The reality: Most printers being acquired today were acquired for a reason. Many times the reason has been their inability to meet reinvestment requirements to sustain themselves technologically and/or meet shareholder expectations. Like many other industries, only the fittest will survive over the long haul.
PI: Speaking of technological survival, what effects of electronic media on the printing industry are of most interest to Brown?
Nitz: Everyone can agree that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when we think about the Internet and its impact on the printing industry. The expansion of the Internet, and the e-commerce that it will enable, will be the biggest business story for at least the first 10 to 15 years of the new millennium, if not longer. The Internet will impact the life of virtually everyone on the planet within that time span.
In the printing business, we cannot expect that it will be "business as usual" ever again. Although, I don't think print will disappear, I do expect the size of the industry to shrink.
More consolidation will be a natural outcome of this phenomenon. When all is said and done, our industry can still find itself healthy and thriving if it adapts and incorporates the use of the 'Net in its everyday business.
At Brown, the first use of the Internet has been to move content data to and from our publishers. In addition, we already are using the Internet to electronically link to our customers for everything from production instructions to paper reporting to distribution analysis.
Whether we will sell new work directly on the 'Net remains to be seen. Ours is a business built on relationships and trust between printer and publisher; this is still very important. Personal contact with customers is still a trademark of the way Brown Printing does business, and I expect that not to change.