Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Printing Profits (Ick!), the NYTimes and Other Stuff

Printing profits for Q4-2005 were just plain awful and were disappointing for the whole year. It's not like we didn't have any warning. Here we are an $88B industry and all we can muster is a bit over $3B in profits. This was the worst profit showing since 2001. And for the capacity utilization freaks out there, the r-squared for utilization and profits is only 35%. That's worse than flipping a coin. What's it tell us? We've gotten very busy producing unprofitable things. There'll be lots more about this in my Friday WTT column.

Popular investor and crazyman Jim Cramer writes in New York magazine that the NYT should make the bold move and go digital. The ranticle (rant + article) is quite interesting as he calls them to task on a variety of issues. There are two things about this that I find really funny in a refreshing kind of way. First, all those "newspapers are not dying" articles we've been seeing lately discuss the viability of the medium but not the financial viability of the companies that actually do the newsgathering and production. Without profits, those companies can't transform themselves without facing hard realities. The medium will survive, but the companies will not in their current forms. Secondly, he calls on the NYT to use the Internet to become a global newspaper. His rationale for moving boldly is this comment: "The whole contingent [referring to newspaper stocks] gets valued as a wasting asset, where the worth will be smaller each year, and the only real buyers are the other companies themselves." And this line: "Why not just jump it and become the international paper of record, rather than just a cumbersome local paper with some national brand? The Times could become, say, the No. 1 news source in China." Does anyone in the newspaper business think boldly, or do they just think about themselves? This strategy is not crazy; Advertising Age has made the switch from weekly print in its strategy to be a worldwide daily presence.

InfoUSA has announced ZipMailUSA. The service allows small businesses to use templates for direct mail or to upload their own templates and run direct mail campaigns. Two problems: 1) they issued the press release and the web site's not up; 2) it's only available to SalesGenie customers (their subscription sales lead service). So they really jumped the gun. The bulk of InfoUSA's mailing lists are from yellow pages compilations, which are filled with duplications and dead addresses, but in some cases these are the only lists you can buy. All that aside, don't you think this is the next natural step for what we now call "the VistaPrint" model? Lump in services like ConstantContact, the e-mail campaign management service and this, and what do you have? A low cost marketing machine that small businesses can use that bypasses the traditional printing business. Anyone think that Staples of someone else isn't looking at this concept? If they're not, they will.

UK's PrintWeek and Printing World have merged

And if you didn't hear, Computer Graphics World was sold by PennWell to... a printer!
Press release http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/4/prweb365887.htm (It was issued on April Fools Day... yeah, right, a printer buys a magazine... has to be a joke... but it's not... I missed working on the WhatTheyThink April Fools edition. Since it fell on a Saturday, there was none).
The printing company that bought it http://www.copprints.com/ So no one is confused, they also own other publications, so this is not just your typical printer by any means.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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

Get legal. Get OpenOffice.org