Predictions for Printers: 2003-2040+

Here are the conclusions that Adobe Systems Inc.’s Principal Scientist Dov Issacs, and Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of Digital Printing Frank Romano, who more often than now have differing or opposing viewpoints, gave in the concluding session yesterday at the Seybold-Romano Future of Print Conference during the larger Seybold San Francisco 2003 Conference:

  • Romano thinks that weekly newspapers will survive better than dailies. He believes that weeklies feature more local content than do dailies, real local content that consumers can’t get from radio or TV and that most daily newspapers no longer report. Romano believes that daily newspapers can no longer compete with broadcast as the consumers’ first source of news and so will become more like magazines, featuring mostly news analysis and entertainment content.
  • Isaac is even more sanguine and that that daily newspapers will largely cease to exist as a major medium. He believes that the behavior of reading a newspapers has been declining during each human generation and will end within a generation, particularly since young people already no longer read them.
  • Romano noted that three quarters of the 62,000 new book titles published each year in the U.S. don’t sell and become remaindered and pulped. He believes that on-demand book printing technologies will revolutionize the book industry eliminate those costs.
  • Romano also believes that the post office will become primarily a delivery mechanism for promotional material. As traditional interpersonal or regular business mail continues to migrate to e-mail, the post office will by process of elimination be delivering mostly promotional mail. Because the U.S. Postal Service is a commercial organization, that will make it favor direct mail companies more and more.
  • Both Romano and Isaac predicted that printing packaging and labeling materials and printing brochures and promotional material will be the only certain growth areas for the print industry.
  • They predicted that the printing industry will see only 1% to 2% annual growth through 2040 and then begin to decline. That small growth isn’t sufficient to maintain the printing industry. This will cause mergers and consolidations and layoffs throughout that industry.
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