Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Staples, Outsiders, Future of the Internet, Fuji Trying to Smell Nice, and More
I got an e-mail from ZipMailUSA, another reminder of how an outsider (data base provider InfoUSA) is driving a use of print for direct mail for small business owners.
What will it take, I still wonder, to wake the commercial printing business up. Is the only innovation coming from outsiders, unbound by tradition and trade practice, free of a myopic love for the print process, and able to view print and its workflow differently that those who are immersed in it?
The Pew Internet Survey has released the second report about the Future of the Internet
Read the release http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/131/press_release.asp
Get the report http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Future_of_Internet_2006.pdf
Fuji is becoming a holding company and will be selling... cosmetics? Sure will! Conglomerates have a long history of flat, but predictable, underperformance.
Can we quantify online effects of print like this article attempts to quantify the offline effects of search?
Monday, September 25, 2006
Offshore Package Printing, Steve Forbert?, Capt. Bo
While we're importing more, we're exporting more, and many of the imported goods are in bulk and not packaged until they get here. It's really dynamic. I've figured that about $4b worth of packaging is part of the imports. It's not all that big, because so much of our packaging is for food, and that's either fully prepared here or arrives in bulk here and then packaged. In some cases, the imports are ingredients, such as cocoa or spices or other things. So it shouldn't automatically be assumed that the products need packaging. Packaging grows at the rate of 1% annually because of population, and then anything on top of that is the result of other effects, such as changes in preferences or innovations (people forget that there was a time when there wasn't frozen food!). It's a fascinating market because the materials and the filling technologies are all changing so much. As the world becomes wealthier, especially in emerging/developing economies, packaging will be a constantly growing and interesting business. It's becoming less so in the U.S. because household wealth is already so high and population growth is limited. Europe's population growth will not be all that good, in fact it is basically negative. But everywhere else in the world will be just plain fascinating.
Speaking of offshore, WSJ has a sky is falling story about U.S. owing more money to offsore investors than it gets in return from its own offshore investments. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115915177853972817.html?mod=home_whats_news_us
Sorry, it doesn't make a difference. Interest rates (long-term bonds) are falling here and the returns overseas investors will get will decline. Interest rates are rising elsewhere. You can create dire situations depending on when you take the snapshot. Years ago I used to explain to my students that one of the worst things executives do is read the WSJ every day and decide based on what they just read to do something. There is quite the culture of "I believe the last thing I heard" among executives rather than building a preponderence of evidence. We see it the past few weeks: most economic data show very conflicting signs. Corporate profits are up; housing starts are down; inflation is high, commodities prices are falling. All data, every last bit of them, are historical, and those that often have reputations for being a way to predict marketplace conditions often give false signals. There are always times when executives have to act on the last thing they heard ("the building is on fire, sir"), but those should be rare. There are also too many times executives are indecisive, waiting for more and more data; by the time they have it, their opportunity has passed them by. Early '80s rocker Steve Forbert may have written it best, in a song that has absolutely nothing to do with business:
"I don't wanna see no fortune teller,
I'd rather do without prediction
I'll see it when it's all around me,
Hey, what's the hurry?"
Publishing guru Bob Sacks (known to his friends as "Capt. Bo" or "bosacks") has a an interesting article at Publishing Executive Magazine
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Webinar Goes Well, Fridays with Frank, BN-CVO Heats Up, Mag Circulation Doesn't, HP Spies on the Media, and Other Stuff
There are also prose answers to questions that we did get to during the call. This was one of the better webinars as far as I was concerned. Gosh, finally got it right on the 9th try :)
Thanks again to Kodak and WhatTheyThink
Now it can be told: Frank Romano is replacing me on Fridays at WTT, and I shift over to Mondays as previously announced.
Unintentionally funny line (if out of context) in the release, quoting Frank: "I have always gone where the industry goes." A joke about restrooms comes to mind.
Randy Davidson is quoted as "Our editorial mission from day one has been to have the best minds in the industry writing for our audience." Somehow, he must have slipped when he let me in.
Banta-Cenveo is heating up. Burton sent a rather nasty, belligerent letter, but by now it's almost an endearing quality which we have come to expect, and would be disappointed if we did not see, kind of like when the hiccups finally stop.
