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PublishingXchange Conference New at On Demand 2011; Mobile and Cloud Hot Topics

Yesterday saw the conclusion of On Demand 2011, which also ran in conjunction with info360 (formerly AIIM) and a new conference, PublishingXchange, at the Washington D.C. convention center. Two key digital printing players, Xerox and Kodak, were absent. What's in store for next year when the show(s) move to New York's Javits Center in June of 2012?


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About Cary Sherburne

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

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By David L. Zwang on Mar 25, 2011


Thanks for the kudos and objectivity on the event. While I may be too close to the event, I believe that Questex is on the right track. The Publishing Xchange conference session reviews and buzz were very positive, and I think the content and presentations hit the target we were looking at. Now that we know we are on the right track, next year we will broaden and deepen the topic discussion.

While I can't necessarily speak to the show floor, I believe that if we align the expo with the conference we will have a great event next June in NYC.



By Andrew Tribute on Mar 25, 2011

I think Questex is facing the same problem as Seybold faced in the late 1990s. Seybold had built an amazing franchise in its Seybold Conferences and have transitioned this into major trade shows as a part of the world's leading conference that was well supported by the printing industry vendors. The conference however switched its themes away from print towards the evolving Internet, the DotCom revolution (or bubble), and the developing role of the designer. They also added the annual Steve Jobs and Bill Gates keynotes with free entry for all.

The print vendors soon realized that the audience attending the trade show was not one interested in printing industry developments and pulled their support for the event. One has to ask if Questex is going down the same approach with the development of the Publishing Xchange conference as a key part of the OnDemand franchise, and in doing so will they lose the support of their major exhibitors?


By David L. Zwang on Mar 25, 2011

That's a good point, but their current digital printing expo franchise was co-opted by GraphExpo/Print, since it is now mainstream. Additionally, the industry seems to be realigning again, and Print Service Providers, Marketers, and Publishers, are starting to have more issues and tools in common than not. So it gives Questex an opportunity to lead the charge again, as they did with On Demand 18 years ago, into this new era.

Even the historic print vendors, and printers, are starting to realize that, and expand their offerings to align to those new realities. This year was a transitional year, as Cary mentioned, with limited time (about 3 months) to engage new vendors, or alert existing vendors like HP of the changes in direction.

I view this year as an off Broadway rehearsal for the show to be produced in NYC next year... :-)


By Cary Sherburne on Mar 25, 2011

Will Questex release the names of vendors who have already re-upped for NYC 2012 and booth sizes they have committed to? If many have indeed already committed, naming them would take a lot of speculation out of the discussion. If they can't be named, perhaps it will still be a struggle next year.


By Jeffrey Stewart on Mar 25, 2011

It was clear that the crowd size is down and you cannot necessarily claim the economy. I agree with the Seybold analogy. It is time for OnDemand organizers to take the discussion to the next step.

The overall trend for OnDemand is not digital printing but digital delivery. Print is and always will be integral to communications but only in conjugation with other digital media. Tools and strategy for cross-media and pre-media production should be the center of the conversation. The Publishing Xchange part of the conference is on the right track. Now how does that extend to the floor show and vendor sponsorships?


By Gary Ampulski on Mar 25, 2011

As an attendee of many trade shows and conferences over the years, I have learned to appreciate how each seems to take on a unique personality. For many participants, the On Demand event provided a focus on industry trends, tools and technology. More than another other event in the US, the conference organizers made the most of the opportunity to provide much needed insight into the changes that are taking place in our industry and how participants can survive and thrive amongst those changes.

Like others, our industry has many segments and participants with varied interests. But basically there are two primary constituents to these events with different objectives: the exhibitors want to promote their brand, lots of floor traffic and qualified leads, while conference attendees want a forum to discuss their challenges and knowledge on how to better address business direction and opportunities. I hope that the organizers don't forget to ask both groups of participants what they want from the event as they go forward. Somehow I felt that this year's On Demand message was more of a "we'll tell you what you need" approach. But, unless you are cut from the Steve Jobs mold, that is a very risky proposition not to mention that loyalty of the Apple followers is no where near that of these participating in On Demand.

As this event works to establish what appears to be a new identity, its marketing has to be more directed toward what problem the conference is trying to solve and why this event will address the solution for the participants. Conference material has to be relevant and exhibitors have to play to the needs of potential attendees. This process was preached at this year's conference sessions but poorly demonstrated by the organizers in promoting and producing the event. The value of drinking your own "Kool-aid" was communicated in multiple sessions. We know the tools and the ability to execute a higher level of relevancy are available and combined with better execution it can result in a much greater return on everyone's investment. That has got to be the measure of success for this year and in the future.

On Demand 2012 in New York will depend on improved vision, communication and execution. All of this will be well served with better input from both sets of customers in shaping the experience.


