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July Print Buyer Pulse Index: Six Month Outlook Remains Very Cautious

Press release from the issuing company

July 24, 2002 - WhatTheyThink.com and CAP Ventures have released the monthly Print Buyer Pulse Index. The data is compiled each month from print buyers throughout the United States. The goal of the index is to provide real-time analysis of print demand directly from the end user. In July, just 29.7% of print customers expect print spending to increase over the next 6 months, the lowest percentage expecting an increase since January of this year. (This figure is slightly below June’s 31% which fell 14% from May.) There was also a slight increase in the percentage of print customers expecting print spending to decline over the next 6 months, the highest level in the last four months. In July, print customers’ outlook for their print spending over the next 6 months is to increase a modest 0.9% compared with the last 6 months. This level of increase is down from the 1.1% figure in June and down sharply from the robust 4.9% 6-month projected increase in May. Overall, the good news is that the percentage of customers purchasing print remains high and average monthly spending, while off from the peak in April, is still holding up. The bad news is that the 6-month outlook has declined for two consecutive months, and is at the lowest level of the year among the largest print customers (buyers spending over $1 million annually). These mixed signals mirror the overall US economy where GDP was up sharply in the first quarter (6.1%) yet the stock market was down to its lowest point since January 1998. The second consecutive drop in print customers’ 6-month outlook is a cause for growing concern and could reflect print customers anticipation that budgets will be slashed in the fourth quarter. However, should second quarter GDP rise and retail spending continue to remain steady, print spending will likely remain on a positive track as it has for most of 2002. Premium Access members at WhatTheyThink.com can view charts, graphs, demographics and complete comparisons with previous months. The complete results also include June actual spending and projected spending for July. The data can be accessed at www.whattheythink.com

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