Banta says they got the letter http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060921/cgth044.html?.v=71
The Cenveo letter is absolutely hilarious, kind of like a Star Trek episode "you dare challenge my powers?" threat to the safety of the Enterprise. The $16 special dividend Kryponite isn't going to work against Burton. M&A mavens in the industry keep telling me the deal will happen and that Burton is just relentless in these matters. The fact that Banta's ownership is mainly institutions makes them relatively easy prey. It's easier to make a deal look good in Excel to people more concerned about which of the thousands of stocks they pick once they cash out of Banta. I haven't done work for Banta for years but I can only imagine that the prospects of selling are just frightening and hard to deal with. Cooler heads seem to be prevailing in their measured responses to date, however. It may go for $50-$52 I suspect, but I still think Banta has more surprises up their sleeve, and I would not be surprised if someone like Quad shows up with a bag of money, some phasers, and some proton torpedoes. And don't be surprised if the logistics division sneaks out on the shuttlecraft.
Magazine subscription volume is down, despite the rise in titles.
...over the last ten years, total industry subscription volume is down by 12 percent, even as the number of titles is growing, which indicates that new titles are taking circ away from existing titles. The industry is not creating new magazine buyers...
HP was spying on two CNet reporters, and even sending them false story leads! Good thing printing industry vendors don't have budgets big enough to hire investigators!
For years, media choices were mainly print and broadcast. Doesn't it seem strange that big newspaper publishers like The New York Times are now selling their broadcast properties and buying Internet properties? It would seem to me that they know broadcast is dying, and that ondemand news video over the Internet will be, in the long run, the broadcast model of the future. They most likely feel they've milked broadcast TV for all it's worth. The Times even got out of its co-branded cable channel with Discovery.
GDUSA stock image survey. Stock photography was one of the most exciting markets in the late 1990s with the activities of Getty Images and Corbis (a company that Bill Gates owns as a personal investment).
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Fridays No More! Print Will Not Die! (and I read about it on the Internet)
"Mondays with Dr. Joe" on WhatTheyThink.com starts on 9/25!
There will be a press release about changes in the WTT lineup very soon.
Now, instead of ruining people's weekends, I can ruin a whole work week!
Print will not die! At least that's what some new media experts say.
“Print can be a legitimate spinoff from the Web and can be customized for a particular audience and its subgroups,” said David Worlock, chief research fellow at Electronic Publishing Services, which is owned by Outsell. “Print will become much more specialized.”... “Everybody is scattered, and you have to do everything possible to get your audiences and advertisers.” ... “What works best online doesn’t work in print” and vice versa. “But don’t go crazy and just start to flip from one medium to another.”
The comments were at a panel run by Outsell. Inc.
The report on which much of their media comments are based are at http://www.outsellinc.com/subscribe/FutureFactsIndustryOutlook2007.htm
Womens Wear Daily reports that "the Annual Mendelsohn Affluent Survey claims wealthier Americans are reading more magazines more often than ever. " (on the linked page, scroll down toward the bottom-- the story goes onto the second page).
I'm kind of not surprised. Wealthier Americans tend to be older and more educated, and if we studied them, we'd find higher use of all print media, and will for some time. I don't know if the survey covered Internet use, but it would show higher than average, though probably not the highest daily use, but it would have the highest broadband penetration.
This e-marketing stuff is a lot harder than print. Ummmm..... all of print's images get to the recipient.
E-mail box providers are increasingly blocking HTML in their efforts to fight the transmission of viruses through e-mail: AOL, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft among them.There is some good news: 69% of e-mail users who have encountered image suppression said they at least sometimes activate images in statements or order forms from senders from whom they’ve bought, Epsilon’s survey determined. Also, 57% said they at least sometimes activate images in promotional e-mail from senders from whom they have bought, according to Epsilon.
Steve Duncan of the blog Lornitropia discusses the state of blogging in the printing industry
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
BN-CVO... Again!.... and Other Stuff
Reuters story http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2006-09-14T172415Z_01_BNG228992_RTRIDST_0_SERVICES-BANTA-UPDATE-2.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna
Veronis Suhler Stevenson has issued their latest forecast of the media business.