By Rick Littrell on Mar 25, 2011

It's going to be tough to change perception, especially in a Drupa year. Vendors will be saving their $$$ for Drupa and Graph Expo. It may be too late to save On Demand. Hope not, but very possibly. Publishing Xchange was in the right direction, but is it too little, too late? Time will tell and time is not very forgiving.


By John Henry on Mar 25, 2011

Digital delivery is the thing, look at Podi that is the format. Your on the east coast clone what Podi is doing into your show floor and your winning (sorry had to)


By Thad McIlroy on Mar 28, 2011

Andy: You are forgetting the words of Chilon in the 6th century, BC, "De mortuis nil nisi bonum" -- usually translated as "Never speak ill of the dead." :-)


By Chuck Gehman on Mar 28, 2011

With some notable exceptions (Hi Cary!) the conference seemed to me like Dave Zwang got into a time machine, went back to Seybold 1995, picked up a bunch of the regular speakers of that era, and transported them to 2011 to present the same thing they talked about back then-- albeit with a few added buzzwords like "e-book".

I think the lack of turnout was because prospective attendees could not figure out who the target audience was for this content:

Publishers? The exhibit hall had nothing for publishers, and traditionally not a lot of publishers go to this event. I met a guy from Lulu, I guess they are a "publisher", but how many of their kind are there in the industry? He probably should have been speaking.

Printers? The Snow Leopard Video from NATGEO was exciting and fun, and fascinating from an academic perspective but a bit of a stretch for digital printers. Mac OSX Snow Leopard would have been better ;-)

Web2.0 Developers and Content Creators? If any of them had been there, they would have gone nuts because the content was so 101.

I live in NYC, but I am still very afraid that the prospects for the event next year at Javits, while a better location for "customers", are not good-- post drupa, post this year.

Something major will have to change for the conference and expo to move forward. And when I say change, I mean real change, not what we saw here.


By David L. Zwang on Mar 28, 2011

While some of the speakers may have been old, interestingly enough their expertise in dealing with business and workflow transformations is beneficial even today. In fact, many of the younger Web2.0 developers and content creators in attendance that I spoke with, were appreciative of the passing of lessons learned.

As for the messaging confusion leading up to the conference, I would agree that 3 months was not enough time to change perceptions of an 18 year old event. However, Print, Marketing and Publishing service providers have told me they are very interested in how they can transform themselves to meet the new requirements. So, with lots of good feedback from attendees of what we delivered, and the time necessary to handle messaging and a broader range of content creation, I think we will be prepared for a very successful NY event in 2012.

My goal is to deliver the content necessary to educate and inform the service providers how they can transform their businesses like award winning Mimeo has.


By Chuck Gehman on Mar 28, 2011

My comment was not about the age of the speakers Dave, don't forget-- I was there "way back then", too. It's about the content.

I have always believed it is necessary to provide new information whenever one speaks at an event. Up to date, relevant, targeted at the audience, that helps them solve the problems that they have.

This lack of new information is what made Seybold die-- the problems had been solved, and the "usual suspects" speaking were no longer speaking to the audience in attendance; the audience gets smaller, the exhibitors don't have anyone to sell to; it's a vicious cycle.

Anything I can do to help you figure this out, just give me call.


By Jeffrey Stewart on Mar 30, 2011

Unfortunately I asked myself several times, is there even one new piece of information? I agree with Chuck, that is critical.


By Thad McIlroy on Mar 31, 2011

@Jeffrey Stewart, @ Chuck Gehman

I don’t know what sessions you attended, but in my track we covered:

- Latest trends in digital periodicals, including how to cope with the coming multitude of platforms, and how to handle advertising workflows that include mobile.
- New strategies for outsourcing/offshoring production (and they were NEW).
- Digital typography for the Web (which was not even technologically possible a year ago)
- Best tools and strategies for publishing automation (with lots of current tips & tricks)

My speakers delivered plenty of new information: I've got pages of notes.

Yes, about half of my speakers had appeared at Seybold in the past, but we old dogs CAN learn new tricks. The young pups sometimes lack perspective.


By Charles Corr on Mar 31, 2011

A lesson learned from politics. In 2006, not a single Democrat on the hill lost an election. To grow you can't have "holes in your bucket."

The challenge for On Demand is that it must keep the print providers (and vendors) and add the publishers and new media types. The next era of POD (print or publishing) provides many opportunities for radical new ideas. The need for data and insight is similar to the early years of the event.

Meeting the needs of the PSP's is critical and it isn't like Expo has a great conference track.

With the right mix and messaging and support of vendors the event can work but some hard work needs to be done.


By Cary Sherburne on Mar 31, 2011

Charlie: Agreed, and some hard decisions need to be made. That being said, I vote for eliminating the show and taking the good work David Z has done to someone like ad:tech or some other venue that marketers and publishers frequent, getting the print community to actually go where their customers go rather than hanging around talking to each other. Harsh words. Maybe there is a compromise somewhere in between.



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