Monday, June 19, 2006


Mags & Their Printers, a PDF Newspaper?, We Need a King!, and other stuff

Good article on magazines and their relationships with printers

UK's Guardian is "copying the content of its Web site,, every 15 minutes and pouring it into an eight- to 12-page PDF document to be downloaded and printed out... The company hopes the service will appeal to lunchtime and evening commuters who want a print-based update on the day's events."

Scoop! Newspaper website readers shop online! The catch is that they do it more than non-site users. It is kind of silly (coffee drinkers use cups! steak eaters use knives!) because all it does show is that one site has readers of a different behavioral characteristic than another site. Hmmmmm..... segmenting by behavior.... Well, at least they're out there standing up for their medium. There's a lot to be said for that, if you know what I mean.
...82 percent of newspaper “Power Users” – readers who use newspaper Web sites on an average day -- purchase products online, compared with only 55 percent of individuals who do not frequently use newspaper Web sites...

What a bad press release... that said, this is a printer selling magazine and catalog printing over the web.
Here's their site
But you can't tell who they are. There's not a single human's name on the site. I assume it's a print broker.

iLiad's e-book reader goes on sale in Europe next week!
Blog post:,
Company site:

Finally, I now know what will make the printing industry grow again. We need a king! Or at least that's why people are bullish about Thailand's printing business.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


"Consumers Move to Center Stage," Newspapers Just Can't Unwind, Digital Publishing, China, Importance of Lead Generation, A Real Convergence Nightmare

More comments from the American Advertising Federation meeting. From the article's quotes of a speech by
Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy:
"In the past, consumers were at the very end of the business process. Now, with the internet, the mobile phone and the ever-more-amazing array of new services, consumers have moved center stage," he said. "For our industry, they have become what you might call enlightened despots." … Agencies have to learn to answer to the greater awareness and greater volatility of the new consumer, Mr. Levy added. But he cautioned that the same technologies that empower consumers by giving them additional choices make reaching them with a mass approach more difficult, forcing more one-to-one marketing. "Not only will we have to deal with more and more consumers, but, perhaps paradoxically, we will also have to plan more and more individual highly targeted campaigns." … He didn't criticize print content but questioned the practice of charging consumers who want hard copies in an age when they can get free content on the web. "We all know traditional media are all losing ground in one way or another. But it would be just as ill-advised to completely dismiss traditional media -- waving them aside as obsolescent -- as it would be to ignore the fact communications will never be the same as they were," Mr. Levy said. "Having to pay to get access to information will be increasingly seen as an imposition, as it already is in the eyes of many young people."

Another newspaper story. Has a great sentence:
...these companies can't just shut down their printing presses and go Web-only by the end of the year, as their core reader base is still made up of people who read their print editions.
Yet another reminder that unwinding an old business while starting a new one is just hard to do, and often gobbles up more resources than doing either one, kind of a reverse synergy.

Publishers now embracing digital as a way of building their brands? Finally?

NY Times article claims "Digital Publishing Is Scrambling the Industry's Rules"

Union-inspired page about development of China's printing industry: "The Prospective Development of the Chinese Printing Industry in the Early Decades of 21st Century "

Why use print (and especially direct mail)? To generate sales leads. We already know from the Outsell, Inc. study that print still ranks higher than new media in lead generation in the minds of most marketing communitcators. This press release discusses a report about the effects of superior lead generation. Now guess what industry organization should get ahold of this idea..... and use it to promote print. More importantly, printers should grab this idea immediately and go to clients with sales lead generation ideas.

Another convergence nightmare!

