PUBLICATION PRINTING OUTLOOK --Challenging Issues
There's more to it than that, however, points out Dan Knotts, president of the magazine industry for R.R. Donnelley Print Solutions in Chicago. He says publishers also have been tightening the belt on editorial pages to achieve profits by adjusting ad/edit ratios. Run lengths are also being squeezed, Knotts adds, as publishers reduce their single-copy volumes in order to boost overall sell-through efficiency and purge their subscription lists of low-return subscribers.
In addition, the past year was marked by an increase in the number of titles that ceased publication. "We believe this trend will continue over the next 12 months as the prolonged effect of an economic downturn continues to force publishers to take a very close look at the financial health of all of their titles," Knotts says. The business climate also means publishers are launching fewer new titles than in prior years, he notes.
"We do not expect to see any significant growth in 2003," Knotts continues. "Our current projections are for a relatively flat market for the first half of 2003 with a more prominent recovery beginning in the second half of the year. Given that performance of the magazine industry is closely correlated to GDP and corporate profits, the timing of a sustained recovery of the overall business economy and the rise and fall of consumer confidence levels will ultimately determine the performance of the magazine industry."
In order to cope with the current market realities, publishers are looking to extract the most value possible from all of their business partners, including the printer community, the Donnelley exec says. "We believe that it is in the best interest of the industry to continue to find ways to drive down costs through standardization, process improvement, supply chain integration and new business solutions," the magazine exec says. "This belief is the fundamental driver of our magazine industry strategy at R.R. Donnelley."