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Top of the tops: the year’s 10 best stories

Tuesday, 16 December 2008
By Print21
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There’s never a quiet moment in the printing industry. Looking back on the year that has almost come to a close, Print21 online editor, Mitchell Jordan picks the 10 biggest stories of 2008.

2008 will always be remembered as the year that the world tipped into financial chaos, but the landscape of the printing industry had been shifting for a long time already.

Friends often ask me how I manage to find enough news about printing to compile a weekly newsletter, and while some weeks are certainly slower than others, the rapid rate of consolidations, acquisitions, private equity and, believe it or not, triumphs, mean that there is always plenty to write about.

So, without further ado, here they are: the top 10.

10) FedEx Kinko’s closes Australian stores

With the exception of its employees, most locals were over-the-moon when the McDonalds of the print world announced that it would be closing down its Australian stores.
"Given our limited presence in Australia, the support costs to operate our printing centres exceeded the revenue we were able to generate from those locations," said a spokesperson.

9) Labor party backtracks on print protection

2009 will see whether the proposed removal of the 30-day rule gets the go-head, which will mean not only bad news for book printers, but anyone involved in Australian publishing.

8) Fairfax print centre closure leaves Tasmanians stranded

After its merger with Rural Press last year, Fairfax closed The Advocate newspaper’s Harris Printing Centre in Burnie, resulting in the loss of 30 full-time jobs and 30 casual positions. Employees were disgruntled, citing a lack of work in their trade.
I’m sure a lot of Fairfax’s soon-to-be-made-redundant journalists would agree with them.

7) PrintNZ prefers Pacprint over Printech

When it comes to tradeshows, PrintNZ believe it is more valuable for its members to make the journey to Australia. So you can expect to see a lot more of our neighbours at next year’s PacPrint.

 6) Australian packaging giant Anzpac in $60million Asian buyout

New Toyo International Holdings and Malaysian company, Tien Wah Press Holdings took hold of Anzpac in November this year.  Time will tell whether any of the work stays in Australia.

5) Blue Star gets across the spectrum of print in NZ

Hot on the heels of its acquisition of Panprint, BSPG took another bite into the New Zealand market by snapping up Christchurch-based Spectrum Print. This move helped to concrete Bluestar’s reputation as a leader in consolidating throughout both Australia and New Zealand.

4) drupa 2008 print party of the year

It only happens once every four years and is the mother of all print trade shows. For two weeks in May, the halls of Messe Düsseldorf were filled with the latest new releases and most tantalising print gossip. No one is still quite sure what the theme for drupa 2008 was, and since I didn’t go, I am unable to wade into the debate. But next year I’ll see you in Melbourne for PacPrint.

 3) Massive consolidation rocks Sydney’s printing industry

GEON took an axe to Sydney-based Agency Graphic World, shedding over 90 jobs.

GEON group CEO, Graham Morgan defended the move as necessary in order to gain extra efficiencies and promote growth for the company. “Our decision was based solely on what is best for the future growth of our New South Wales operation."

2) PBL powers ahead with print: the full story

For months, both the trade and mainstream media were speculating as to whether PBL had what it takes to go it alone and install its own printing presses for ACP magazines. So when Ian Law finally made the announcement, commentators were salivating. But when will the project ever get off the ground?

 1) Off and running: Massive new print site for IPMG at Sydney’s Warwick Farm

IPMG is a company shrouded in secrecy, and when Michael Hannan announced a new Greenfield site at Warwick Farm curiosities were even further aroused. Of course, in true Hannan style, there’s a twist: the installation of three gravure presses which will be sure to change the dynamics of the web press market as we know it. Which is really all we do know on what is undoubtedly the most talked-about development of 2008, and likely to pique further interest in 2009 until Hannan grants a rare interview.
Hey! Michael, feel like returning our calls?

 

As always, compiling a ‘best of’ invariably involves leaving out notable stories that, for whatever reason, could not be included. Special mention goes to anyone who scored at the PICA awards, Pride In Print Awards and Galley Club Awards along with those who got behind Heidelberg’s Women in Print.

Thanks to anyone who supplied me with tip offs, sources, press releases and invitations to launches and conferences. Keep them coming in 2009.

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