Log In | Become a Member | Contact Us


Market Intelligence for Printing and Publishing

Connect on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Featured:     NEW: Inkjet Resources & Knowledge Base     Industrial Print Analysis     European Coverage     Conversations on Print Podcast

Dr. Joe Webb

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.

Recent Commentary & Analysis from Dr. Joe Webb

Displaying 1-24 of 1277 articles

Premium Content Print is a Baby, Not a Geezer: The Newness Crisis

Published July 24, 2017

What’s new? You should say “print,” because so many of the media decision-makers have not had noteworthy experiences with the medium. Selling what you know can actually be dangerous, because you need to know what your client and prospect know, first. Only then can you have a chance at relevance. Print is actually a baby, and reference to its glorious past diminishes the many new offerings and tactics that can involve printed materials and specialties in meeting the challenges and objectives of communicators.

 

Premium Content They Say It’s Great, But That’s Up for Debate

Published July 10, 2017

The economy is sluggish on the positive side, and it would be grand if commercial printing would be the same. Recent printing shipments trends are a concern as the industry continues to reshape itself in response to a dynamic communications marketplace that is seems to re-create itself daily. One Midwest printer lands a big contract for signage… but of the kind that a third wave of media change mandates.

 

Did You Know Interest Rates Have Been Falling?

Published July 6, 2017

The Fed has been so reticent about raising rates, and in the process, rates for the 10-year US Treasury actually were negative in February. No, that’s not market rates, that’s the 10-year rate less the year-to-year Consumer Price Index. Since that time, the rate calculated in this manner has moved up 80 basis points. The rate peaked in September 2015 and it’s been down since then. The Fed is having problems making the decision to raise rates, and often announced more rates in a future period but increasing rates at a slower pace. They have a target inflation rate of 2% (which means you lose about 25% of your savings over 10 years on a compounded basis). If you believe that the inflation rate is calculated in a manner that makes it seem lower than it actually is, then the Fed’s desire to see inflation at the 2% rate before they start pushing interest rates higher may be be difficult to reach or sustain. That means long term rates will stay artificially low (on purpose) for a longer period of time than most experts expect.

 

Dr. Joe Recommends: Technology Through 2050

Published July 6, 2017

The Economist has published a fascinating book, Megatech, edited by Daniel Franklin. Mr. Franklin gathered some of the world’s leading technologists and thinkers to describe the technologies in the labs and the trends that are already in play as they lead to 2050.

 

Premium Content Preference and Data and Prices, Oh My!

Published June 26, 2017

Prices tell us a lot about how media is changing and what’s ahead. It’s funny – the categories that are growing the most are the ones where prices are dropping. That’s strange. But media preference surveys can be misleading because they can assure media producers of the love of the marketplace, and divert their strategic attention to competitors impinging on that affection. What does Mary Meeker know? A trade association executive says she’s biased. That’s okay. Dr. Joe has different data.

 

Friend to the Industry Kip Smythe Has Died

Published June 12, 2017

Sadly, the industry lost one of its loyal behind-the-scenes advocates, Kip Smythe. His coordination of efforts involving industry research, statistics, standards, trade, and others, was appreciated by everyone who worked alongside him. Dr. Joe has a special remembrance.

 

Premium Content Recovery Indicators Move to Half Here, Half There; Shipments and Profits Fall, Concerns Raised

Published June 12, 2017

US commercial printing shipments and profits are in a pattern that suggests another re-set of media communications strategy is underway. The national employment data looked great on the outside, but were disturbing on the inside… again. The latest publishing revenues suggest that content’s kingship status is not what everyone thinks it is.

 

Dr. Joe Recommends: A Symphony of Content, A Perspective of Context

Published May 25, 2017

The Content Marketing Institute and Ion Interactive released their report about “The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content.” It has some very good insights into the use of media at each stage of the sales process.

 

Inflation-adjusted Shipments per Employee

Published May 25, 2017

The Commerce Department’s revisions to industry shipments show a much different picture of a key metric for the industry, sales per employee. The chart was created using 12-month moving totals of inflation-adjusted shipments and the 12 month moving average of total industry employment. The latest reading through March 2017 is $182.65 per employee, a meager +1.5% higher than it was at the end of 1992. It fell from a peak of $195.51 which was just before the burst of the housing bubble, the rise of social media platforms, tablets, and smartphones. The fall in this calculation has some interesting characteristics. Historically, large printing businesses focused on magazines, catalogs, and newspaper inserts, had sales per employee that were significantly higher than the industry averages, anywhere from 30% to 50% higher.

 

Premium Content Commerce Department Revisions Send 2015 and 2016 Shipments Down More than -4%

Published May 21, 2017

We love numbers, especially when they go in a direction we like. Accuracy of the information we use in decision-making should not be a matter of liking numbers, the numbers are what the numbers are. What happens when one set of numbers you relied on are revised on the basis of new and better information and describe a different scenario than before? Dr. Joe helps sort it out… we think.

 

Births and Deaths of Commercial Printing Establishments, 2010 to 2014

Published May 11, 2017

The Commerce Department tracks the number of business establishments by industry, and among he more interesting reports is the calculation of new and closed businesses. The data take a while to be released, and these new data about 2014 were recently made available. There’s a word of caution here. If someone was a corporation and decides to become a partnership or a proprietorship, that counts as one business closed and one business opened. And then there’s “poor man’s mergers” where two business owners decide to close their two businesses and open one new one. Same people, same equipment, no real change except to the tax authorities and government statisticians. The most important number is the net change of births less deaths. In the worst of the recession, the net number was 6% of establishments. For 2014, that had fallen to a little more than 2%.

