Archive for March, 2012

  • OgilvyOne shuffle a watershed for mail

    Direct marketing agency, OgilvyOne, has introduced a new management structure and business strategy that aims to cut through the growing ocean of data and return to a more ‘humanity’-based approach which, according to its new managing partners, could be a boon to the direct mail channel.

    Under the new structure, the direct marketing arm of advertising agency, Ogilvy, will focus less on the myriad digital channels available for DM material, and more at the precise needs of individual clients, a move that could see renewed interest in direct mail.

    “I think [mail’s] got a great place, and the place is where it fits with the customer needs,” says OgilvyOne’s managing partner, Michelle Holland (pictured right). “There’s still the ability for direct mail to come through, it’s got that tactile thing that people like. When we look at customer journeys, direct mail still has such a strong offering there.”

    Rather than contribute to the growing volume of data flooding into digital and online marketing channels, the new-look OgilvyOne will work with digital partners such as DTDigital, and Social@Ogilvy to analyse existing data and determine the best channel selection for its clients.

    “With the data explosion, there’s so much data and insights that can be derived, and coupled with automation and IT…what we’re seeing is there is also a myriad of channel clients, its getting increasingly hard for our clients and other clients in the market to make the right decisions,” says the agency’s managing partner, Sally Kissane (pictured left).

    With former Shift creative director, Rob Morrison, on board to focus purely on the creative side of things, the agency hopes to return to the basics of the DM craft and let the channel decisions be made on a case-by-case basis.

    “With this customer-centric planning model, we enable our clients to select the right channel,” says Kissane. “The right channels become more evident.”

    With the volume of digital marketing messaging such as email and social in the marketplace now, Holland believes that, in many cases, the ‘right’ choice for the best cut-through can often be direct mail.

    “The inbox is full but the mailbox is wide open. When you have the opportunity to surprise and delight a customer with something in direct mail, we’re seeing direct responses,” says Holland.

  • Onyx opening ushers in new age for book publishing

    The official opening of McPherson Printing Group’s (MPG) Onyx digital book production line in Victoria has signalled the way forward for the publishing industry to compete in a changing market with diminishing volumes and dwindling margins.

    MPG hosted an open house at its Maryborough-based printing facility on 29 March to show off its newest workhorse, an HP T400 high-volume digital inkjet press, which it hopes will help spearhead its transition and evolution within the rapidly changing book industry.

    Along with a Müller Martini Acoro binder, HP Indigo 7500 digital press, and a Magnum Flexbook finishing unit, the T400 completes the MPG facility’s ‘Onyx’ book production line, which has been designed specifically to accommodate small to high-volume on-demand book publishing runs.

    According to MPG chief, Alan Fahy, who presided over the facility’s opening, the Onyx production line will help enable MPG to evolve with the publishing industry, as it adapts to the impact of the digital e-book influx.

    “Onyx represents another step in our transition within the book industry, and it is a changing industry,” said Fahy at the open house event.

    The new facility also represents the first feather in the cap for OPUS Group following its merger with the ailing MPG, which separated from its parent company, McPherson’s Group, earlier this year. The combined entity is expected to publicly list on the ASX by mid-April.

    “It’s fair to say that our industry needs to evolve and we’re leading that in many ways,” said OPUS Group’s chief, Cliff Brigstocke (pictured right), during the event.

    Brigstocke said that, with the addition of MPG and its new Onyx production line, the company would able to be more competitive in the book publishing market.

    “We’re well positioned to deliver a menu of choice and technology that separately we weren’t able to offer,” he said. “We believe this menu of choice will offer you the best price.”

    Among the special guests present for the Onyx opening was HP’s head of global publishing strategies, Dr. Douglas Sexton (pictured left), who highlighted how the new installation would help the company evolve with the dramatically changing book publishing industry.

    “Across the globe we’re seeing the same thing happen, the number of titles has doubled, but the print runs have decreased. This means publishers have to take advantage of new technology,” said Sexton during his presentation.

    According to Sexton, with the introduction of HP high-volume inkjet web presses like the T400, the trend towards smaller, on-demand batches in the book-publishing world is becoming easier to attain.

    “If you order too many [books], they will be destroyed, so publishers are transferring their supply chain operations to produce shorter runs with a faster turnaround. One can order smaller quantities, reduce inventory, reduce cost and waste,” said Sexton.

    MPG and HP believe the Maryborough Onyx facility one of the most up-to-date and fastest inkjet installations in the world, and certainly in the southern hemisphere, with speeds up to 600 feet per minute (183m), and a self-applied bonding agent to accommodate untreated paper stock for inkjet printing without bleed.

    “The Onyx system is the top of the line and likely the fastest print and finishing solution in the world,” said Sexton. “McPherson’s is now poised to help the book industry along its journey, and accelerate the transformation of the industry

    Click here to see the image gallery

  • PaperlinX CEO welcomes shareholder input

    As the head of PaperlinX Europe, Toby Marchant holds no illusions that Andrew Price will back down from challenging the board. And that is not a bad thing. Involved and interested shareholders are needed to keep the company on the right path, he tells Cameron Boggs in a phone interview from the UK.