Do you think this Microsoft employee is long for the world? Manager of the Vista program claims, in his blog, that MSFT's culture is responsible for constant Vista delays.;jsessionid=VFEIPPSTYHOWQQSNDLPCKH0CJUNN2JVN
I am so ready for Linux

This past week, aside from Word and Excel always crashing when I close them, there are some Excel files that cause the Excel2003 to crash right in the middle of working on them. Guess what: in StarOffice8 a/k/a OpenOffice 2.01, NOTHING CRASHES. I'm building a new computer with my son this summer, and my current one will become my Linux computer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


How to Make Digital Media More Effective, Brainstorming, Xerox' Big Revelation, and Other Good Stuff

American Advertising Federation report about digital media. Headline: "Advertising Leaders Question Corporate America's Ability to Maximize Effectiveness of Digital Media" Now wasn't it just last week we had another survey showing how print enhanced new media? Hello? Anyone listening?
press release
report (Word doc)

I never liked brainstorming sessions (maybe because I was an only child, and still am), and this Wall Street Journal article explains how useless these things can be

Xerox realizes what's in the document is what matters... one of those "duh!" moments, I'm sure. Xerox never really walked the walk about digital printing (dumbfounded faces when I would ask them, HP, Indigo and Xeikon [at the time], "explain how variable printing has helped you increase your sales" or "explain how switching to digital color printing from black & white has made your communications more effective.")... but Xerox seems to be more aware of those things now.

Good media mix implementation executive roundtable story

Moving worldwide is a problem for database marketers

NPES is running a seminar about selling into emerging markets. It's mainly for industry suppliers, but printers may find it of interest as well. It's being held on Friday, July 21 in Chicago.

Interview with Jeff Hayzlett, new CMO Kodak Graphics


Newspapers, the Digital Divide, E-Paper, the Print Council

Yet another newspapers are in trouble story

The "digital divide" is social, not demographic. A reminder that income data is easy to find and use but doesn't tell the whole story, and also why Apple "gets it" when others don't.

Words never to use in an ad

E-paper and newspaper market article

Al Ries has an article on the marketing strategy of small business... and why it's important... and the lessons that can be learned

Guess what! The Print Council has a new member, Cal Poly. I know, because I was e-mailed a Word file of the press release. When I went to Google News and searched for "print council" I got nothing. When I went to the Print Council site (and not the release was not there. Of course not. But I did go onto the Print Council site and read about Hasbro's first catalog, and the rise of direct mail, and.... wait... no I didn't... I should stop dreaming... We still lose $5000 for every $1 invested or donated into the Print Council efforts
When you go to the Print Council site, play this in the background
Do the Google News search yourself
(If it wasn't for, it would never show up on the Internet... which it finally did a day after I drafted the above; "The Print Council... information about ourselves for ourselves" must be the motto)

Thursday, June 08, 2006


OPA Report, ADBE/MSFT Continued, Time Magazine's Chief Says to Embrace Digital, Google's Spreadsheet

The Internet is the number one daytime media. I've seen the presentation of this Online Publishing Association report and I have to say that it is pretty amazing how much the Internet has gotten to be part of every day. This looks like a well-done study. Unlike other media use studies, where diaries are used, this one sent observers to watch what people did, which is far better. Another thing was interesting: Internet ad dollars still have a long way to go to catch up with the actual time people spend with media. The same thing can be said of radio! You can make the same exact case for spending more money on radio as the Internet folks are trying to make. The radio folks won't be all that successful at it, but the Internet folks will.
A key point in the study: the Internet enhances other media. Our lack of embrace of the Internet as a strategy to drive print is almost embarassing.

Adobe/Microsoft article from the Washington Post

Time magazine chief says magazines must embrace digital. Ummmmm... wasn't that why they merged with AOL?

Much has been made of Google having an online spreadsheet program. It's really quite basic and kind of a ho-hum idea. But when we go back to centralized computing (remember Sun's Scott McNealy saying "the network is the computer" about 10 years ago?) and we get more speed and reliability, maybe then this will make sense. For right now, it's a good place to store things until you get back to your own computer.
Want a free spreadsheet that really rivals Excel? Use OpenOffice.
Want a free online spreadsheet with real features that almost rivals Excel?
Both products include the ability to export to PDF.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Google-mart Economy, E-paper, Online Newspaper Ads, the ADBE/MSFT Kerfuffle

Blogger Michael Josefowicz of Manhattan's Parsons School of Design has a great deal of experience with print, especially digitally printing. His focus in this blog is how business communications is changing in what he refers to as the "Google-mart Economy."

