This has been an interesting year for printers and publishers. We’ve seen all manner of dramas, as publishers strive to maintain profits in the face of competition from online content providers. Hachette and Amazon, which control over half the book business, seem to have patched things up. Newspaper publishers struggle to maintain their high profit margins in the digital world, and everyone is looking for new business models.
For manufacturers trying to support customers’ changing needs, this has been a difficult year, although they are seeing rising business activity. Companies are reconfiguring themselves to provide services as well as products, but it isn’t easy. Figures from some of the industry’s biggest players tell a stark tale. Heidelberg’s boss, Gerold Linzbach, stewarded the company to profit for 2013/14, but turnover continues to fall. The company’s first half of 2014/15 shows a loss of 4.2% on declining revenues. The share price is down from €3.10 in 11/2013 to €1.99 in 11/2014. HP’s share price in 11/2013 was $25.26 and has risen to $37.50 for 11/2014. Printing division operating margins rose by 18.1% but revenues were down by 5%.
Both are undergoing massive business rethinks, but where does this leave customers? It isn’t obvious, but they are in a stronger position as these mighty enterprises cut their corporate cloths to better suit their graphic arts markets. This means closer relationships with customers and deeper partnerships with technology developers and service providers. And hopefully higher profits in 2015 for all of us.
Best greetings for the holiday season and best wishes for 2015!
Laurel, Nessan, Paul and Todd