This entry was posted by Sumeer Chandra, Vice President for Worldwide Marketing and Strategy at HP’s Graphics Solutions Business
It is not too difficult to see why, and how, print will thrive in the future: It will thrive with digital printing – an efficient alternative to analog offset, flexographic and screen printing process. For the HP Graphics Solutions Business (GSB) and its print service provider (PSP) customers, digital printing momentum has been exceptionally strong, with double-digit percentage growth in the number of pages printed each year. We are optimistic that there is even more growth to come based on the advances HP is bringing to market.
While HP is best known for home and office printers, Graphics Solutions provides print service providers with digital presses, large-format printers and related workflow technologies. And while most print comes from general commercial printing and publishing, our solutions portfolio also produces applications for photo merchandise, direct mail and transactional, label, packaging, sign and display and architecture, engineering and construction /technical design printing applications.
Our customers benefit from innovation that makes print in all forms more targeted and relevant to end consumers. At the world’s largest printing tradeshow, drupa, May 3-16 in Düsseldorf, Germany, HP is launching new technologies that make digital printing even better, including a new HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press and faster models of HP Inkjet Web Presses.
But is print better, or worse, as a medium for the future? While that depends on whom you ask, it is far too easy to underestimate why print endures and prospers. Look at print only as words and images on a surface, and print arguably does less than any electronic medium that incorporates sound, video, gaming and web connectivity on a single device. Look beyond the surface, though, and it is fair to say print does less, better.
Print is a complex medium, with different types of products – publications, marketing collateral, packaging, signage and more – available in any number of size and substrate options. But each type of print product is specifically designed simplify meaning and enhance a reader’s ability to receive and comprehend content. Data from companies such as Millward Brown, Miratech and Epsilon Targeting show how complex options available with e-readers or tablets potentially diminish our ability to comprehend a text.
E-readers have many strengths, of course, including the ability to go into the long tail of specialized content. Analog-printed books usually only make economic sense when produced in large quantities, which means publishers often cannot afford to keep low-volume selling titles in print. HP digital presses, however, overcome those economic limitations, meaning print can capture more of the appeal e-readers offer for the many people who prefer or can only access a hardcopy book.
For example, as HP’s Alon Bar-Shany recently wrote in GreensheetBIZ, there are many specialized and personalized publications that live online, but are printed one-off, on-demand using HP Indigo digital presses – the industry market leader in print quality. This includes thousands of magazines available through HP’s MagCloud service, as well as personalized children’s storybooks from Penwizard and Frecklebox, and self-published, color books from CreateSpace, Lulu and Blurb. Many mainstream book manufacturers use HP Inkjet Web Presses to affordably print small- and mid-volume titles that are just too expensive to print, store and distribute using offset production models, or customized books that can only be created using digital systems.
The new HP Indigo 10000, launching at drupa, is an especially important development in this space, as it is built in a larger, 29-inch format ideal for book printing applications.
HP made publishing industry news last year by introducing the world’s first 42-inch wide inkjet production solution, the HP T400 Color Inkjet Web Press. Received with broad acclaim, it is helping to redefine what the publishing industry can do with digital printing. In fact, new HP T400 installations include a press purchased by Australia’s leading book manufacturer, McPherson’s Printing Group.
The high-volume HP Inkjet Web Press portfolio gets even more productive with the recent unveiling of faster models and the introduction of new, coated media that can bring inkjet publication printing into new areas of publishing.
These opportunities are important because, when you set aside assumptions that print is going away and take a closer look, you see the real trend: print is changing. The more relevant, timely and personalized you can make a piece of print collateral, the more value it has to the end user. That has become the real momentum driver in the print industry.
My colleague Alon probably put it best: “As strange as it sounds, there are segments of print that are actually aligned with the transformation away from hardcopy communications. And where that alignment exists, the opportunities are tremendous.”
In my next post, I will talk about the role data play when capitalizing on these opportunities with HP Graphics Solutions.