    According to Marchant, the group’s senior management know exactly what situation the company is in and what needs to be done to fix it. “Now that the EGM is out of the way I don’t think Andrew Price’s bid has caused any actual damage to the organisation at all. It has only strengthened our resolve to show that we can fix this business, because at the end of the day that’s what this is all about,” he said.

    “The meeting helped us highlight the fact that there is an awful lot we have to get on with. I think it has given a needed sense of urgency to the business. He would like to do everything tomorrow, and so would I, but things can only be done with investment.”

    The head of the merchant group said Price’s approach at the EGM is not fundamentally different to the company’s stance that urgent and serious aggressive action is needed. Marchant (pictured) acknowledged that PaperlinX needs more funds to properly restructure than the €45 million (A$57.5m) it acquired through the sale of its Italian business, Polyedra, to European paper manufacturer Lecta.

    “We need to restructure our Europe operations and plans are already well advanced, with an internal governance structure in place to ensure that’s done as thoroughly and quickly as possible. We need to make sure we continue to grow; we can’t just shrink our way to prosperity.

    “There are lots of opportunities to grow across the business and we’ve got to ensure that we continue to invest via reallocation of business resources.”

    PaperlinX is forging ahead with its three-part strategy to return profitability to the group. The plan starts with selling assets, strong investments in streamlining the business to get the cost base down (particularly in Europe), then pursuing its growth agenda.

    “Those three tracks will lead this company back to prosperity, since staying where we are is not an option. The organisation simply has too many legacy burdens to prevent or avoid selling assets. We have certain parts of the business that we are willing to sell because we know that the look of the company post-sale makes sense and is inline with our long-term objectives,” he said.

    Paper will remain the core of the PaperlinX’s business for the foreseeable future, however a return to profit is dependent upon the group’s aggressive diversification plan. It has already moved into the sign & display, digital and packaging sectors. Its foray into the industrial plastics sector has seen the group produce riot shields and glass for tanks.

    Marchant is taking a cautious approach to true diversification, in that he recognises the risks involved in moving into radically different territories. Essentially the company is taking the same products it has been supplying to its traditional customer base into a new market.

    According to Marchant, the group’s strategy assumes the uncertainty in Europe will continue. “We’re not assuming any improvement. We’re restructuring our businesses on the assumption that it stays as bad as it is, so any positive change represents a significant upside for the company. If we get Europe in the right space then the business looks radically different.

    “I think our biggest threat is the uncertainty of where is this industry going to end up in terms of the world’s demand for ink on paper. We will be able to adjust to whatever comes, as part of restructuring is also streamlining our businesses so that the company is able to flex with market conditions.”

  • Roland DG doubles the white for Visual Impact

    With only a few weeks to go before the Visual Impact Promotions and Image Expo hits the Gold Coast, Roland DG has released a new white ink configuration for its popular VersaCAMM VS series that it will showcase for the first time at the event in Queensland.

    The new specialised ink configuration not only doubles the VersaCAMM VS wide-format series’ white capacity, but will also allow the company’s desktop VersaSTUDIO BN-20 printer/cutter to include white ink in addition to its CMYK configuration.

    According to Roland DG Australia’s head of marketing communications, Anthony McCausland (pictured), the new white configuration will allow the VersaSTUDIO desktop unit to print white on transparencies, window films and fabric.

    The extra white capacity that the VersaCAMM VS series will now have following the new configuration will mean the wide-format series will now be able to achieve higher white and colour density.

    “You can achieve better density for things like packaging where people are looking for block-out,” says McCausland. “And, it also effectively doubles the speed of the unit because you’ve now got two channels.”

    The new white configuration for the Versa units, which will be on display for the first time at the Visual Impact Expo on the Gold Coast in April, will now be available with all new installations, and can be retrofitted into existing installations at a price.

    Along with the introduction of the new white ink configuration for the Versa units, the Visual Impact Expos in Sydney and the Gold Coast will also see Roland DG showcasing its soft signage and soft substrate solvent and UV capabilities.

    ‘We want to raise awareness to show people you can do soft signage with solvent and UV inks,” says McCausland. “It’s a massively growing market, and we’re trying to educate people about the substrates they can print on now. There is a wide-range of soft ad textiles that can be printed on now.”

    The company has also announced it will unveil a new, as-yet-unnamed printer, at the expo. The press will be a new addition to an existing Roland DG series, and the Gold Coast event will be the first time it will be on display in Australia.

    “It will be an engineering marketing sample,” says McCausland, “because it won’t be officially released until later in April.”

  • Amcor gets green light for Aperio purchase

    Amcor has received unconditional approval from Australian competition watchdog to go ahead with its acquisition of the Aperio Group in a move that will see the packaging company substantially increase its market share of the packaging business in the region.

    The ACCC has announced it would not intervene in Amcor’s proposed acquisition of Aperio, both of which are among the largest providers of flexible packaging to fast moving consumer goods manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region.

    In statement released on 28 March, the ACCC said that the “proposed acquisition would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market.”

    The decision comes after months of investigation, in which the competition watchdog consulted local and international flexible packaging manufacturers, customers and other interested industry players.