Some e-paper news

Online newspaper advertising was up +35% in the first quarter to more than $600 million. Print advertising was $10.5 billion. Yeah, there's a big difference. Before anyone gets crazy about "see, printed newspapers are still thriving," it's important to remember that the real cash cow of newspapers, classified advertising is what's really been hit over the years. The huge margins newspapers got from that kind of advertising is hard to replace, and hurts the most when it disappears. And then, declining circulation adds a new dynamic. Also remember, that newspapers data are not adjusted for inflation. They're not keeping up. One of the reasons this industry was so beloved was because it grew with population and the economy. Whoops. Ain't no more.

WSJ commentary about Adobe and Microsoft's spat about inclusion of PDF-making in Office 2007. Adobe is now complaining to the European Commission, and seems to be one of many US companies who take competitive or negotiable issues to Europe for solution. Is this the business equivalent of "jury shopping" or "doctor shopping"?
I still think the DOJ complaint about Microsoft was extremely misguided. There was such a surge of outrage starting to brew against MSFT at the time that competitive operating systems were starting to get some interest. Remember IBM's OS/2 Warp product? It won many awards in its day and MSFT had a grand and well-executed PR strategy against it.
The decision to support OS/2 eventually led to to failure of Lotus' PC efforts, despite superior products at the time. Lotus Freelance was a leap forward in presentation software when it arrived on the market. Linux would have gotten far more investment if the market had its MSFT-outrage well-entrenched. But now, there is no outrage to springboard from.

Friday, June 02, 2006


April Printing Shipments Down -$107

Commercial printing shipments for April were down -$107 million compared to last year. The chart below shows the four-month performance of the industry since 2003 on a current dollar and inflation-adjusted basis.

The Commerce Department also made a major revision to this data series, and I will be writing about this in next Friday's column, but discussing it in today's PrintForecast Contrarian View for subscribers. They added $1.5 billion to last year's shipments, but it did not change what happened in the last quarter to any great degree. Ah, a billion here, a billion there....

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Do We Have Time for New Media? ... and Some Other Stuff

Internet advertising set a record, $3.9B, for the first quarter, up +38%

Nissan's VP says the auto industry isn't using enough new media. If I were him, I'd shut up and let my competitors make dumb mistakes :)

Time magazine is adjusting to the new media age. Gee, wasn't that why TIMEWarner got involved with AOL? They had the chance to lead... but they worked harder at defending the turf of the past. I hear so many companies say that they create their own futures, and they never do. They create the world of budgets, small incremental changes, and preserve their bonuses and incentives. This article was absolutely hilarious... and but would not have been if this was 2001, not 2006. So many franchises have passed Time that one wonders how important the magazine is anymore.

A poorly edited interview of me for Providence Business News about the recent e-paper project is at
When I say poorly edited, I mean it reads more like a transcript than an article. As far as editing goes, who am I to tell anyone about that, when this blog is.... well.... a blog! (Was that stream of consciousness or was it a puddle of consciousness?)

The WSJ has a good article about the misuse and misinterpretation of polling data

Do we really believe that Adobe will continue GoLive and Freehand after buying them from Macromedia? This article claims that Adobe is denying rumors about the products being cut. These kinds of things are unwinnable. Adobe wants to please its users, and does not want to force them to change, so these transition periods do take some time. If they say they're cutting the products, they seem like they're abandoning the remaining users. We all know that GoLive and Freehand will eventually be put out to pasture. We also know that at some point Dreamweaver will be rebuilt from the bottom-up at some time, and that Freehand will be de-marketed and not upgraded with the regularity or intensity that Illustrator is. As soon as I read this story, I remembered when a Microsoft tech support rep told me "don't worry... we'll always support Word for DOS."

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