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Turmoil in the Garden of Meredith - September 2015 M&A Activity

September 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Changes in Commercial Printing Employment by State

The chart shows the changes in the average number of employees per establishment in the US and large printing states. The average size of printing businesses in an area offers clues to the kinds of printing produced there and the history of the industry in that area.


A Strategic Approach to Print Workflow Automation

All printers should be thinking about “workflow automation” as a strategic initiative; produce more with less labor, less waste, in less time as a way to remain competitive. Time savings should be strategically invested in diversification, new skills acquisition, and cross-training.


TruTag Technologies Pushes Back Against the Pharma Fakers, One Tablet at a Time

A dust-sized anti-counterfeiting tag for medicine pills? Turns out the idea isn’t hard to swallow or digest.


Image Test Labs: New Sheriff in Town for Grading Press Performance

Three pairs of eyes that have seen it all in print measurement are looking straight at the acceptability of press output from machines of every type.


Cracked Rear View

We’re always trying to look at things—trends, technology, etc.—from a historical perspective. We try to compare new phenomena to older phenomena that we understand. That’s normal. History is cyclical, isn’t it?


Profit Leaders Take It All, Again (Premium Content)

The PIA Financial Ratios have been published for decades, and may be the most recognized of the association's publications. There are, of course, problems with all kinds of research gathering efforts, but the positives of the Ratios reports outweigh the negatives from a methodological standpoint.


Debt as a Percentage of GDP

Many people confuse debt and deficit when they see it as part of the Federal government's annual budget. Deficit is the annual shortfall between a government's spending and its revenues. Debt is the accumulation of all of the deficits and surpluses of the prior years in that government's history.


Updated Printing Industry Capacity Utilization Data – Not What Everyone Thinks It Is

Even in the industry's most profitable and growing years, the mantra “there's too much capacity in the industry” was always heard. It's been a misplaced and inaccurate portrayal of the business, yet it persists.


Mobile is at the Heart of the Customer Experience!

Mobile technology can interact with the consumer at the most contextually relevant time and location possible. Mobile can and will work when it is used properly. This article discusses the fundamentals of creating a true customer experience and explores how Target Stores created an effective mobile campaign for the 2014 holiday season.


As Publication Markets Decline, SAPPI Steps Up Its Profile in Packaging

Anyone who has ever picked up a glossy magazine probably has touched SAPPI publication paper. Now the company hopes to achieve the same kind of ubiquity with its packaging papers.


Successfully Building Storefronts…And Managing The Scope Creep (Premium Content)

One of the most common calls we get is from people frustrated about trying to build storefronts for their customers. The questions we get are often along these lines: “I’ve had this software for 6 months and we have only launched one store. Why is it taking so long?”; “Are my people qualified to build these storefronts?”; “I have no idea where to start, where should we start?”


The Cassavetes Project Opens at Canon Hollywood

In 1981, L.A. photographer Steve Reisch captured legendary director John Cassavetes and his stock company backstage as they rehearsed and performed an experimental series of plays. Unseen for 34 years, the images have been brought back to life thanks to a partnership between Reisch and Canon USA.


Four Key Trends Driving Flexible Packaging

The advantages of flexible films—economy, versatility, convenience, and bio-adaptability—will make flexible packaging one of the most opportune growth markets in packaging over the next several years.


Software’s Impact on the Future of Print

Print is a manufacturing process built on technology. As new technological developments emerge, the print industry grows in capability, productivity, and value. In the last twenty years, a boom in global innovation has coincided with new business models and brought print into the fold in a lot of newfound industries. Allan Brow, Kodak's Vice President Software Solutions Division shares his thought on the future of print in this article sponsored by Kodak.


The State of the Economy and Print (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe wonders why there isn't a little spring to the industry's step with 14 months of better sales levels. It could just be that printers a feeling a sense of relief as they wonder what's next. And then there's the economy. Second quarter GDP look great, but was really less filling. He scratches the economic surface and finds some skepticism inside. If he didn't, he wouldn't be Dr. Joe.


The Customer Experience (CX) Factor: It’s Time to Get in the Game! (Premium Content)

By improving the customer experience, businesses can drive value, reduce cost, and build a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Customers are seeking partners that deliver solutions beyond simple variable data, pURLs, and customized landing pages. The article explores how businesses can gain a competitive advantage by delivering an improved customer experience.


Wide-Format’s Expanded Presence at Graph Expo 2015

If it jets ink, it’s a hot technology, and while production inkjet got the bulk of the buzz at last week’s Graph Expo, wide-format and specialty printing continue to play a much larger role.


