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Sat, Aug

I have to say I was impressed by the sheer amount of new products at Fespa 2013, which closed its doors on Saturday. You had a tranche of news in enewsletters last week and you’ll get more as I continue to work my way through all the notes I took at the show, but please, get in touch if there was a new introduction that particularly impressed you.

Well, I’ve been writing as fast as humanly possible but don’t expect to get the total Fespa 2013 news hit in this one enewsletter – there’s been a hefty haul of introductions beyond those we’ve already flagged up so keep your eye out for following enews bulletins and a more comprehensive round-up of those new developments and their likely impact on the market in the next issue of the main magazine.

Well are you? Fespa 2013 bound that is. I am, so if there’s anything you think I should be following up from an editorial standpoint drop me an email – or tap me on the shoulder if you see me on site!

As you’d expect this close to a major show like Fespa 2013, the lion’s share of the news is focussed on product launches and improvements, but we know very well that improving businesses isn’t just about buying better kit. Which is why, at Fespa 2013, there’s such a strong focus on educative seminars too. I’ll be hosting a debate on ‘futureproofing’ at the Jet Set Conference a week today (27 June) so come along and get involved in the discussion on how we strategise for a profitable future.

 

It might be based on US research, but the new InfoTrends study ‘Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix’, shows that printed wide-format graphics are on an upward trajectory – at least in the six vertical industries it identified. That’s got to be a feel good factor as many of you prepare to part with your hard earned cash on new production products at Fespa 2013 and beyond…

With Fespa 2013 and it’s associated shows just around the corner, I’m prompted yet again to ask all of you running wide-format print operations, do you ever actually exhibit at shows? Take the European Sign Expo, incorporating Screenmedia Expo, right next door to Fespa at ExCeL. Organisers say it will enable visitors “to see the latest innovations in printed media, and explore the full range of multi-channel solutions in the visual communications sector, from print to conventional signage, digital signage and DOOH media”. Given all the noise about integrated print, shouldn’t print companies be pushing the envelope and showing visitors – i.e. potential customers - just what they can produce…

Fespa 2013 is going to be awash with new ink offerings if the influx of releases about show introductions is anything to go by - great news for anyone happy to shop around in what’s becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace. The effect must be to prompt a change in the cost structure used by printer manufacturers making their real money from ink sales. So will we see hardware costs increase to offset reducing ink princes?

Do you see a place for 3D printing devices within your own operation? I’ve certainly had some interesting conversations with printers considering their potential usage. Let me know if you see scope for such manufacturing technology within your business.

The general state of the economy continues to haunt us, it being the highest polling major concern for business in 2013/14 in the Widthwise Survey 2013. Interestingly, and especially when seen in context of the latest BDRC Finance Monitor (that showed the number of firms using external finance dipped to a new low in the first three months of 2013), the availability/cost of finance polled a lower concern for Widthwise participants than it did last year. What’s your take on that? You can see what Image Reports thinks by reading the Widthwise Report of course, but you’ll have to wait just a few more days. It should be ready from download from the website (http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/industry-data/widthwise) by the end of this week.

Are you ready to be taken over? According to the findings of the Image Reports’ Widthwise Survey 2013, almost a third of the responding 223 firms are open to talks about acquisition, merger or creating a formal partnership with another business. That might suggest a sector in trouble, but conversely margins are improving and over half expect digitally produced wide-format print to become a bigger part of their total turnover.

It’s great to see the likes of Stylo Graphics and Talking Print working together to push the boundaries of wide-format print with the likes of the footie fan ‘talking’ poster for the Watford Vs Crystal Palace playoff last Monday. There’s a video interview with Talking Print founder David Hyams on the Image Reports’ website (at http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/videos) if you want to know more about how the company can work with printers to deliver integrated print projects.

What kind of ROI do you expect on a UV flatbed printer? And how much of that return do you expect to come from new customers/applications/markets thanks to the capability of the technology – especially if it’s your first UV flatbed? Obviously ROI is dependent on many factors, but what kind of figures do manufacturers need to be throwing about to convince you to invest?

According to the findings of the 2013 Widthwise Survey - due to be published in the Widthwise Reports alongside the June issue of Image Reports -  wide-format print producers expect to curtail their investment in software packages. What are your thoughts on that?

Web-to-print must be one of the hottest topics of debate within wide-format, its pros and cons constantly tossed about. But if sourcing the right software is one of the issues holding you back then a US consultancy might just have introduced the very thing to get you excited again. Take a look at the new W2P Finder from Web2Print Experts and let me know what you think.

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