    According to the ACCC’s chairman Rod Sims, Amcor’s acquisition of Aperio does not pose the threat of leading to a monopoly in the Asia Pacific market. With import volumes from packaging players further afield are on the rise, the ACCC believes competitive pricing within the local market will be kept in check.

    “In making its decision, the ACCC considered that there will be a number of competitors to Amcor Limited, particularly overseas manufacturers of value-added flexible packaging, as this type of packaging is generally easy transport and import levels are increasing,” said Sims.

    “Some overseas suppliers offer Australian warehouse and distribution services to better compete with domestic suppliers. There are also Australian suppliers looking to expand,” he said.

    Amcor’s managing director and CEO, Ken MacKenzie (pictured), said, “this is a pleasing outcome as the acquisition represents an important strategic opportunity for our Asia Pacific flexible packaging business.

    “We look forward to integrating these assents into the Amcor Group and working with our customers to deliver an improved product and service offering, particularly through innovation.”

    Amcor and Aperio reached a $238 million acquisition agreement in early March, following shareholder approval of the deal. The transaction is expected to close in the June 2012 quarter.

  • Candidate of the week: Digital Printer, Sydney

    Career Profile
    I am a digital print professional with over 10 years experience.

    Summary of Skills
    • Highly experienced and knowledgeable in operating various types of digital printing machines such as Xerox Docu 6135, 6180, Xerox Nuvera 288, Nuvera 4127, Xerox Digipath ( Free Flow ), Xerox colour 700, colour press 1000 and also familiar with OCE, KONIKA, RICOH AND CANON equipments.

    • Highly experienced and knowledgeable in operating various machines and equipments in finishing such as Horizon collator VAC 100 a (Booklet maker), Morgana auto creaser, STAHL folding machine, Rosbank perforator, GBC universal speed punch USP13 and Horizon guillotine machine and many more.

    • Expert and very quick in finishing area such as comb binding, wire binding, thermo binding, velo binding, drilling, padding, scoring, booklet making, and guillotine operations etc.

    • Highly experienced in reproducing any type of b/w and color documents and legal documents from hard copy and soft copy.

    • Specialty in transforming Hardcopy to soft copy (electronic file) by using Xerox Digipath (Free Flow) and other devices.

    • Basic pre-press ability and highly capable to check and assure copy quality of proofs and post press products.


    • Dedicated professional with can do positive attitudes.

    • Ability to manage multiple production devices at one time.

    • Very comfortable working in an environment where change is a daily reality.

    • Punctuality, reliability, sincerity, honesty, willingness to work hard and personal accountability are my valuable strengths.

    Professional Experience

    Kwik kopy printing
    Pitt St. Central City Branch, Sydney
    February 2004 – February 2012

    I have served the above company as a Digital Printer and production in charge.
    Checking all post press finishing, supervising staffs, regularly ordering printing and finishing materials and maintaining time to time stock taking.

    Kwik Kopy Printing
    Market St. Branch, Sydney
    1994 – 2002

    Xerox high speed photo copy Key operator b/w and colour.
    Supervising staffs in finishing department. Regularly ordering printing and finishing materials and maintaining time to time stock taking.

    Education and Further Training
    2003 Certificate II in computer Applications for Office
    Skills developed included: MS Office 2000, MS Excel,
    Keyboard skill, Proof reading etc, North Sydney TAFE, Australia

    Performed Training on various Digital Printers provided by Xerox.

    Bachelor of Arts (B.A), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Caroline Gill
    Branch Manager
    Kwik Kopy Printing 70 Pitt St. Branch
    Mobile: 0413087667 Work: 82269225 (direct)

    Mr. Rob Shaw
    Former Director (1997 – 2010)
    Kwik Kopy Printing Central City, 70 Pitt St. Branch
    Mobile: 0412 664 501

    Nerissa Calub
    Kwik Kopy printing, 70 Pitt St.
    Phone: 8226 9221

    Mr. Denis Fath
    Team Leader, FujiXerox Australia
    Mobile: 0434 148 215


  • One software, multiple machines, one result – ORIS Press Matcher // Web

    One software, multiple machines, one result – ORIS Press Matcher // Web

  • drupa announcement: Dataform and Hunkeler gear up for record drupa

    The past two years has seen Australia and New Zealand’s transactional, direct mail and book printers re-equip with the latest high-speed inkjet digital web presses at a rate that, per capita, outstrips anywhere else in the world. This growth shows no sign of ceasing.

    At the last count, no fewer than nineteen new digital web press lines have been installed, with signs that this market explosion is set to continue. While the major digital press manufacturers have enjoyed the limelight, there is a quiet achiever in the shadows; without who none of this stellar success would be possible.

    Dataform Paper Processing, representing the Swiss-made Hunkeler paper processing equipment, has supplied reel unwinding and finishing components to all but two of the new breed of digital web presses in the ANZ region. Looking at some of these installations, there is more of Hunkeler equipment incorporated than the actual press itself.

    Reels of paper traveling at up to 200 metres per minute and requiring sheeting, folding, perforating, punching, binding and trimming; demand extreme precision for paper handling. Even the seemingly simple act of unwinding the reels as they enter the imprinting stage presents engineering challenges that need to cope with weight, tension, dust, static, squareness, moisture and distortion.