Wrapping Up Packaging at Graph Expo 2015

Those who came to the show in search of answers for packaging production should have had no trouble locating them in the vendor stands and specialty areas where packaging solutions were being featured.


Inkjet On Fire at Graph Expo 2015

Production inkjet held center stage at Graph Expo 2015, proving that has gone mainstream. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks at some of the announcements and the North American debuts for this game-changing technology.


Canada's Commercial Printing Shipments

Canada's commercial printing industry had a small rebound more than three years ago, before that of the US, and has been on a somewhat steady course since. In US dollars, however, Canada's gains market have been erased recently with the stronger dollar.


The Unclear Future of Transactional Printing and Mailing (Premium Content)

Although things are changing, traditional mailing and printing methods are still an important part of the ecosystem. Early predictions about the rapid adoption of electronic invoices and online payments have proven to be exaggerated. This article references recent InfoTrends research to explore how transactional printing and mailing is changing over time.


Five Steps to Wide Format Growth (Premium Content)

InfoTrends enumerates the keys to success in wide-format printing, from developing a strategy, to choosing equipment, to picking partnerships, to effectively training the sales staff.


Encouraging Compliance and Use of Your Print MIS System

One of the unexpected challenges of a Print MIS system can be lack of adoption, along with the lingering dependency of third party tools. These two factors take away from the data integrity of the system itself. Ease of use is the sure-fire way to build compliance, and will also remove the reliance on external tools.


How Graphic Measures International Cultivates Packaging’s “Best of the Best in the World”

Not every packaging printer has what it takes to pass muster with this performance-certifying organization. But, those that clear GMI’s high bar can claim elite status among packaging service suppliers.


Canon Comes to Town with Everything—Literally—It Makes and Does in Imaging

“Everything under one roof” took on a new and dazzling meaning as Canon made good on the promise at Canon Expo, its 100,000-square-foot technology showcase in New York City


Advertising Agency Revenues Up +40% Since Bottom of Recession (Premium Content)

Dr. Joe summarizes what he would say at Graph Expo 15 breakfast. Content creation is proving to be a big money maker for the ad agency business. Publishers are still having monetization problems which makes that whole “content is king” still questionable. Maybe it's because the real king is the marketplace of millions of content consumers.


Komori and Screen: Better Together

Today at the very first Graph Expo press conference, Komori and Screen shared some big news: Komori and Screen have entered into a strategic selling agreement that effectively joins the two companies’ sales organizations.. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was on the scene to bring WhatTheyThink members additional insight on the news.


Newspaper Publishers Enter the Eye of the Storm - August 2015 M&A Activity

August 2015 –Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring in the Printing, Packaging & Related Industries


Mobile First: Mobile Technology Is Changing Consumer Behaviors (Premium Content)

Mobile facilitates new thinking because its capabilities and tools enable marketers to transform why, when, where, and how audience members engage with their brands. This article explores how mobile technology is changing consumer behaviors and creating new opportunities for highly interactive engagement.


Profits Per Employee Increase

The nearly $15,000 profit per employee of 2000 may not be in the cards for the US commercial printing business any time soon, but it looks like this measure is headed to its second best performance since the end of the recession. Using the latest data for the second quarter of 2015, and adding the previous three quarters to create a full year, profits per employee seem to be headed to $7,700, a thousand dollars more than the level of 2014.


Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round—Or Not

The new UnSquaring the Wheel project from Chris Bondy, Wayne Peterson, and Dr. Joe Webb is a new methodology for transforming print businesses. And it is ideally suited for those looking to add wide-format printing.


New PANTONE EXTENDED GAMUT Coated Guide Offers ECG Standardization for the First Time Ever

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne presents details and insight relative to Pantone’s announcement today about its new Extended Color Gamut Coated guide – what is it and what does it mean for printing and packaging for designers and print providers.


Improvement in Industry Shipments, Profits Improvement Elusive

The 4-quarter moving total of inflation-adjusted US commercial printing shipments have been increasing, but unfortunately profits have not. Q2-2015 four-quarter shipments are up +2.3%, but profits are unfortunately down for the last four quarters -10.8%.


“The September of Canon”

This month, Canon will make a triple play for industry attention with events that illuminate how far it has come as a source of production solutions.


