, e-books, iPads and other similar devices aren't the root cause for the decline in page volume within the various print applications. Instead, the true major change-agent is a shift in business models." These transforming business models emerge from a business' desire to be more efficient, timely, and thrifty, yet at the same time addressing the communication needs and desires of customers. The study delves further into these evolving business models in the various print applications.
The Cloud was identified as the single-most important enabler of continuing growth of electronic communication technologies. I.T. Strategies conservatively estimated investment in Cloud computing at $20 billion in 2011 alone. This investment exceeded the entire R&D investment of the worldwide printing equipment and supplies manufacturing industry.
The study, which separately addresses impact, trends and volume shifts for 12 print applications, reveals that not all print applications will be impacted equally. And the same thing can be said about equipment and supplies in the print value chain. For example, plate volume will likely increase due to more frequent, shorter-run print jobs. In applications, publications that rely upon advertising revenue are far more vulnerable than books, surprisingly, in large part due to 'channel switching.'
There has been tremendous press coverage about electronic technologies and books; however, for the next three years the actual impact on page volumes will be smaller than one might expect—in part because there are many segments in book printing that will not be impacted for at least another five years.
With newspapers, in the future, the right combination of screen size, resolution, and battery life may encourage readers to migrate to electronic content because of their need for time sensitivity, plus the ability to interact with other readers and post comments.
According to the study, now and in the future, the benefits of electronic communication technologies outweigh and will continue to outweigh the disadvantages. Nonetheless, print will co-exist where instant availability is not the most important factor. One inherent advantage of print is that it is fixed and cannot be changed. This enables control over who has access to the content and this may ultimately be its major advantage.
The comprehensive 300-page research report, "Impact of Electronic Technologies on Print," identifies a number of implications—both threats and opportunities—for all participants in the print supply chain.
The results of the study will be revealed in a presentation by Mr. Boer on Wednesday, February 22 at the Vision 3 Summit in Marco Island, Florida. The full report is currently being circulated to all PRIMIR and NPES members. Eligible firms may join PRIMIR now and receive the study at no cost.