Overall communications spending is on pace to grow at an accelerated rate in 2006, driven by double-digit growth in alternative advertising and marketing strategies...Over the forecast period from 2005 to 2010, spending on media and communications will increase by more than $330 billion to $1.2 billion. In 2000 the industry spending total just over $700 billion...Internet and mobile services is one of the fastest growing segments of the media industry with a projected growth rate of 14.7 percent over the next five years, but according to new data compiled by VSS the fastest growth within internet and mobile services is coming from traditional media companies...Marketing services was the largest and fastest growing communications sector in 2005, growing 9.1 percent to $309.93 billion, and is expected to rise at a five-year CAGR of 8.0 percent to $455.72 billion in 2010, fueled by growth in direct response media, event marketing and custom publishing...Never have there been so many media options available to advertisers and consumers, a trend that has both excited and frustrated brand marketers as media buying decisions have become more complicated by a market veering toward new media.
Also reported in the Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/956196d8-41cb-11db-b4ab-0000779e2340.html
Case study about effective use of e-marketing... yet another glimpse about how communications efforts are evaluated.
Yahoo starts new classified service
Valassis has a free report on the effectiveness of newspaper inserts
PC World has its own article about the hard drive's 50th birthday
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Gosh, Where Do I Start? That's the Problem with Today's InfoBuffet
Dumb story in USA Today about how retailers manipulate their environment in the attempt to sell more.
I was so annoyed by it I sent in a letter to the editor suggesting that they do another hard hitting story about why milk is all the way in the back of the supermarket and not the front (to make us walk by the other stuff on the shelves, of course) or perhaps an expose about why people shower before they go on a date. Or perhaps why evil executives would decide 25+ years ago to use color in newspapers to divert our attention away from the other papers at the newsstand. If it's published, I'll link to it. But I doubt it will be.
Oh no! Oil price declines may hurt the oil industry!
(from Reuters South Africa... watch for stories from Canada soon because the western provinces have been booming because of the run-up in prices over the past couple of years)
Speaking of that, many commodities prices are falling, signaling good inflation news ahead, a slower economy, and problems for paper companies. But at least they sold that timberland for inflated prices, and got out at a good time. (this link is likely to die very soon, so access asap) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aAeXM0d.VU_E&refer=us
When I checked with some folks in the know, their scuttlebutt is that Steve Roach, their economist for this area, has called 'em wrong in the past, so most people on "the street" are not putting much stock in his claims. Most are viewing the pullback as temporary.
Forrester/American Business Media Powerpoint presentation about B2B media and how effective they are
B2B ad spending report
"Long Tail" interview in Folio
The New York Times is selling its broadcast properties
Well, so much for cross/integrated media... This is not a dumb move on its surface. They will be into streaming video, very soon, within 5 years.... literally, just watch. Baseball's mlb.com and mlb.tv are just the start of what will be almost exclusively on-demand TV in about 15-20 years. Think broadcast audiences have declined and will stop? Think again. They'll be plummeting more.
At the same time, the NYT seems to finally be getting a grip on reality: more people are getting their news online.
Postal service expects rate increase in May 2007. The following prediction will be absolutely correct: there will be many stories about how this will be devastating to mailers. It won't be, because they have alternatives. Cost and expected return drive the media mix. Strangely, as physical aspects of mail shrink in size, the share of postage as a cost per piece goes up. Expect reduced frequency of mailings, lower page counts, shifts to direct mail... but wait! These trends have been around for ten years!
Monday, September 11, 2006
What? Printing Billing Practices are Being Questioned? How Dare They!... and Yet More Stuff, Including 50-Year Old Hard Drives
WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115793345655058978.html?mod=hps_us_at_glance_markets Reuters http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2006-09-11T120144Z_01_N11142822_RTRIDST_0_FINANCIAL-PRINTERS.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna
Again, executives are shocked, shocked, I say, at how malleable print costs are... And that reminds me of...
An angry murmur starts among the crowd. People get up and begin to leave. Rick comes quickly up to Renault.
Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Renault: I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
The display of nerve leaves Rick at a loss. The croupier comes out of the gambling room and up to Renault.
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Renault: Oh. Thank you very much.
(Hear this famous scene from Casablanca at http://www.vincasa.com/gambling.wav)
I still remember a retired typographer who told me that his retirement was based almost exclusively on what he made from author's alterations. Yet another market that desktop publishing killed. Rats! You can't even make money on other people's mistakes and sloppiness any more!
Industry profits data came out today. I discuss that, and the dramatic changes in sales/employee data in the latest "Data-to-Go" package for $50. Profits went up a bit. Good news, but not enough good news. If only we could get author's alterations back again.
