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Pira Releases Publishing Industry Technology Forecast

May 31, 2011
LEATHERHEAD, UK—May 31, 2011—Computer technology to create, sort and deliver electronic content that will engage and prove useful for the recipient is among the most important trends for the publishing industry between now and 2020, according to a recent study by Pira International—“Print and Publishing Technology Forecast to 2020.”

According to Pira, electronic versions are not a panacea for publishers. The media removes physical production and distribution costs, together with the time involved, but the technology is being used to increase convenience for individuals. Many users have browsers that restrict pop-ups and spam filters, but they may also divert files and messages.

Smaller, more powerful mobile gadgets catch the public attention and there are armies of content providers broadening the range of applications for consumers. They represent a new and rapidly changing media challenge for publishers: how to supplement and earn revenue from these communication channels.


Telecom providers are not currently active in content provision in North America and Europe, but they are in many Asian countries. These companies provide the distribution method and are looking to add more value by selling content as well. This is a good opportunity for them to enter potential growth areas and many will choose to do so.

Pira predicts that telecom providers will compete with publishers to provide content electronically over the next few years. The available network bandwidth will grow and network traffic—an important revenue earner for telecom providers—will include electronic news, magazine articles and books. It is a natural step for telecoms firms to add publishing functions to their services.

Though sales figures for e-readers, tablets and other latest-generation consumer electronics products—led by the Kindle and iPad—have been impressive, there have been few viruses and malware aimed at smartphones and e-readers. It is likely that there will be in future and such concerns will impact the take-up of such devices, and have implications for increasing connectivity.

The e-reader market is likely to split into several distinct parts according to Pira, from the high-end color touchscreen with many other capabilities, through smartphones, down to cheap monochrome versions with simple controls to load and read titles. As the technology advances there will be cheaper, higher quality, lighter devices that will help reading and interactivity.


Apple has followed up on iTunes with its iBookstore, which yields a healthy margin for the company that it will fight hard to maintain and grow.


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