In the printing world, the current elephant in the room is the question of whether the acquisition of World Color Press by Quad/Graphics, two printers with vastly different cultures, will get final approval.
“The midsize printers appear to be vanishing,” Lufkin said, noting that RR Donnelley & Sons Co. and Brown Printing Co. will likely pick up some clients if the merger takes place because some buyers have by policy two printers and will need to redirect some of their business if it is currently split between Quad/Graphics and World Color Press.
“We hear about mergers and acquisitions, and our theory is that the manufacturing industry will continue to right-size in a similar way that the paper industry has over the last few years,” Blanchard said. He added that he sees printing becoming a service “purchased through brokers, representing capabilities suitable for the changing nature of products and manufacturing,” he said.
And while he believes plenty of magazine closures will yet occur, Blanchard said the expectation is that new titles will be created that are more relevant for the changing marketplace.
“These publications will likely have smaller and more targeted circulations, as advertisers want measurable ROI on all media spend—both print and online,” he said. “Therefore manufacturing will likely embrace technologies that allow them the ability to create these products.”
Elsener predicted that printers that are left will be shutting down older, less-efficient equipment, which will add efficiency. “In the long term, it could mean positive results for the remaining printers, possibly allowing them to keep a little more of each dollar they bill.” M