is undergoing change. As WEB-based communications enable universal
soft and cross-media imaging, print of all kinds--traditionally
an independent industry--could become, over time, a component
technology which will serve this new cross-media world. Print
will only be one of a number of forms of final communication
or output from the digital cross-media communications process.
In fact, for many years it will probably remain what it is
today - easily the most important and widespread form of final
communication attracting huge expenditures from business.
Nevertheless, the parts of the print services industry that
will continue to attract expenditures will do so only where
they are able to maximize the seamless integration of print
into the digital information flow. This is the long-term logic
of direct digital printing and the long-term handicap of many
areas of the analog traditional print industry.
None of the processes described above will happen with extreme
rapidity due to the market resilience of the low cost of traditional
printing and the lack of adaptation today of direct digital
printing systems to the requirements of existing traditional
print markets. This raises issues of basic cultural re-orientation
and high investment. It is almost certainly true, as many
press manufacturers have said, that many traditional print
markets will foreseeably stay traditional for twenty years
or more - high volume markets, in particular.
Digital print services and technologies offer traditional
press manufacturers new markets and users, growth opportunities
and specialization opportunities. Traditional print services
will remain dominated by a cost-reducing ethic driven by the
constraints of mature analog technologies. Traditional press
manufacturers do have time to position themselves for the
new cross-media communications paradigm that will set new
basic needs for print in important growth areas.
Many traditional press manufacturers are well positioned to
develop the new hybrid print markets, if only because they
understand better than most digital print vendors the base
specifications and format of the print product business finds
valuable on a large scale today. In addition, many of the
names among traditional press manufacturers carry a credibility
which will have enormous value in developing new markets for
hybrid analog/digital print products and value offerings.