    Once printed, the moving web is either re-wound for offline finishing; or sheeted and finished inline to produce a wide variety of products from simple A4 folded and personalised sheets, to complex multi-page direct mail pieces; even a 300-page paperback novel or a newspaper. Hunkeler has addressed this industry shift to on-demand colour digital production like no other manufacturer.


    Few outside of its customer base know much about Dataform Paper Processing. The Australian operation was established in 2004 as a subsidiary of the large Dataform Group of Vienna, Austria – established in 1973 by Klaus Entrup. In 2009, Dataform Group achieved worldwide sales of €30 million and employed 131 people, with 11 staff and service contractors in ANZ.

    Initially a forms printing house counting banks, insurance companies, governments and the UN as clients, Dataform expanded into the supply of paper handling equipment with Hunkeler and Kern as its flagship products. Partnerships are also in place for Tecnau, ATS, Buhrs, W&D, Lake Image Systems and Weko. Dataform Paper Processing Australia, under the leadership of Les Hardy, Robert Cornish and Bert Post, has consistently grown and is projecting sales in excess of $6 million for this drupa year of 2012.

    “Our customers are our working partners,” says sales manager Robert Cornish, “the critical nature of their businesses dictates this. Our business model is heavily technical and engineering-based since no two installations are the same – a custom and bullet-proof engineering solution must be developed well before equipment is installed.”

    “With our principal supplier – Hunkeler – introducing ever-more sophisticated finishing solutions, no less than four major new products at drupa alone; we are entering new fields where previously ‘high-end’ finishing techniques such as plough folding, web inspection, complete book-on-demand finishing and newspaper production demand higher levels of knowledge and technical support.”


    Hunkeler has a sizeable 2-deck stand of 270 m2 at drupa but for the first time it is not in one of the finishing Halls. Hunkeler can be found right in the heart of where the digital press manufacturers are – in Hall 9, stand C39. Additionally, Hunkeler equipment will be in use on fifteen other stands in eight Halls – a clear indication of the ubiquity of Hunkeler reel paper processing technology in high-speed digital printing.

    New products will include a complete offline book block line using up to a 30” (762mm) web, plough folding and the new SD7 stacker. Also new in the 30: web width is the LS7 large format sheet stacker and the PC7 primer coater which pre-conditions papers for inkjet printing – something that offers great hope to printers wanting to use regular offset or uncoated stocks. For security printing, a new laser punching roll-to-stack prototype will be shown. For the 20.5” (520mm) web width the new dynamic perforator DP6 will be performing roll-to-fold printing and finishing with punching and both straight and cross perforating of direct mail and forms.

    Pictured: the new Hunkeler 30” (760mm) book block finishing line with PF7 plough-folder and SD7 stacker – ideal offline finishing partner to digital book printing.

    Hunkeler personifies all that is precise in Swiss engineering. The Wikon headquartered firm celebrates 90 years in business at drupa 2012. Established in 1922 by Josef Hunkeler, today second and third generations – Franz and Stefan Hunkeler – lead the company. Today printers of transactional, security, direct mail, books and newspapers are just as familiar with Hunkeler technologies as they are of the core digital printing engines.

    “Dataform Australia staff will be based mostly on the Hunkeler drupa stand, “says Cornish, “and we welcome all ANZ visitors to come along and meet us in Hall 9, C39."

  • Letters, feedback, get it off your chest: 27 March

    This week’s postbag kicks off with glowing praise for Fuji Xerox stepping up as a top NPA sponsor, plus Silverbrook’s return volley to the lawsuit lodged last week by US non-profit, George Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Re: Fuji Xerox is new major sponsor for National Print Awards

    This is fantastic news and we should not forget that FXA is also a major supplier of paper. Why fantastic news? Now all three of the key NPA sponsors are prominent players in the digital press market. Heidelberg with Linoprint/Ricoh; Currie Group with HP Indigo, and now FXA.

    This is an opportune time for the trade associations, more so the PIAA and LIA (GASAA’s members are mostly digital producers), to reflect on the realities facing our industry – that we are inexorably heading towards a majority digital reproduction future and industry policy and awards should reflect this.

    Digital is no longer the upstart new process snapping at the heels of offset, flexo, screen and gravure. It is the bedrock of our industry’s future as a communications and media industry. Just look at the floorspace taken at this year’s drupa by HP, Canon, Ricoh, Konica-Minolta, Xeikon, Screen, MGI, Impika, Epson, Memjet, Landa Corp, Kodak etc., compared to the shrinking offset stands. Add to this the newfound digital presence on Heidelberg, Komori and KBA areas and you shouldn’t need more convincing.

    We are going through a technology shift of gargantuan proportions and we could be better prepared for it than we are.

    To paraphrase Gough Whitlam in 1972: "It’s Time."

    Andy McCourt


    Re: Silverbrook returns Kaiser hardball play

    That Kaiser should torpedo Memjet before its big launch at DRUPA is unbelievable. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot before the start of a race.

    What are they thinking?