GM is seeking integrated/cross media campaigns
The invited guests to General Motors Corp.'s first Media Partner Summit include executives from Time Warner, Viacom, Universal, Walt Disney Co., Google, NBC Universal and Hearst Corp., who will meet with GM Chairman-CEO Rick Wagoner; Mark LaNeve, VP-vehicle sales, service and marketing; and Mike Jackson, VP-marketing. One goal of the three-and-a-half-hour meeting is to forge more cross-media deals and integrated, multiplatform marketing opportunities.
The hard drive is 50 years old! C-Net has a good story about it. I still remember what a good deal I got when I paid just $1000 for a 100MB drive. Now you can get 300GB for less than $100!
Will we still need hard drives? Samsung unveils chips that will support 64GB flash memory
Top Internet properties according to AdWeek
chart PDF http://www.mediaweek.com/mediaweek/images/pdf/%20WebSiteHotList.pdf
Good article by Mike Santoli in this week's Barron's about how the perception of risk has changed since 9/11/01
Economist Brian Wesbury writes about the post-9/11 economy's resilience
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Accenture, Dilbert, Media Spending, and more
Scott Adams nails it... this is what buying software is like, in the 9/4/06 Dilbert
AdAge reports on the recent TNS media spending data
Cell phone ads to be an $11B market!!
(but wait... aren't all new gadgets supposed to be an $11B five years from the time they are announced?)
Econospinning author Gene Epstein has set up www.econospinning.com to track reaction to his book.
I reviewed the book in my WTT column http://members.whattheythink.com/drjoewebb/drjoe157.cfm#2
Copywriter Arthur Schiff, inventor of the "Ginsu" knive and the great line "wait! there's more!" died last week. I guess there's no more, of Arthur, at least.
Washington Post story http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/01/AR2006090101777.html
This page has the Ginsu ad http://www.adpunch.org/entry/arthur-schiff-the-unseen-king-of-the-infomercials-dies-of-lung-cancer/
The real pioneer in copywriting was John Caples, who was #21 of the 100 most influential people in advertising (AdAge) http://adage.com/century/people021.html
Tomorrow is five years since 9/11 and I can't bear to watch anything about it. I lost my first boss, the big 6'7" 300 lb Tim O'Sullivan, who had recently retired but was doing a one day a week consulting gig with a pension fund in the WTC. That was his day, in more ways than one. He had a heart attack while descending the stairs in one of the towers. His family was lucky: they were able to recover his body. On this day, 9/10/01, I was on my way home from Print01, thankfully. The next morning I was at my desk, watching CNBC, and all of the events as they unfolded.
The year before, Annie and Dan were standing with me at the top of one of the towers (I've forgotten which had the observation deck), pointing to the various directions of Yonkers, where we grew up, Long Island, where we lived for 7 years, and New Jersey, and of course NY, harbor. That morning we had taken the tour of the Statue of Liberty, and were up in its crown. No one is allowed in the crown and that tight spiral staircase any more. It was a special day we'll always remember.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
College and E-Magazines, Local Internet, Proliferation, and other matters of high importance
It's a program using Zinio. But think of this: even though they claim it's a way of getting students to switch to print, you have to know that 1) college students are very mobile, and must have a disproportionate cost of address updating for college vs home address for those who reside on campus, and 2) college folks are of course e-savvy, and many colleges include laptops as part of the tuition, so there's a built in platform. This is not about converting to print. This is about adding circulation with a fraction of the cost of fulfillment.
Local Internet advertising has been a real laggard in the new media business. This Chicago Tribune article may indicate that things are starting to change.
Ad spending increasing
... but, it's in current terms. Deduct 3.5% for inflation and compare it to 3.3% real GDP growth and see if things are really growing. (They're not)
In the meantime, this new study says "online classifieds increase in popularity; category visitation surges 47 percent in the past year"
"Nobody Killed the Newspaper" according to this article, which is a good summary of the new media age.
Multichannel marketing at Xerox
The WSJ had a good editorial about "creative destruction" and recent problems at Ford, Intel, and a shuffling of management at Viacom
ASAP be sure to catch economist Alan Reynolds' column about the recent income data released by the Census bureau. It's the column of Sept. 7, and it's not permanently at this address. I'll try to find a permanent link later.
