Newsstand and Deliver
One of the most recent examples is the mid-year announcement from Banta Corp. that it was undertaking a $15 million expansion of its Banta Publications Group plant in Greenfield, OH. Construction currently is under way, with completion scheduled for April 2001 and plant startup to follow on June 1.
As part of the announcement, Banta Corp. Chairman Donald D. Belcher noted, "Special-interest magazines remain one of our fastest growing print markets and we are committed to supporting future growth through key investments in people, technologies and equipment. This is a business we have identified for future aggressive growth." The capability to handle shorter runs is just part of production flexibility increasingly being demand by publishers, Husni claims. It's becoming ever more common for magazines to be customized and personalized in a variety of ways, he points out.
The use of multiple covers by consumer magazines is a prime example. "It's not uncommon for a newsstand magazine to have two covers, or even four or more covers. TV Guide recently had 24 different covers for an issue. Research is now being done that shows an increase in sales whenever a magazine does more than one cover," Husni says. A not-so-obvious implication of the growth in special-interest titles is the effect it may have on the total number of pages printed. The publishing industry is attempting to maximize its marketing and distribution efforts, Husni adds. "The sell-through rate for newsstand magazines still is only about three out of 10 copies. Instead of printing lots of copies and throwing them every where, hoping someone will pick one up, publishers are studying the marketplace to laser-target distribution." The longer run market segment is far from dead, however.
Husni points out that some of the notable recent successes include Maxim selling 2.1 million copies after only three years, Teen People at 1.6 million in sales and O (Oprah) debuting at 1 million copies. Even the very high end still has its share of opportunities. Quad/Graphics provided evidence of this by announcing an expansion program fueled, in large part, by a new contract to print National Geographic. The contract reportedly calls for the monthly production of 9 million copies of the title, primarily by Quad/ Graphics' Martinsburg, WV, facility. While the big story may continue to be the growth in special-interest titles, there are other challenges and opportunities publication printers will likely encounter in the year 2001. For most of 2000, the specter of a postal rate increase hung over the industry.