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Catalog and Publication Outlook : Finding the Right Mix

December 2012 By Julie Greenbaum, Associate Editor
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While there were some optimistic signs for the magazine and catalog sectors in 2012, many publishers and catalogers still faced rising postal costs, increased supply chain costs, finding the best path to multi-channel integration, and the reshaping of advertisers' mixes.

In 2012, magazine publishers saw a decline in newsstand and single-copy sales, with circulation trends for printed magazines down. But new launches outnumbered closures in both the consumer and business-to-business segments, and there was also an increase in advertising expenditures across many categories. Other good news this year was that page counts stabilized in most areas, while increasing in others. The forecast for ad spending for 2013 also appears to be optimistic.

Multichannel marketing continued to be the main focus for both publishers and catalogers in 2012, with the integration of print and electronic media being a key driver. As mobile technology such as smart phones and tablets gained more popularity, publishers continued to look for ways to monetize and incorporate them into their mix. The adoption of QR codes, pURLs and Augmented Reality applications also continued to grow.

To address clients' multichannel needs, Chicago-based RR Donnelley offers several solutions, such as Helium Content Source, which can provide editorial content; the DigiMag digital publishing solution that converts existing PDF files into dynamic, online publications; and LibreDigital, enabling books, magazines and other content to be formatted for e-reading devices.

Press+ was another tool that RR Donnelley introduced to help its publishing clients find the right approach for monetizing content through their online offerings. "Last year alone we formatted and helped distribute more than 1.5 million pages of unique magazine and newspaper pages for e-reading," notes Rick Marcoux, group president sales, at RR Donnelley, who foresees a continued drive to multi-channel communications and brand building next year.

2013 Top 5 Publication and Catalog Printers
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Earlier in 2012, Quad/Graphics, of Sussex, WI, introduced an Interactive Print Solutions app for publishers and catalogers that uses Augmented Reality, image recognition, Near Field Communication (NFC) and other techniques to provide a more engaging experience for readers. For example, NFC chips were placed into WIRED magazine that, with a tap of a smart phone, launches an interactive mobile experience. The company also helped Maxim magazine power its Maxim Motion app that allows readers to launch interactive video on their mobile devices.

 
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