Top Takeaways from “Digital Print: The Emerging Opportunity for Magazines & Catalogs”

Publishers have often spoken fondly of the potential of the “magazine of one” where all content and advertising is customized to readers’ interests. However, this concept has always been conceived in electronic formats.

Developments in digital printing technology (especially inkjet) combined with publishers’ rich audience data, are presenting new ways for publishers to develop print products that are as customizable as online experiences.

Speakers at Digital Print: The Emerging Opportunity Magazines & Catalogs explored how improvements in digital printing technology have raised the quality of digital printed pages while the price to print digital is declining.

For advertisers the value is clear: the ability to reach the right people with a high-impact print experience is especially enticing.

At the event, printers and equipment manufacturers presented case studies where they’ve worked with magazine and catalog publishers to develop targeted and personalized publications.

Keynote speaker Marco Boer of IT Strategies kicked off the evening with a look at trends in print publications from now until 2020. Looking at the numbers of magazine and catalog pages printed in North America is jaw dropping. Marco predicts that the total printed page volume for magazines and catalogs will fall by about 60% from 2007 to 2020. Yet, publication pages will still account for 35% of total page volume by 2020.

Digital printing remains a specialty in terms of page volume, just 1.3% of all pages printed by 2020. But as Boer put it, specialty doesn’t mean digital printing is inconsequential. That’s because digital printed pages present opportunities for publishers to capture new revenue and develop new products.

Overall, print has a fit in today’s digital world, says Boer. “That doesn’t mean it will come back to what it was, but industries are reexamining the role that it plays.”
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