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- On September 14, 2016
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In a hard-hitting interview, Pensord Managing Director Darren Coxon answers a few key industry questions about his view of print in the digital age. And he says it how he sees it.
Coxon pulls no punches.
So how are tablets and content delivery online affecting the printed word?
“It feels like we’ve come full circle. When the first tablet was launched in 2010, the view of the publishing world seemed to be that print had had its day, and that before too long all print would be replaced by the delivery of content downloaded to tablets. Many in the B2B and specialist interest markets, in which we operate, felt that way too.
“Five years on, and we’ve seen the printed word fight back. Most publishers are reporting that digital advertising revenues are just not performing at anything like the level that is generated through print. Anecdotally, we hear that subscribers are far more fickle in the online world, and that subscriptions to printed products has held up.
“The upshot is that publishers are now focusing their core energies once again on the medium of print, while complementing this with digital offerings and not replacing.”
With Paperlinx going bust, how do you see the market developing in the near future?
“At Pensord, we naturally have a great deal of dialogue with our partners in the paper market and the message seems quite clear. A lot of the business that was done by Paperlinx was not desirable, either conducted with companies with poor credit or done at very low margin and so the ability, or more appropriately the desire for all of this to be accommodated in the new world, is not great. The message is a good one – deal as a priority with good businesses and don’t bend over backwards for the not so good, but only time will tell.
“So with credit terms tightening for some and pricing possibly increasing for others, we could be facing an acceleration of closures in the print industry during the coming months, if the market pans out as predicted.”
So how is that going to affect capacity?
“In truth, this September has already shown that capacity in the B1 sheetfed market is tight when demand is at its highest. A number of closures since last September has seen capacity reduced still further and in an improving economy ensuring that demand has remained constant.
“More casualties, perhaps as a result of the paper situation, may mean that the supply and demand equation in the UK will reach an interesting point in the busier months of the year and so the market may improve for those of us who remain.
“One thing is for sure – price is too low, driven down through a sustained period of over capacity and the outcome of that has been multiple site closures. Something at some stage has to give, even if it’s just the end of the downward spiral of pricing. We’ve already spoken of the resurgence of print, it’s here to stay and so it’s important that the good printers who remain (and there are a few of us) stay in business to ensure delivery of the great work being done by today’s editors, columnists, designers and publishers, and keep Britain reading!”