 

Media is Constantly Changing, and It’s Not Always Clear How

Published May 11, 2017

Everyone knows that communications is a very dynamic marketplace, and even newer concepts like “content management” are not exempt from the forces of creative destruction.

 

Economy, Employment, Print, and Management Decisions

Published May 8, 2017

The economy is showing signs, but no one can figure out what kind of signs they are. GDP is down, employment is up. Apple confounds the analysts with a financial report worthy of corporate envy, but the analysts were not happy, and seem to blame Apple for the analysts bad guesses! And then there’s printing shipments: let’s change the subject… it seems many printers are doing just that by changing the process. Do policies in your company insulate you from the detection of market changes and opportunities? It’s not always denial, it’s procedure. That’s not a good thing.

 

Printing Industry Lags Other Manufacturers in Defined Management Processes

Published April 27, 2017

In what is not a surprise to many, the job shop operational structure of many printing businesses put the industry near the bottom of all manufacturing industries in terms of its management processes.

 

Dr. Joe Recommends: Consumer Trends and the Right Perspective about Economic Data

Published April 27, 2017

Consumers drive everything, and Crimson Hexagon’s new report derived from the monitoring of social media conversations provides insights into technology, health and fitness, transportation, and entertainment.

 

Importance of Hard Data: How Soft Data Can Mislead Decision-Makers

Published April 24, 2017

Every generation has a different perception of what the world is like. That difference may be appearing in surveys of consumer confidence and similar measures that businesspeople and economists have relied on. Hard data can be so cold, and those surveys added context and perspective with a view toward the future that historical data could not. Now it seems that “soft data” is softer than thought and may be misleading decision-makers about the marketplace.

 

The Fed’s Balance Sheet and the S&P 500

Published April 13, 2017

The financial markets were rattled a little bit by the recent minutes of the Fed meeting where they discussed the unwinding of their interventions and the ballooning of their balance sheet. The data are reflected in the St. Louis Fed Adjusted Monetary Base. The chart shows how the run-up in the S&P 500 stock index relates to the Fed’s quantitative easings

 

Dr. Joe Recommends: Restructuring of the Consumer Retail Market, Print Campaigns into Google Analytics

Published April 13, 2017

Dr. Joe Recommends: The Restructuring of the Consumer Retail Market. Eddy Hagen’s Blogpost about How to Get Print Campaigns into Google Analytics

 

Premium Content Something’s Happening and It Just Doesn’t Feel Right

Published April 10, 2017

Friday’s unemployment report of 4.5% showed a thriving, healthy labor market in an economy bursting with growth. Not so fast… the cross-currents of the economy are quite different depending where you are, especially in the suffering retail markets. Media technology changes are letting communicators switch from gas guzzlers to more finely tuned approaches that squeeze budgets but offer similar results. There are print businesses thriving in this chaos, and Dr. Joe explains why even they have to remain vigilant and proactive.

 

US Commercial Printing Shipments on a Per Capita Basis

Published March 30, 2017

Yes, that sounds boring, but the data have been made interesting by including details about the last forty years or so of industry history and technological change. We added some statistical forecasts from our models that take the data out to 2025. When we started this chart almost ten years ago, those outlying years were near zero. They’re not any more (whew!). The data are inflation adjusted and based on the population data and forecasts of the US Census Bureau. It’s interesting how there are periods of relative stability, a change, followed by another period of stability. Technological change has been a much bigger factor affecting consumption than general economic conditions.

 

Dr. Joe Recommends: Digital Advertising Contracts Traded on NASDAQ?

Published March 30, 2017

Yes, that headline is correct as explained in a recent article. It’s the New York Interactive Advertising Exchange. Its founders were interviewed recently and explained the business.

 

Premium Content Profits and Capex and Bears, Oh My!

Published March 26, 2017

Industry profits for 2016 were higher than 2015, but big printers were not riding high, they were writing down. Big used to mean big, but now small and medium are the rage as the changing nature of print demand makes the theme of short-run specialties for long-term profitability a big idea. And then there’s capital investment that makes all that possible. Its rebound continues in a manner that reflects a different industry. Is the post-election business enthusiasm a bubble about to burst? Dr. Joe explains.

 

Ad Agency and Publisher Revenues

Published March 23, 2017

Advertising agency revenues are having a slow rebound from their pullback in 2015. Publisher revenues are still having problems as ad pages and circulation are contracting. Clearly, agencies are finding other areas to garner revenues, especially in managing digital initiatives. Mobile communications are where their latest opportunities are, especially with website redesigns, creating the look and feel of content marketing for their clients, and assisting clients as they sort through the analytics that marketing automation offers.

 

Pew Surveys

Published March 23, 2017

It seems pretty clear that the last half of 2016 had a surge in activity for mobile communications.

 

Premium Content Economy Sending Conflicting Messages? Or Is It?

Published March 13, 2017

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” is the way the saying goes, and claiming some credit for a good job report on Friday was probably not wise. That old political rule of claiming credit for what happens on your watch though not caused by you has the underside of getting the blame for what you did not do. An important GDP forecast shows a very weak Q1, and the content creation businesses of advertising and design had declines in employment. Perhaps some weak economic conditions are what’s needed to get the Beltway’s priorities into the right order.

 

1  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Next View All

 

Become a Member

Join the thousands of printing executives who are already part of the WhatTheyThink Community.

Copyright © 2017 WhatTheyThink. All Rights Reserved