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Monday's Non-Manufacturing Report Is Reassuring... and Other Items

If Thursday&

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: November 5, 2007

If Thursday's ISM Manufacturing report was worrisome, as I mentioned in my column on Monday, the ISM Non-Manufacturing report was reassuring. The only negative in the report was the decline in order backlog. On whole, it was a good report, and combined with the Manufacturing report shows a slowing economy, but one that is not tanking.

That said, the concerns about inflation still remain with us, and the ISM reports would not pick up any of those effects for quite some time. 

In some other news, newspaper circulation took another whack today, with a report about declining circulation among some of the biggest papers. Even Sunday circulation has suffered a decline of 3.5%, which is bad news for our commercial printers who specialize in newspaper inserts. The Wall Street Journal Online has reached one million paid subscribers

Conde Nast announced that House & Garden would cease publication, and close its web site.

In a move that seems creepily like the RIAA going after teenagers, there is a new way for publishers to track use of their content. I can understand much of the issue... but this was the argument against Google News at one point. We'll see how this works out. It might be so transparent that it's not an issue to comply and administer. Time will tell. Digital rights management failed for music.

Apple has been really hard on people who hack into the iPhone because they lose $18 a month, it is claimed, if users connect with a service other than AT&T. I still think it's funny because Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak got their start selling "blue boxes" which allowed people to bypass phone billing systems.

There was a neat blog posting about comments by the head of the Associated Press about new and old media. The key comment was "The irony of the disrupted news economy of the 21st century is that the news is hot, but the news business is not. Old media companies the world over are bemoaning their lost audiences and sinking revenues."

It's also worth reading something I will cite in next week's column about the brain drain from traditional media companies.

Last week I was at Printing Industies of New England's Annual Gala to accept an award on behalf of Randy Davidson of WhatTheyThink for being the influencer of the year. I was honored to do so, and was quite pleased with the generous hospitality of PINE in the process. Thank you again.

On Wednesday I will be at Margie Dana's Print Buyers International Conference, speaking in the afternoon, and then onstage with Frank Romano for a "Clash of the Titans" which should be great fun.

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.



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