Catalog and Publication Outlook — Making Every Page Count
STRAINS OF “Should old acquaintance be forgot” heard this New Year’s Eve will have added significance in the catalog and magazine printing market sector. The flurry of merger and acquisition activity that carried over into 2007 made several marquee names just a memory in this year’s lists of top printers. Then there are the developments on the paper and postal fronts that catalogers, publishers and printers wish they could forget.
In looking back on 2007 and ahead to 2008, there’s a risk of coming across unduly negative. Most of the noteworthy developments and trends do have a downbeat tone, but it’s more a matter of being realistic than fatalistic.
Publishers and catalogers have, for example, become accustomed to keeping cost control top of mind. On the plus side, the value of their printed products in the Internet age has been reaffirmed.
Even this latest round of big-name consolidations didn’t have such a negative connotation. These properties were sought after, not acquired in fire sales. They were such industry institutions, though, that the absence of their names leaves a void.
While still in the process of assimilating Banta Corp. and Perry Judd’s, this past summer RR Donnelley announced it was unifying all of its printing and related services offerings under that single brand—RR Donnelley. Thwarted in its efforts to acquire Banta, Cenveo Inc. was successful in its bid to acquire Cadmus Communications and assumed its place among the top publication printers.
There was good news on the postage front in that the U.S. Postal Service seems to finally have established a way forward that promises greater predictability in rate setting. For the mailing community at large, efforts to work through the fine points of delivery point validation (DPV) and the OneCode/Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) will carry over into 2008.
New rates and handling procedures for flats, including deployment of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) infrastructure, are the critical developments for the catalog and publication sectors.