Vertical Outlook: Packaging

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2005 YTD pages: 3,611.1*

2004 YTD pages: 3,845.9*

% change: -8.29%*

* Figures combine data from IMS' Packaging and Packaging Manufacturing categories.

Bright spots: Increasing automation and integration offer opportunities to attract advertisers.

Challenges: With a growing presence online, there's an increasing assumption of total accountability in the packaging space. But it's still very hard to measure any b-to-b publishing efforts.

With less exposure to the global economy, packaging trade titles won't be as subject to the vagaries of the marketplace in 2006 as publications in other industry sectors.

"You're a lot less likely to outsource food and pharmaceutical products," said Steve Reiss, VP-publishing director of the monthly Packaging Digest and Reed Business Information's Printing, Packaging & Converting Group.

Automation and integration of the packaging process will likely be white-hot topics this year.

"There are a lot of packaging companies that haven't been involved [in these processes] so we have huge opportunities here," Reiss said.

Joe Angel, VP-publisher of Summit Publishing's monthly Packaging World, said he expects print revenue to grow 15% this year and online revenue to increase 25%.

A quarterly section in the magazine that focuses on packaging integration continues to be a major attraction for advertisers, Angel said.

"It communicates to the entire packaging space, not just consumer packaged goods manufacturers but original equipment manufacturers and integrators," he said. "It's got a very educational slant."

Angel has also expanded Packaging World's Web site to include a lead generation program and has already sold out sponsorships for the magazine's first trade show, slated for May.

Reed Business Information, too, has created online programs geared toward packaging advertisers, such as an Entertainment quiz on Packaging Digest's Web site. The quiz, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, a major player in industrial automation, features an animated cartoon character testing users' knowledge of packaging automation trends. -M.S.

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