It was not before the electronics were introduced in phototypesetters and scanners in the sixties of the 20th century, that raid development in the printing process stared. At the beginning the pre-press process was still manual, using film in the process to combine text and pictures. Digital page making using digital scanners and film setters were developed at the end of the seventies and beginning of eighties. The first workstations were very expensive, but cheap workstations based on personal computers were introduced in the middle of the eighties. This development was the base for electronic publishing.
The development in digital communications at the end of the 20th century has been a big challenge for the conventional information industry. New methods for packaging and distribution of information has been developed beside traditional printed media and television.丁ext and pictures stored in digital form on cd-rom can be combined with sound and moving pictures. For instance dictionaries and encyclopedias stored in on cd- rom are easy to use on a personal computer. The possibility to add sound to the written media makes it more attractive for the customers.
Satellites have made T broadcasting global. The introduction of digital T will again multiply the supply of TV channels. The number of T channels exceeds already the demand by far,
and the consumers have films, news and entertainment available continuously.
Internet offers the possibility to access publishers' files without having any physical printed media or cd-rom. This makes worldwide distribution easy, and offers the consume unlimited possibilities for real time information supply. The main benefit of electronic media is its fast and cheap methods for packaging and distribution of information to the public.
Digital printing developed in the last decade of the century has made it possible to print short runs in a fast and economic way. Digital printing in its first generation covers print runs from only a couple to some thousand prints. The output quality is already acceptable, but the volume is not yet a threat for conventional printing.
INFLUENCE OF NEW MEDIA ON CONVENTIONAL PRINING
When cd-rom and electronic publishing stared to take a position on the media market in the beginning of the nineties, forecasts for the future of printed media were contradictor. Many technologists, excited by the possibilities the new media offers, predicted that the use of paper would star to decrease rapidly, and electronic media would replace books and magazines. Paper consumption has, however, still continued to grow steadily, and printing press manufacturers are well booked, which means that printers still believe in a future for the conventional products.
THE MEDIA MRKET IS GROWING
The information flow from producer to consumer can be divided into to groups.
On one hand there is the information that the consumer actively looks for. Such information is mainly news or professional information, but in some cases the consumer also reads advertisements actively, for instance qualified ads.
The other type of information is the commercial information the producer wants to bring to the consumer, to draw the consumers attention. This information needs pictures, color and, if possible, sound to be noticed by the consumers. It is, however, the consumer who chooses media, and his choice depends on what type of information he wants to receive.
It is a fact that the media market has been growing, and forecasts show that the growth will continue. People's spare time has increased, which also leads to more time to spend with printed and electronic media. There are today personal computers in many homes, and an increasing part of them are also connected to Internet. Making this technical development in telecommunications available for a growing part of the population is a good ground for dramatic growth in the information flow.
The growing supply in the media market happens basically in electronic media. As a consequence of new satellites and introduction of digital TV the number of available TV channels will continue to grow steadily. Though people use more time for watching TV, the number of TV channels has been growing faster. This means that the average number of viewers for each channel is decreasing, and the fight for viewers is going to be hard.
The interesting question is how conventional printing can keep its positions when electronic media grow. When TV channels fight for viewers and the average number of viewers decrease, it loses its strength as advertising media. Printed media, especially special interest magazines hit their target groups very well. As the magazine reader chooses the product according to his own interests, it means that the advertisements hit their targets with good precision.
Present forecasts tend to predict continuous growth also for printed media though the main growth will happen in electronic media. This means that the market share for printed media will continue to decrease though the absolute volumes will grow.
ACTIVITY IN INFORMATION RECEPTION
When analyzing the forecast for conventional printing it is necessary to analyze different types of products. The situation is totally different when the information, for instance advertisement, is brought to the consumer by the suppler, or when the consumer looks for information, for instance news.
The way the end user wants to get his information depends on time of the day and state of his mind. Sometimes, for instance by the morning coffee or in a train, when time available is limited, the consumer wants to decide how to dispose his time. Then he wants to decide exactly at what time he wants a certain kind of information. Depending on the interest he finds in a certain article he decides how much time he will use on it before he continues with the next one. At these times he wants to compose his information package in his own way. This is probably the time when printed papers best meet the consumers expectations.
