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TWGA Reports Forecasts Printing Business to be Steady for Next Year

Press release from the issuing company

NEW YORK -- December 2, 2004 -- TrendWatch Graphic Arts today released its annual forecast report for the commercial printing marketplace. In the report, TWGA indicates that expectations from within the graphic arts community are strong that 2005 will be a good year for commercial printers. According to the report, 90% of respondents expect 2005 to be as good as or better than 2004. Accordingly, this optimism is expected to translate to increased sales of printing presses. The report cited planned investment in six-color sheetfed offset presses to jump 6% (up from 3% to 9%), and direct-to-press (i.e. QM-DI) offerings to rise to 4% (from 2% last year). Demand for heatset presses is also expected to rise from 1 to 3%. The report, "Printing Forecast 2005: The TrendWatch Graphic Arts Perspective on the Challenges and Opportunities for Printing Firms in the Next 12 Months and Beyond," is available for online purchase at the TWGA eStore in PDF format (http://www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com). Researcher's Comments... "As business has improved, printers have been increasingly realizing 'adding printing capabilities' as a sales opportunity-both in terms of adding additional presses to handle more work and in printing capabilities they don't already possess," notes the TWGA Analyst Report. "As a result, planned investment in smaller items is down almost universally as printers investigate the notion of buying big-ticket items. As they get swept up in the euphoria of increased work, they are turning away from "value-added services" that they have been pursuing during the downtimes. This may be a mistake; there is an increasing emphasis from all corners of the culture on non-print media which will have profound long-term consequences for the printing industry. Quick printers have become one of the healthiest of the printing markets and it happened largely by embracing "value-added services," as well as new technologies such as digital printing, color copying, and non-print services such as cross-media services. This is no easy feat when you consider that their competition is not just from other quick printers, but also from places such as Staples, The UPS Store, and other retail stores who never would have been considered print providers in the past." According to the Report... -- QUICK PRINTERS: Quick printers are most likely to value "making Web site more interactive" as an opportunity (37%, up from 26%). They are also more likely to consider "broadening digital color variable printing jobs" as an opportunity (34%, up from 22%); -- CREATIVE CONCERNS: "Understanding where our business should go in the future" is the #2 challenge for creative firms and at 66% is the highest this challenge has ever charted; -- NETWORKING: 20% of all print and prepress firms consider "building a networked, digital infrastructure" as a business challenge-and this challenge is on a definite upward swing; -- VARIABLE WORK: About 13% of all print and prepress firms have worked on targeted print jobs that incorporate "variable-image, variable-text" information. Interestingly, printers say they work on the archetypal "variable-data printing" job much less often than do design and production firms. -- PUBLISHER CHALLENGES: Two of the critical concerns for publishers are "paper prices" (at 69%, the highest this challenge has ever charted) and "printing costs" (at 63%, also the highest point for this challenge). These challenges are driving a lot of interest in non-print media on the part of publishers. Availability... The TrendWatch Graphic Arts "Printing Forecast 2005: The TrendWatch Graphic Arts Perspective on the Challenges and Opportunities for Printing Firms in the Next 12 Months and Beyond," report is available for purchase by visiting the secure TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore online at www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com or by phone at 866-873-6310. The price for the 143-page report is $995. TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore customers can download this report in PDF Acrobat format immediately after purchase.

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