    John Whelan,
    General manager,
    Hyppo Envelopes

  • Creditors chase Lamb Print for payment

    Industry suppliers are calling for a full and transparent review of Lamb Print’s merger with Vanguard Press and subsequent distribution of funds after Monday’s creditors meeting.

    Disgruntled industry suppliers led the charge in demanding a full accounting of the way that some of the company’s assets were sold only weeks before it went broke. In the lead up to the first official meeting, there was a call for the unsecured creditors to appoint their own administrator rather than the company appointed BRI Ferrier. This did not get up but there is determination to hold the administrator to strict account..

    Creditors, who include paper companies and local printers are now seeking a clearer understanding as to what happened with the business. The merger deal with Vanguard Press was concluded in September 2011, yet it wasn’t made public until 31 December.

    Creditors say they were given the impression at that time that 100 cents to the dollar would be paid; they would just have to sit tight as Lamb Print got organised.

    When contacted by Print21 the administrator was unavailable for comment on the meeting.

  • Employers Mutual major NSW PICA partner

    NSW Specialist workers’ compensation services provider, Employers Mutual, have signed on as the naming rights partner for this year’s NSW Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards (PICA).

    Printing Industries CEO Bill Healey (pictured), said he welcomed the second year commitment from Australia’s leading workers compensation claims manager.

    “I think this is great news from Employers Mutual who continue to demonstrate an outstanding commitment to our association and to our industry,” he said.

    “In addition to supporting the NSW PICA they funded the very successful Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention and Management Project launched nationally last late year. This program has delivered a vitally important resource for our industry through training programs, website resources and reference manual.

    “Employers Mutual have almost 100 years experience as a workers’ compensation specialist and in partnership with employers, have consistently achieved the best claims outcome of any workers compensation provider.”

    Healey said that in the workers compensation area they have focussed on achieving better outcomes for injured workers and reducing the cost of workers compensation for employers.

    “On top of this they have continued to be actively involved in our PICA awards at both a financial level and as a judge for our Occupational Health and Safety Business Award category. It’s an outstanding relationship and that benefits all members,” he said.

    According to Healey, the Queensland PICAs have made a huge shift in tradition by moving to 1 September 2012 after being staged in late November for many years. Call for Entries information would be available within weeks for all state PICAs .

    “The Call for Entries will be announced in April, so all printing companies should be setting aside their best work now for inclusion in the 2012 events. The end of the year is always crowded with invitations, events and functions so our Queensland PICA committee thought a change from our usual November slot would be a welcome change for the Industry,” he said.

    The 2012 PICA season begins with the Western Australian PICA on Saturday 25 August at the Burswood Casino.

    This is followed by Queensland 1 September at the Brisbane Hilton Hotel; Tasmania Saturday 13 October (Wrest Point Casino); South Australian/Northern Territory Friday 19 October (Adelaide Entertainment Centre); NSW Friday 2 November (Sydney Convention Centre); Victoria Friday 9 November (Sofitel on Collins) and the ACT PAGE Awards Friday 23 November (Hotel Realm).

    The National Print Awards will be held on Friday 20 April at the Crown Palladium, Southbank, Melbourne.

  • Sidwell puts out the Wellcom mat for new CEO

    Well-known industry identity, Wayne Sidwell, has appointed Steve Rees as new CEO of Wellcom Australia and New Zealand as he continues to expand the company’s footprint across Asia and the UK.

    The founder and managing director of the original Wellcom business, established in 2000, said he would remain as executive chairman of the Group to support the new senior management team. Sidwell stepped back into managing the company following the departure of former CEO Amanda Brook in early 2011.

    Currently operating as COO for the iconic pre-media company, Rees said growth in foreign markets and business opportunities are placing greater demands on Sidwell to spend more time overseas. He will commence his new role on July 1.

    “We’ve had really good growth in Asia and London, which is taking up more of Wayne’s time. I think the new management structure is a natural progression of the business.

    “As COO I spent my time working across the group’s commercial operations, but as CEO my focus will change to ensure that we continue to provide the kind of customer driven value that we have become known for,” said Rees.
    Craig Bevan will step into the ANZ COO role. Also taking on new titles are Michael Bettridge as the new MD of Wellcom Asia, plus CFO Julian Graham who has been handed the reins of Wellcom Technologies as head of operations.

    Sidwell is very upbeat about the new team and prospects for the company.
    “Due to the expansion of our business in Australia and Asia, we need to ensure we continue to have the right structure, to accommodate the continued growth of our business. The re-structure also includes the establishment of Wellcom Technologies within the Group. With the release of our new Canopy product system this has the potential to be a major contributor to the Group over the medium term,” said Sidwell.

  • MUST BE SOLD: Paper – 11 mixed pallets including specialty stock


    Paper – 11 mixed pallets including specialty stock.
    Also sundries (eg as new 250L solvent cabinet, Ultrafold folder, paper drill).

    Contact us for a detailed list: or 0468 338 932.

  • Reed pulls out of Australian magazine publishing

    Giant B2B publisher Reed Business Information has put its local magazine and online lead generation businesses up for sale as part of a planned exit from print media.

