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Staying in Touch

Visit drupa and discover opportunities to generate revenue that are beyondyour imagination, says Gary Cullum

TOUCH the Future. What a great theme for this month’s drupa exhibition in Dusseldorf. The world’s largest print show, or rather the world’s largest ‘commercial’ print show. Or is it?

I was once advised by a former PJ editor not to waste my shoe leather on a trip to the vast exhibition halls of drupa for I would see nothing of interest to newspaper publishers and printers.

My, how things change. And how quickly they change. Once drupa was held every five years, then four and now the next show after drupa 2016 will be held in 2019, as always at the Messe Dusseldorf. The future is fast evolving.

Touch the Future implies so many things; that the future is upon us, that we can reach out and it’s there. It also implies that by touching it, we can feel it, grasp it, hold it, smell it and that very much includes print. I like the theme. And I share the view.

Targeted visit

A number of newspaper executives here in the UK and from overseas have told me they won’t be going to the show because their businesses are not looking to invest currently. Rather, it is a period of stabilisation and reviewing the business models and strategies that will carry them into the 2020s. But you should make the trip, even for a highly targeted single day visit to look, assess and touch the opportunities that are emerging for your businesses – opportunities that may today seem so far fetched and impossible to Touch, but tomorrow may be part of the bread and butter revenue stream of once traditional newspaper businesses.

Digital printing will be much in evidence; the individual exhibitor floor space allocated for digi printing companies is vast.And 3D printing comes to the fore at drupa. It’s hard to imagine what part 3D printing plays in our future in the news printing sector, but in this issue of PJ,

Telegraph Media Group chief production officer Peter Green says our futures as newspaper publishers and printers may only be limited by our own imaginations (see pages 9 and 10).

The costs of 3D printing put such technologies out of our domestic reach at the moment, but what about in 10 years time? Or could that be five? Click on the newspaper ad, scan it, download to your new printer the product you have just bought… and watch it build up in layers before your eyes. Hard to get the brain around, but the technology is there. And some of it will be on show during drupa.

Around 130 companies will be presenting their innovations at the drupa innovation park – an opportunity to see and learn about latest workflows, automation, print technologies and strategic co-operation models, marketing platforms and business models.

Add to that the 1,650 companies from 50 different countries showcasing their innovations and technology  and there is plenty of inspiration and innovation for the news sector.Where do we need help, or where are we looking to implement solutions? Our printers are experiencing shorter run lengths, and shorter time to market.  In some areas we have more demand for different versions of our products and with increasing amounts of variable data, and variable content.I’ve said many times before – but how far off is the day when my home delivered Hemel Hempstead Gazette gives me all my local news, and also a personalised section just for me. Fishing stories, ads and offers to me based on knowledge of my buying habits, the cars my wife and I drive, the things we buy regularly for the garden?

If you are making the visit then check out those exhibitors offering automated production, integrated workflows, from editorial and advertising content management to cross channel publishing.

Added value

Look out also for the added value opportunities that the post-press suppliers will be demonstrating, including production efficiency and flexibility – new markets are opening up for newspapers in the mailroom – cost effective magazines (many have been keeping a watchful eye on the fortunes and misfortunes of Polestar), stitching and trimming, on line and offline gluing. 

The mailroom is now an exciting place to be, and many of our mailroom and publishing departments are under used and under exploited. It’s time to start thinking out of the box for new revenue streams.

If you are not likely to be one of the visitors to see the show before it closes on June 10, then you can catch up by touching the pages of PJ and by visiting PJ’s website at pjnews.co.uk where daily updates will be made for all the show announcements relating to the future of printed news.

But go on, why not go and Touch the Future yourself?

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