'How to spice up e-brochures' by Ken Young in today's IT Week assumes that print is more or less disappearing. He states that about a quarter of print jobs were lost in the area around the City in Lodon over five years to 2002. This is probably based on a recent report - Understanding the Print and Publishing Sectors in the City Fringe. The Guardian article on this drew a fierce response from Printweek where the BPIF was described as 'angry' and the Guardian take as 'nonsense'.
The report itself has many facts that have to be considered by people concerned with UK print. Clearly something is happening and the web has something to do with it. The original report comments on the state of IT skills in print and management attitudes to training.
Meanwhile the Guardian somehow fails to report the web as a context for print circulation decline. Roy Greenslade today looks at the recent figures without any mention of how websites effect circulation or contribute to income. So far the 'digital edition' remains a secret so far as the hard copy Guardian is concerned.
Back to Ken Young. He claims that 'people can't be bothered to wait for a brochure to land on their desk' so the web must be a priority. New design resources are essential. 'Sites need to come alive...and not look like electronic versions of dead trees.' Maybe he is being alarmist. Print will continue for some time as evidenced by News International investment outside London. However the reference to Kodak and the speed with which film was replace by digital cameras could be convincing that change can happen.
One suggestion is that managers use the web to make direct contact with customers through weblogs. Next week there is an Adobe webcast intended for financial analysts. This may not be intended for a wider audience but it might be interesting as an example of what is possible. The analysts make a better guess than most of what new products might arrive. There will probaly be more interest in video than in OEM Postscript.