    Jeremy Knibbs, CEO of RBI Australia, said: "The business has been transformed over the last decade, embracing the opportunities of web-based advertising services and delivering strong growth in revenues and margin. RBI has been a good parent to us and we look forward under new ownership to build on the business’ success in developing profitable multi-media advertising models,” he said.

    Some of the 19 local magazines up for sale are the well-known titles Money Management, Australian Doctor, B&T, NewScientist, and Manufacturers’ Monthly. When contacted by Print21 the Australian publishing arm of RBI had “no further comments” on the sale. However, following the company’s hard-nosed decisions both here and in the USA, the magazines face an uncertain future if no buyers appear.

    The announcement comes two years to the month after the publisher’s exit from the B2B construction sector of the magazine market when it shut down the Construction Contractor magazine and affiliated niche websites. In 2008 parent company Reed Elsevier tried to wholesale its global RBI business, but the idea was scrubbed due to the GFC.

    In 2009 it began to sell off individual US titles. It managed to sell 21 titles by April 2010, but closed down the remaining 23 trade publications after no suitors came forward.

    At that time it had declared its commitment to keeping Variety, its show business bible in circulation. However, the glitzy mag that has covered show biz and Hollywood for over a century is now up for sale. Reed has owned Variety since 1987.

    RBI chief executive Mark Kelsey said that the decision follows the company’s sale and withdrawal from other US business publications during the past three years.

    "With RBI’s increasing focus on data services, and the sale of our other US print magazines, it now makes sense for us to sell the business. Variety has an incredibly talented team who have successfully innovated and expanded the franchise in industry news and analysis. I have no doubt the business will continue to thrive under new ownership,” said Kelsey.

  • Fuji Xerox Australia offers presses made to order

    Australian printers get first dibs at the new low gloss dry ink option on the Color 800 / 1000 presses. The feature, currently unavailable in the US and Europe, is part of a host of press upgrades allowing print shops and mail houses to produce more jobs faster on a single machine.

    Henryk Kraszewski (pictured), production colour marketing manager at Fuji Xerox Australia, said the low gloss formulation gives printers the opportunity to chase markets that prefer a flatter and more uniform output on uncoated or silk-coated stocks. “It also enhances the effect of clear dry ink for greater creative impact.

    “We knew that Japan was working on a lower gloss option and said we need that for our market because of the types of stocks our customers run, so we pushed to get it launched here,” he said. “The new feature has been very well received in terms of customer feedback and the majority of new orders we are receiving are for this low gloss formulation.”

    The new set of press enhancements can help commercial printers reduce the cost of jobs through automation, such as the full width array with the automated colour quality suite. This feature is designed to boost press uptime for more predictable and consistent output by automating many components of the print cycle.

    “Printers are dealing with increasing numbers of more complex jobs such as bound books, booklets and magazines, which often have to be produced extremely rapidly while still maintaining perfect quality,” he said. “The Color 800/1000 Presses have been enhanced specifically to address this growth in demand, with new binding and finishing options offering commercial printers greater flexibility, control and response speed for these jobs.”

    The new options now available for the 90 print shops using these two Color presses in Australia include a perfect binder, an inline GBC eBinder 200, and a modular inline Plockmatic Pro 30 Booklet Maker. Printers upgrading the presses can also connect to third-party finishing devices with the Finisher D5 option.

    The Color 1000 Press at the Fuji Xerox Epicenter is configured with a high-capacity feeder, a high capacity stacker, perfect binder and a Plockmatic Pro 30 booklet maker.

    According to Kraszewski, with all the new feeding and finishing options there are 550 different possible configurations for the Color 800 / 1000 presses. This means printers can customize and personalise presses to fit a business and get the most out of a single machine.

    “Fuji Xerox has sought to support the commercial print industry with innovations aimed at the baseline of service excellence: print quality and turnaround time,” said Kraszewski.

  • New worldwide web is on the cards – Print21 magazine feature

    Australia is not exactly flushed with success stories in the burgeoning web-to-print market but one exception is the Yellow Postie online cards business which is now poised to become a global phenomenon. Simon Enticknap caught up with Matt Sandford, the driving force behind the venture, to discuss the pitfalls and rewards of online print.

    At a recent conference in Miami on the topic of web-to-print, Matt Sandford of Yellow Postie hadn’t even finished his presentation before the emails started arriving from people in the audience wanting to know how they could work with him. Afterwards, within minutes, local printers were expressing interest in licensing his web-to-print system for greeting cards in the US market. While the intensity and speed of the response might have taken him by surprise, Sandford already knew he was onto a good thing. After all, this was not his first taste of foreign markets having previously licensed the system for use in Scandinavia and the UK. The American market is different though, having progressed down the path towards web-to-print output earlier and faster than most other countries, so to get such a response from print professionals who know about such things was gratifying indeed.

    More than anything though, it demon­strates how people in today’s industry are quick to recognise a better ‘mousetrap’ when they see one and consequently just as keen to capitalise on the opportunities it presents.

