CATALOG & MAGAZINE PRINTING OUTLOOK -- Making Every Page Count
Postal reform is also on the publishing industry's must-do list, Kilger continues, along with creating new products for a "screen-based" culture. "We are producers of branded content who have mastered one platform and now have the opportunity to transition to others," he says.
Nina Link, president and CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America (the event's sponsor), followed up by noting the association has undertaken an effort to "tackle an issue that costs us over $1 billion a year—the shredding of 65 percent of all issues sent to newsstands."
While cutting newsstand waste is a negative for publication printers, not supporting such efforts poses a bigger threat to their long-term survival. RFID (radio frequency identification) is one of the mechanisms being investigated to address both issues—waste and readership measurement.
Postal rates are a key challenge for the catalog and magazine sectors alike, assert the RR Donnelley group presidents. In response, the printer has invested in co-mailing, co-palletizing and bindery capabilities across the organization to reduce clients distribution costs.
The company execs see January's 5.4 percent increase as relatively good news for mailers, in comparison to what was originally expected. While mailers likely will still look to take out costs as a result of this increase, they don't see the impact as being "significant." The strong possibility that the U.S. Postal Service will propose another rate increase in 2007 means RR Donnelley will continue to actively push for postal reform legislation, however.
Arandell's Treis agrees that techniques such as co-mailing, co-palletizing and drop shipping are important tools to help customers keep postage bills down. "Co-mailing, both in-line and off-line, will most likely become the norm and will be expected by catalogers and publishers looking to take advantage of postage discounts," he says.
Even though catalogers historically have significantly reduced the number of pieces they mail when there is a postage increase, Arandell hasn't been hearing much talk of cuts this time, according to Treis. He attributes this to the longer time span between increases and the relatively small rise in rates.