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Related actitivies

Publishing and printing

Download the full study reports:

Qualitative report: Key issues, case studies, conclusions
(July 2005, pdf, 3.4 MB)

Quantitative report
(Sept 2005, pdf, 2.3 MB)

Sector definition

Business activities covered by the publishing and printing industry are defined under groups 22.1 ("publishing") and 22.2 ("printing and service activities related to printing") in the NACE classification of economic activities (NACE revised version 1.1 – final draft 2002).

ICT and E-Business Activity in 2005

Three areas can be identified as important drivers for the development of ICT and e-business in the P&P sector: dynamic ICT infrastructure adoption, the need for enhanced process efficiency, and trends in user demand to remain a crucial issue for overall industry prosperity. As a result of these drivers in industry change, companies have to cope with increased technical complexity, ongoing changes in their value chain, stiffer competition in the advertising market, the erosion of traditional business models, and a continuous need for organisational change.

Survey results show the P&P sector is very advanced in adopting broadband connections to the internet. 13% of all EU-7 firms surveyed in the P&P industry (representing almost 31% of all sector employees) use broadband connections. While these figures for broadband adoption are well above an all-industry standard, the potential of broadband for e-business is far from being exploited.
Further, the e-Business Survey 2005 brought mixed results for the use of ICT and e-business solutions for the optimisation of internal business processes.

Intranet adoption is above the average of the 10 sectors studied. In contrast, Electronic Data Management (EDM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are only slowly diffusing amongst organis­ations in the P&P sector. Applications in knowledge management are predominantly used by large companies and by a few medium-sized ones. The survey shows that almost half of all firms active in the P&P industry are purchasing online. There is also a high degree of e-procurement activity among SMEs.

The use of the internet for marketing and sales is a key industry practice for many P&P companies. A website is practically a must, and about 17% of firms (representing 35% of employment) reported using a Content Management System (CMS). Firms from this sector also have a clearly higher propensity towards selling products online (37%, by employment) than on average in the 10 sectors (17%). However, only 17% of the P&P companies said that online sales accounted for more than 5% of their total sales.

Anticipated Implications of e-Business for the Industry

The P&P industry is in a state of ongoing change. The industry has been significantly affected by new technologies, changes in media behaviour due to the internet, and increased customer expectations. The e-Business Survey 2005 shows that the P&P sector has properly responded to these challenges by swiftly adopting and upgrading basic ICT infrastructure technologies and turning to the needs of customers with high-end e-business solutions. Its diversity and complexity, its low level of market regulation and its large number of micro- and small enterprises (97% of firms in the industry employ fewer than 50 people) have largely contributed to this situation.

Some important trends in ICT and e-business deployment in the P&P industry can be discerned:

  • Digital production, process technologies and new standards are currently changing the face of the P&P industry. The “networked printing plant” and electronic publishing standards such as JDF are buzzwords in the printing industry which signify an ongoing drive to optimise communications and workflow. The publishing sector is currently focusing on managing complex content workflows and integrating these with content creation and management, advertising handling, page layout and proofing and formatting to create a highly effective digital workflow along the full value creation process.
  • Value chain integration makes the internet a means for electronic interaction within and among the industry’s producers, their customers and suppliers. There, the web is used to communicate and coordinate a growing proportion of the players that have a role along the value chain.
  • Convergence, multi-channel publishing and mobility are today’s catchwords that attempt to make tangible future developments in the P&P sector. In this context, mobile services open up a world of new opportunities for the P&P industry. Publishers may become successful players in the mobile services market, as they sit on strong brand names, rich content and big customer bases and are poised to become major content providers for mobile infrastructures.

Policy Implications

Developments relating to ICT and e-business have some implications for policy, which in this sector inevitably includes 'media policy' in the broad sense. e-Business W@tch regards the following areas as important:

  • Changes in skill requirements for publishing and printing companies, which may call for supporting measures for SMEs in the sector
  • Considerations on how the internet and other ICT enabled product innovations (e.g. e-books, multimedia services) could possibly change the role of the publishing sector as a creator of public information goods and externalities, i.e. its role for democracy and diversity of opinion.
  • Issues in relation to ownership regulation, concentration and competition. Although these issues are only indirectly related to ICT and electronic business developments, ICT driven convergence of media markets has implications for concentration and the competitive scenario in the industry.

Further, the importance of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and taxation for policy which was already mentioned in the previous sector report has been re-affirmed.

Download the study reports