CATALOG & MAGAZINE PRINTING OUTLOOK -- Making Every Page Count
"Page counts, format and paper weight are things our customers look at on a regular basis, even without a rate case looming," the company exec notes. Some marginal catalogers may be forced to consider these types of cost-saving measures due to this latest postage increase, but if a customer is having success with a certain format and feel, chances are they will not make any major changes, he believes.
Catalogers are testing various formats to improve their bottom lines, but not necessarily through cost reductions, RR Donnelley's Zengo adds. Some may experiment with trim size to reduce paper and postal expenses, but others are looking at the improvements in business as rationale to enlarge their catalogs, he says.
For magazine publishers, ad/edit ratio requirements and ad positioning put practical constraints on page counts, and cost-per-thousand ad rates generally outweigh cost savings from circulation cuts, Marcoux says. "Publishers won't cut page counts, but they may consider lighter paper grades or a size change," he contends.
Costs on the Rise
Postage is just one of the rising costs that Banta's Deterding sees as collectively being the biggest challenge for printers in 2006. He adds ink, labor, fuel and paper to the list.
"It seems that costs are being stretched on all fronts," Deterding remarks. "We do everything we can to keep our costs low by developing and maintaining good relationships with our suppliers and constantly striving for improved productivity and efficiency."
Productivity and efficiency also are critical to meeting clients' demands in terms of cycle time, he adds. "The pace of the world continues to accelerate, and we need to respond by making it easier for our customers to do business with us."
RR Donnelley sees the same challenges on the costs front, with the exception of paper, according to its group presidents. Some good news for 2006 is that paper prices seem to have stabilized after several years of rising prices, they assert, while acknowledging that paper companies will also be facing rising energy and transportation costs.