Dan Knotts

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor Consumer spending was the only positive note on the economic front for some time, but that doesn't mean the numbers still couldn't stand some improvement. Now that the recovery has broadened to include business spending as it continues to gain steam, catalog printers have reason to be more upbeat about business prospects going into 2004, thanks to the trickle-down benefits of all this spending. "Positive economic trends bode well for the catalog industry in 2004," agrees Dan Knotts, president of Magazine, Catalog and Retail Industries at RR Donnelley. "As consumer confidence builds, catalogers will see growth again—albeit at

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor Looking back, 2003 has shaped up much the same as 2002 for magazine publishers and publication printers. Both are still holding out hope for a rebound in advertising spending but, at the same time, are wary of to what extent the competitive standing of magazines has permanently changed. Consider one measure of industry activity: the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) index of consumer magazine ad pages. Through October, advertising revenue was up 8.7 percent, but ad pages were down 0.2 percent compared to the same period in 2002. The comprehensive numbers only tell part of the story, since the

BY MARK SMITH There may not be a one-for-one correlation between the business outlook for publishers and the fortunes of publication printers, but the link is obvious. Also, the tough business environment has marketing gurus and industry executives evangelizing the need for printers of all types to "really get to know their customers" in order to succeed. On the whole, it has been a mixed year for the magazine publishing segment. According to Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) data through September, advertising revenues in 2002 have been running 1.5 percent above 2001 totals. Unfortunately, especially for publication printers, the year-to-date ad pages total was

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