    Pictured: The Yellow fellow – Matt Sandford (l) has turned Yellow Postie into an international success story

    For Sandford, the interest generated by Yellow Postie in the US—which will ultimately see the system being licensed there to two separate companies, one east coast, one west—is the reward for a more than two years of hard work getting the online system up and running. Today the locally-developed system, which caters specifically for the greetings cards and personalised postcards print market, is at the point where it can be relatively easily transferred to new markets as almost a turn-key system. People often joke about ‘world domination’ as a business goal but with Yellow Postie the potential is there, although Matt Sandford is certainly far from succumbing to any megalomaniac tendencies.

    “To compete on an international level against the major players, I want to do this as a network,” he explains. “So we’re not trying to build an empire or a franchise model, we’re trying to build a collaboration of people right around the world with whom we can share content and marketing ideas.”
    So what is Yellow Postie and what makes it one of the few examples of successful web-to-print innovation in the local market?

    Your friendly Postie

    Two years ago, when Print21 last spoke with Matt Sandford, Yellow Postie was still in the process of being born, initially as a local online outlet for greetings cards. Users could log-in and create their own cards for a range of occasions—Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day—using pre-designed cards or create their own using uploaded artwork. Yellow Postie took care not only of the printing of the cards but, importantly, the mailing as well so the whole process was seamless from sender to receiver.

    Today, the local consumer market for Yellow Postie is doing well, generating consistent volumes and repeat business. Volumes trend up and down in sync with special occasions (Christmas and Mother’s Day are busy periods although, curiously, not Father’s Day –Dads are not big card people) and most users are women. As a result, much of the site’s marketing is targeted at women and timed to coincide with special events; Sandford says the repeat usage stats are encouraging and show that users like what the service offers.

    This is all the more remarkable given that Yellow Postie is operating in a web-to-print sector which already has some big hitters with considerably more marketing muscle at their disposal (see box). To compete with them, Sandford says the focus at Yellow Postie has been on making the site as user friendly as possible by introducing more WYSIWYG features than the larger competitors as a key point of difference.

    As an example of this, he points to the fact that Yellow Postie is the first site worldwide to allow users to upload entire databases of names and addresses rather than entering them one at a time to personalise and send out cards. Users can attach an Outlook address book or an Excel spreadsheet and the Yellow Postie front-end will transform it into usable names and addresses, highlighting where any of the information is incomplete. This makes the process of card sending much easier and more akin to electronic communication.

    Early in 2012, the site will also introduce a Facebook app for closer integration with users’ accounts as well as versions for iPads and other mobile devices. This will help to tie the service ever closer to social networking, a vital requirement given the social nature of card sending.
    At the same time, the site has expanded into offering additional services such as postcards and A5 calendars. The latter were launched towards the end of last year and, with only minimal marketing, are quickly racking up the orders.

    Getting on with business

    With the consumer side of the business now well-established, Matt Sandford is now busy exploring new avenues for applying the Yellow Postie technology. Part of this involves licensing the system overseas, as has happened so far in Europe. The first countries to take it on were Norway, Denmark and Sweden, quickly followed by the UK which is a prime market. The UK site launched late last year and within the first two weeks attracted over 1,000 new users. Imagine gaining 1,000 new customers in fortnight! True, the majority of these are only small print runs but the potential for repeat business is high and, with online card payments, there are no debtors.

    Building on the success of the consumer market, Sandford is now planning to launch a business application of the system later this year called CR Cards. This will enable businesses, typically SMEs such as real estate agents and car dealers, to run their own direct mail print campaigns through a single site. For instance, a real estate agent will be able to upload their customer contact database to their own branded site, personalise cards or DL flyers for individual clients and send out marketing messages at key times, say, on the anniversary of a house purchase.

    Of course, real estate agents and small businesses in other vertical markets already do this type of marketing via various types of mail merge applications; what CR Cards promises to do is make it easier, faster and more creative to implement.

    “The best thing about this for a small business is that the person on the front desk can do it. So to do a one-to-one campaign with all the branding and a unique creative, you don’t need the backroom of a print shop or anything too elaborate. That’s what it’s been like up until now. Previously to do a personalised marketing campaign, you needed the database, the creative, the printing etc and then some propeller head to knock it into shape with PrintShop Mail or XMPie.

    “What we’re proposing is one person doing it all online through the CRM to the card site, all personalised, all unique signatures, fully-branded, out in five minutes for the same cost. It’s a totally different concept of how you can communicate with people,” says Sandford.

    Following on from the introduction of the business application, the next step in 2012 will be to launch a CRM plug-in, a project which is currently under development with a Dutch firm of systems integrators. Initially this will see the CR Card functionality integrated with an online CRM service with over 12,000 subscribers (a comparatively small CRM system). If that works, the next stage will be to offer it to a CRM service with twice as many subscribers and so on.

    The potential for such a plug-in is huge, says Sandford, particularly given the number of CRM systems on the market, few of which currently offer an integrated direct mail component.

    “Lots of CRM applications exist in the ‘cloud’ as a tool to manage customer contacts, quotes etc. They’ve all got nothing more in terms of communications, marketing or relationship-type collateral other than the ability to send a merged letter or email. So you’ve got all that data at your disposal and all you can do is send a letter.”