Ricoh Partners with Forbes Magazine at Marketing Rockstars Event

Nearly 2,000 marketers attended, up from about 1,350 last year, to hear 50 speakers from companies including Google, Starbucks, Adidas, Twitter and more. Ricoh was one of 100 exhibitors with a very busy booth that featured lots of information and examples of cross-media marketing solutions, featuring direct mail.


SEC’s Rule 30e-3 Said to Threaten Print Revenues and Employment

The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to modernize the way the investment industry reports on what it does. The plan could include freeing these companies from having to print and mail certain shareholder documents.


Stepping Up to the Data Challenge… What’s Your Role? (Part 2) (Premium Content)

Data offers businesses new opportunities to better understand their customers through a limitless number of sources, including purchasing behaviors, interactions, demographics, and history. Last week’s article discussed the challenges that marketers face in today’s data-driven world, and this one explores the strategies that Innovairre is pursuing to help clients effectively use data.


Latest Printing Shipments Reflect Rebound

July's inflation-adjusted US commercial printing shipments continued to outshine prior year shipment levels. This was the best July since 2008 on a current dollar basis and since 2010 on an inflation-adjusted basis. On average, monthly industry shipments have been about $200 million higher than the year before. They are also tracking closer to GDP growth rates, a feat the industry has not done for almost two decades.


Is Your Print Business Sales Focused or Production Focused?

A sales focus is external. A production focus is internal. A sales focused print business leader is constantly asking the question, “How does this activity/investment improve my customer’s experience or business?” A sales focused print leader escorts the external rate of change into the business at a rate that often makes their employees uncomfortable.


Recovery Indicators Mixed with Slight Downward Bias; Sluggish Economy Remains

Four of the six recovery indicators fell last month, but the non-manufacturing new orders indicator remained very strong. World markets had a rocky month, and the NASDAQ fell -7% since the last indicators.


US Commercial Printing Shipments Up for 14 Consecutive Months

US commercial printing shipments were nearly $7.04 billion in July, a $392 million increase (+4.9%) on a current dollar basis compared to 2014. This was the strongest July since 2008.


Packaging Production Will Have a High Profile at Graph Expo-CPP

Packaging professionals who haven’t yet decided whether to invest in a trip to the show still have time to give the idea the serious consideration it deserves.


Wide-Format: A Growing Presence at Graph Expo

As wide-format and specialty graphics play a larger role in the industry, they are also playing a larger role at general commercial printing shows like Graph Expo. Here is a preview of some things to look for at this year’s show.


Tsunami Coming: Prepare Now

You remember the effect the Internet had on your business from 1995 through today? It’s nothing compared to what’s coming your way now. That’s the basis of a new book that is a must-read for anyone who owns or manages a business. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Scott Stawski about Inflection Point: How the convergence of cloud, mobility, apps and data will shape the future of business.


Stepping Up to the Data Challenge… What’s Your Role? (Premium Content)

Corporations are increasingly relying on data to learn about customers, invest in new products and services, adjust sales and marketing activities, and assess new market opportunities. This article discusses the challenges that marketers face in today’s data-driven world.


Q2 GDP Revised Up, Bigger Rebound from Q1... But What's Ahead?

The first report of Q2-2015 real GDP was +2.3%, and now it's been raised to +3.7%, well ahead of forecaster expectations. On a longer-term year-to-year basis, the growth rate is +2.5%, still almost a full percentage point below post-WW2 average.

Longer term rate +2.5%. The effects of inventory increases is still a major factor in the growth, but there were other positives in the report implying that Q2 was broadly better than originally thought. There are concerns among professional forecasters that the inventory buildup will result in slower growth as those stockpiles are reduced. Considering that two thirds of the third quarter is almost complete, we know that international trade is being disrupted by currency and solvency issues in China and other countries. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta GDPNow estimates that third quarter GDP will be at +1.4%. Please also note a recent chart where we showed important key indicators that have yet to surpass their recession levels from Q4-2007.


Top 5 Web-to-Print Sales Demonstration Tips

A web-to-print demo is your chance to demonstrate how your print software technology solves the relevant challenges of a specific customer. The key words are “relevant challenges” and “specific customer”. Do your homework so your demonstration addresses what the customer actually cares about.


Is It a Package, or Is It a Warning Sign?

It’s impossible to take controversy out of certain kinds of products—or the packages they come in. More consumer-goods packaging is starting to feel the heat.


Canon on Color A Conversation with Canon Solutions America (Premium Content)

In an increasingly complex and demanding printing environment, color management is critical. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Canon Solutions America executives to learn more about how Canon is approaching this issue.


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