What is the future of the printed word? Is it dead? Will the new digital gadgets finally kill it off?
Lets take another viewpoint…That of the print media itself.
Will an iPod for Publishing Kill Printed Media?
With Apple’s iPad selling more than 300,000 on its launch in April 2010 and Amazon’s Kindle becoming mainstream, the e-reader market space is hotter than ever and poses a real threat to many print sectors The electronic displacement of print is undoubtedly shifting the competitor landscape. A challenging debate at Ipex 2010 will try to understand the opportunities and threats for printers.
Running on 20 and 24 May, Will an Ipod for publishing kill printed media? Will explore how electronic devices could affect print business models. It is one of a series of free expert panel debates at Ipex 2010 tackling some of the most critical issues facing the print industry today. Produced by world print authority, Pira International in association with Ipex, The Great Print Debates will bring together experts, thought leaders and high-profile industry representatives from 18-25 May 2010.
Playing down fears about the death of printed media, Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology and Great Debate chairperson explains “Neither an Ipub nor its Kindle or Nook manifestations will significantly affect all print volumes. They will affect some informational printed matter such as book, newspaper, and magazine volume. However, these products will continue to have a print base. The reason will be portability – you will not have to tote an electronic device everywhere you go. Print is disposable – and the batteries never run out.”
Pira Print Chief Consultant Neil Falconer also takes a positive view for print businesses but expresses frustration at missed opportunities “The digital media revolution provides printers with a life raft, unfortunately the majority are too busy drowning to realise it.”
One solution according to Pira Consultant and Great Debate chair Sean Smyth is for printers to anticipate new specifying and purchasing channels and get on board quickly. “Buyers will see print as non-key, part of a promotional or marketing spend. Expect new ways of specifying and purchasing, as a Google-App or direct from your I-Phone.”
“There’s no doubt that mainstream media is in trouble” is the more blunt view of PR and marketing commentator Stephen Waddington. “My parents will be the last generation that buys a daily newspaper. I occasionally buy a paper at the weekend when I have the time to read it but otherwise I use a variety of websites. My children will get their news exclusively from the web delivered through devices such as the Amazon Kindle or iPod.”
But Waddington believes this is a story of evolving business models rather than the death of print media per se. “By embracing the internet newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian have become truly international brands. Their challenge is monitising these new audiences.”
The Debates come at a critical time according to Smyth. “The industry is in an unprecedented period of change, exacerbated by the deep recession. Cash conservation is a short-term tactic, not a strategy to build a successful business. These debates provide an opportunity for industry players to put their heads above the parapet and think about how their businesses, and their careers, might progress satisfactorily under new conditions”.
Three other important questions will also be debated: What will the printer of the future look like?, More than ink on paper – how should printers be selling print? and Green print: is it worth it? With full audience participation and interaction, The Great Print Debates will take expert commentary, lively debate and audience interactivity to a completely new level at a major exhibition.
Audience participation and interaction using simple polling technology will allow real-time feedback and drive the questioning of the panel chair, pushing the experts out of their comfort zone. Looking forward to the Debates, Laurel Brunner of Digital Dots reminds the industry, “It’s all too easy to forget that understanding the important issues only comes with interaction and participation.”
Debate participants will take away an exclusive study with scenarios and forecasts to 2020. With input from a special panel of authoritative print and publishing experts from around the world, Print to 2020 will provide a unique global summary of the major challenges, threats and opportunities facing the global printing industry. Building upon the themes discussed at the Ipex/Pira forums, the study will offer an exclusive roadmap for how these issues are likely to develop over the next ten years. Print to 2020 is published by Pira International.