Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Printing Profits Down for Q4-2004, and other interesting stuff...

Based on Commerce Deparment data for Printing and Printing Services (NAILCS 323), Q4 profits before income taxes were 2.9% of revenues, down from 3.3% for Q4 of '03. Inflation-adjusted profits were $4.4 billion for the full year, up from $3.6 billion in 2003. I'll discuss this more in an upcoming column for on 4/29, but it seems that the slide in profits seen in Q3 just continued in Q4. This is at a time when sales are flat at best, so it seems there is no end to the decline in print prices. Look for more printers to shut their doors, I guess, and the pressure to consolidate just seems to grow more forceful every day. This profits data can't be good for the capital equipment companies that sell to the industry, that's for sure. Sometimes the best business strategy is to get out of your own way.

The Friday 4/15 column has my comments about magazine circulation that are worth noting. Total magazine circulation is basically flat for 15 years, and has not kept up with population growth. See the column at this Friday; if you don't subscribe, take advantage of the free 15 day trial, and you can have access to all of my columns from when I started in January 2003 to now.
NOTE: Unlike a lot of the "free trials" you see on the Internet, WTT really means it, and doesn't ask for credit cards up front. They actually trust their site visitors. :)

Speaking of WTT, my March 30th Economic Outlook Webinar is available for download as an MP3 (audio) with PDF (slides) at At the same location there are answers to questions that I was not able to get to during the audio session.

More interesting stuff..........

Staples continues to use print to build store traffic; now they're letting people copy their tax forms for free.

Staples of course focuses on small businesses, and now Yahoo is offering free services to small businesses
Here are links to three of the stories about it:

Sales to small businesses have been critical to quick printers, and I'm still disappointed that the franchises, especially, have let Staples and Yahoo steal their thunder. As best as I can tell from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, about 69,000 net new businesses per month are being formed, on average. For all these years small printers could have been the experts at advising small business about their communications. They could have been setting up web sites, handling e-mail campaigns, managing data bases, but there was more interest in printing business cards and not even acknowledging that the Internet was there. Is this the usual story of the printing industry printing all of the marketing materials for all of the other industries, yet can't do any marketing of its own?

On more weighty matters, the IMF published its world economic forecast
Here's the Associated Press story about it

Good story in CFO magazine about surviving in dying industries

... and also a disturbing story about financial printing (go to the page and scroll down to "A License to Print Money?")
This is the kind of stuff that helped kill Sorg, Pandick, and many others financial printing businesses that are now a distant memory. Whether or not these allegations of overcharging are true or that the charges are perfectly legitimate, they help increase the desire to require only digital submissions of financial filings, without printing at all. Ah yes, the industry shoots itself in the foot..... Executives like certainty and predictability, and definitely don't like the situation described in the article. When pricing seems random or uncontrollable, it only serves to annoy.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Get legal. Get