    The main challenge with the plug-in is in ensuring there are sufficient service providers in each market so that no matter where the end users are located, the marketing campaign can be delivered locally. Sandford says he doesn’t envisage it will be a problem signing up new providers once the system has proved itself. The second challenge is to communicate with and educate the end users, which is why he has teamed up with a firm of systems integrators which has direct access to the subscriber list.

    Once the plug-in has been shown to work with one CRM and deliver value, it will then be relatively simple to port it to different systems. Ultimately, Sandford says that while there is big potential on the consumer side of the business, it is a slow-moving market; the even greater potential however is with business customers and in offering something which has not been done before.

    Keep your hands off

    One of the interesting aspects of talking about Yellow Postie with Sandford is that the print part of the equation hardly gets a mention even though the end product is still very much a printed item. Locally, all the cards are produced on an iGen digital printer and Sandford says the system as it is now set up is a ‘lights out’ operation; the orders are entered, fed into separate workflows (for local or international mailing), imposed, printed and inserted into the envelopes ready for posting without any human intervention. The only exception to this is when a customer requests to do their own mail-out which requires packing the printed cards by hand.

    It sounds like a simple process now—and one which Sandford says works fairly seamlessly—but there’s no doubt that getting to this point has required a lot of effort and skill. Nevertheless, a hands-free production system of this type is absolutely necessary; web-to-print, especially in the consumer market where the runs are typically frequent but short, only works if the level of automation is high. Human handling slows down the process and costs money.

    One area which might have been expected to be a problem but which hasn’t turned out that way is colour management. Given the range and variety of images uploaded by users to create their cards, the task of matching colours accurately and making sure, for instance, that people’s faces are the right skin tone, sounds as if it might be fraught with risks. Not so, says Sandford, adding that the colour quality is good, thanks in part to the output of the iGen and by having the necessary quality checks in place. Using images from Facebook libraries, as Yellow Postie will be doing this year, may pose more of a problem as the files tend to be low-res but, even here, Sandford says there is smart software designed to help minimise the issue.

    Patience and perseverance

    Two years down the track and now internationally recognised, Matt Sandford is well-placed to offer a cool-headed perspective on the perils and pitfalls of web-to-print ventures. There’s no doubt that getting to this point has been a hard slog, perhaps more so than anticipated, with many hours spent under the bonnet of the XMPie software which powers the front-end. It’s clear that one of the main requirements for anybody contemplating a move into web-to-print is a sense of humour—and patience.

    “You need to start with the end-user before you do anything else and elevate their need,” he comments. “In terms of building a web-to-print model, you need patience and perseverance. You also need to be creative. There are endless possibilities so you really need to think outside the square to see where it can take you because that’s what is going to drive you in the end.”

    The other element that emerges in conversation with Sandford is the importance of face-to-face contact with end users. That might seem surprising to anybody envisaging a hands-off, anonymous customer relationship via the web but, particularly in the business sphere, nothing beats sitting down in front of a client and explaining how it all works.

    “The systems integrator has this idea that everything will be online and there will be no human contact, and that’s where my 30 years of print says, no, there will be human contact and it will be an opportunity to have a relationship. Print can only go so far as an online thing.”

    Sandford gives the impression of relishing this aspect of the business, drawing on his years of experience as one of the biggest franchise print operators in the country. In some respects, it is clear too that the more things change, the more print stays the same; it is still about selling something real and tangible to people.

    And if the process of setting up a new venture based around internet sales sounds daunting, then certainly this is also part of what appeals to Sandford. As he points out, he could have stayed in the commercial print market, but web-to-print offers a fresh challenge, intellectually and commercially. As it happens, it also fits well with the print industry in terms of relationship marketing, and offers an opportunity to expand its marketplace.

    Besides, creating your own greetings card portal has other advantages as well. Over the past two years, Sandford says he hasn’t missed a single anniversary or birthday; Yellow Postie offers a built-in reminder service to users, ensuring they don’t forget those ‘big’ days or leave it to the last minute. And while it might be too much to claim that he had to start a whole new business in order to remember his anniversary, it is, at the very least, one of the added benefits of running a successful online card outlet.

  • Printers get a super assist

    Media Super is helping printers boost their superannuation with a new service making it easier to find and combine old or inactive accounts for free.

    Andrew Whiley, communications manager for the industry super fund, said managing multiple funds is a widespread problem with superannuation, given that each Australian worker has an average of three super accounts.

    “Many workers within the print industry have old, lost or inactive accounts due to moving jobs or choosing different funds. The new Media Super website makes it easier for our members to consolidate multiple super accounts,” he said. “Media Super has around 15,000 employers making contributions on behalf of employees. The majority are in printing, packaging, and design/graphics.”

    The new site provides a one-stop-shop access for fund members to search for their super at the ATO and via other free databases, find their old funds and get started on the paperwork.

    “We have had a very positive response from the print employers we’ve been talking to about the benefits of their employees combining multiple accounts. Consolidation means fewer fees since all your money is in one spot, a single account is easier to keep track of and in the end it boosts your final superannuation payment,” said Whiley. “We think this fits very squarely with most employers view in that if they can do something to help their employees build their super, they’ll do it.“

    The printing industry super find is asking employers to help spread the word about this new service to raise awareness amongst Media Super members.