In the evening or when the consumer has more time and maybe is tired he might be ready for more passive information reception. Then television is optimal, but also general interest paper and magazines are suitable. This might also be the time when the consumer wants to concentrate on his special interests.
For this purpose the use of dedicated T-channels will increase, but also special interest magazines will gain markets. This time is the most busy also on Internet. The net users at this time are though mainly the young ones who surf the net more for fun, but at the same time learn a new way to find information.
The biggest part of conventional printing is publication printing, covering almost 50 per cent of the total market of printed products. Common for publication printing is that the publishers are depending on that the consumer pays for ever single copy. The publisher has to find the most cost effictive way to get as many copies as possible sold to the public.
In printed publications direct printing and material costs generally represent some 10 to 20 percent of the total costs of the product. Depending on how the product is distributed, the distribution costs can be even higher than the printing costs. In the future it will be possible to deliver books, and later also full color magazines, as digital data that can be loaded to an electronic screen, Iooking like a book or magazine. At least single color text books will achieve the same quality as printed text. For both publisher and consumer this will be a very significant way to produce text information. Full color pictures are still more difficult as they need very big data capacity. In a quite near future this will probably also be solved.
For the publisher this means that the main problem will be to charge the customer for the publications. This will be solved on Internet, cd-rm and similar digital media. One problem that will remain is that the digital publications are very easy to copy, and even if copying is made more difficult it will be very difficult to prevent pirate copies from entering the market.
Advertising printing stands for about 40 percent of the total printing market. For the advertising printing it is typical that the print buyer and the target group for the information are not the same. The print buyer pays the printer and distributor for delivering advertising material to the target group. For the advertising market it is most important to develop distribution channels where the advertisements meet their target groups.
It is known that the increase of TV channels has lead to changes in behavior of the viewers. When the consumer has many commercial channels he tends to change channel when there is a commercial break in the program. This means that the commercial will lose its effect, and at the same time the T channel will lose its viewer. Thus the increase in T channels has a negative effect on T media. The effect of digital T is not yet seen, but experience with increasing number of commercial channels has affected interest in digital T negatively. A fact is that in some countries increase in T channels has led to increasing advertising in magazines and newspapers. A result of growth in the overall advertising market, and of the problems advertisers have to find their target groups on TV, is that advertising printing will continue to grow.
Digital printing has entered the market during the last year, and significant development in the digital printing technology will happen during the next years. Digital printing today is, however, more to compare with high volume office printing than with conventional printing.
For the reader the digital print is identical to the conventional print. The print is built from ink and paper and seen by the eye in exactly the same way. The big difference is how the print is produced.
In conventional printing the information on the printing cylinder is either on offset plates or gravure cylinders. The prints in a print run are al identical. In digital printing ever copy can be different as the information on the printing cylinder changes from one sheet to the next. This means that the press must be programmed and controlled by a computer. The initial programming work is big and the transferring of data to the printing cylinder makes the press significantly slower than conventional presses. Prints can, however, be made on demand, and there is less waste in digital printing.
Digital printing is today most suitable for short runs. In this area it has also generated new printed products, which previously were too expensive to produce. The printing machines are also relatively small, and their productivity relatively low.
In the future, however, digital presses will develop, and their speed and productivity will make them competitive with conventional printing. Today they have taken some small jobs from sheet fed offset, but in the future their competitive ability will gradually develop to bigger products. This does not mean that the total volume of printing on paper changes.
In the future there will also be combinations of conventional and digital printing. The conventionally printed products will be complemented by digitally printed elements.
When the media market turns digital, the techniques for printing on paper will develop too. Pre-press operations will in the future be totally filmless. The techniques for making printing cylinders will regardless of printing method utilize digital technology. This will reduce make ready times, and make it easier to change the printed information. The use of digital technology makes it possible to produce short runs competitively. By combining different printing methods it will also be possible to make demographic print runs, where every copy is different. This development of conventional printing is necessary to keep it competitive in the future.