Consulting firm McKinsey has put a book up on their site about the issues in marketing today. It's called "Profiting from Proliferation."
An explosion of new customer segments, sales and service channels, media, and brands is challenging marketers to reinvent themselves so they can simultaneously prioritize opportunities in a more sophisticated way and increase the consistency and coordination of their marketing execution.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Sign Up Now for Free “Dr. Joe” Webinar Sponsored by Kodak on September 20
2007 Printing Industry Forecast
General Economic Forecast
Global Print Economy—Size and Direction
Two Views of Commercial Printing's Future
Promoting Print in the New Media World
Dr. Joe’s Fall Reading List
The recent uptick in commercial printing shipments will be reviewed and put into perspective. Printing industry profit trends will be updated in the context of capital investment. A question and answer session is part of the program; participants e-mail their questions during the webinar.
Click here to register and get log-in information
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
CVO-BN continues; Tower Records "Short Tail"; Ikea; Magavideos; Anne Mulcahey More Powerful than "The Oprah"
Tower Records has declared bankruptcy, a victim of "The Long Tail." They certainly had plenty of warning.
Ikea tests new catalog strategy... in China!! They'll be using booklets instead of the massive catalog. Good article.
Magazines looking to sell video ads
Anne Mulcahy is the 5th most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes. The only powerful woman I know is Mrs. Webb, and she's on the only list that matters to me. What I find so funny about Anne Mulcahy's place on this list is the fact that she's there in the first place. She was selected to run Xerox around the time Carly Fiorina was picked to run HP. If anyone had asked which one would survive five years later, all of the money would have been on CF. Xerox was as good as dead. Anne's task was far more difficult than Carly's. I knew something was different when I learned about her resistance to Xerox declaring bankruptcy, and gradually other stories that things were really changing there. My own experiences with Xerox over the years are confidential, but suffice it to say (as others have) it was a highly beaureaucratic organization will little desire to go into the marketplace and learn about it from the ground up. It was only good at selling to other large corporations. The company still has problems, of course; what company doesn't? But there has been a palpable cultural change, and there is certainly more good news to come, with many hard decisions ahead. But these decisions are no longer about saving the company, but actually about transition of old to new, and innovative ways to lead the marketplace.
Newspaper story http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060901/BUSINESS/609020303/1001
audio interview and other stuff http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/04/21/PM200604216.html
another bio http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/biography/M-R/Mulcahy-Anne-M-1952.html
The Digital Proof Forum has been cancelled.
Seems suspicious to me... claiming that vendors weren't ready. Is this a sign that digital proofing problems have been "solved" for practical daily use already? Certainly PDF is the digital proof in most circumstances, though few admit it.
Minimum wage article with good links
Monday, September 04, 2006
Newspapers, ADVO-Valassis, CVO-BN, E-Books, Spangooglish, WW2 Maps
Historical data http://www.naa.org/Trends-and-Numbers/Market-Databank/Industry-Statistics.aspx
The ADVO-Valassis soap opera continues.
ADVO says Valassis accusations are baseless http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2006-09-01T161008Z_01_N01467238_RTRIDST_0_MEDIA-ADVO-UPDATE-1.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna
ADVO says that Valassis is using its actions to negotiate a new deal http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8JS3N0G1.htm?sub=apn_home_up%26chan=db
In the meantime, there is no news about Cenveo-Banta. I've chatted with quite a few folks knowledgeable about printing business "deals," and they're convinced that Burton will pursue this quite aggressively. Don't be surprised if Banta is looking for a friendly offer from someone else (Quad comes to mind), or splits itself into two distinct businesses, one with the traditional printing business, and the other holding its logistics capabilities. The former would be sold, the latter kept by Banta shareholders.
Article about the iRex Iliad e-book that's quite well done
and an e-book from China!
I just got a message from a person that they are running a printing blog in Spanish http://www.blografico.com/
To see it in its Google translation use this link:
It looks pretty interesting. Of course, some of the translation from the Google process is Spangooglish, but the gist of things can be understood quite well.
Specialty print products are always interesting, and this item came to my attention. It's about the printing of maps in a format that could be smuggled to POWs during WW2. The maps were printed on scarves and lightweight papers.
Sure, hours after I post a rant about NY State paying for part of two companies press purchases, and what a bad idea it is, the Mises Institute posts an article about the entire process of business subsidization and how it undermines business in the long run.