Market Watch

Market Watch


I.T. Strategies Reports Minimal Impact of Ink Jet Expected for Next Five Years

According to I.T. Strategies, Boston, MA, the impact of ink jet technology on general commercial printing products will be minimal over the next five years because ink jet technology is still a young technology and not yet capable of matching the performance of traditional offset printing.

However, because ink jet technology can do things that traditional printing cannot, such as very short runs, large sizes and customizing, it has carved out new areas of opportunity in markets that surround commercial printing such as wide format graphics, which alone is expected to generate about $7.5 billion in retail revenues for print providers in the U.S. in 2002.

According to I.T. Strategies, over the next five years, ink jet technology will not be able to match the speed, quality or cost of offset lithography nor will it be able to create a digital press to challenge offset presses. Instead, the digital printing market will grow around wide format ink jet graphics printing.

A key reason for the recent success of ink jet technology, according to the company,is that the incremental cost of moving from monochrome to color is minimal compared to any other direct digital printing technology. But today, ink jet technology is not technically capable of matching the performance of traditional printing. Although ink jet technology is capable of producing a high-speed, high-quality press, it won’t happen in the next five years.

For the most part commercial printers are missing out on this revenue. The print community that has to date accepted wide format ink jet printing is for the most part outside the traditional offset printing community in a variety of channels such as photo labs, reprographic houses and service bureaus.

“Commercial printers are currently losing out on this opportunity and could be headed for a ‘Technology Lockout’ if they continue to let this digital market coalesce around them,” said Patti Williams, consulting partner with I.T. Strategies. “An opportunity for wide format vendors is to educate commercial printers about the opportunities they are missing by not having wide format digital printing equipment.”

I.T. Strategies believes that over the next five years, ink jet technology will continue to be used primarily by printers outside the general commercial print world to create different products, e.g., bus wraps — not replacement products.

However, replacement might happen if advertisers shift their advertising dollars from traditional venues, such as newspapers, to new venues, such as bus wraps, thus shifting where they spend their advertising dollars, rather than producing the same product with a different technology.

For more information, contact I.T. Strategies; phone: 781-826-0200; fax: 781-826-0151.

TrendWatch Releases Special Report on Digital Asset Management

TrendWatch Graphic Arts has released a special report addressing digital asset management and its impact both inside and outside the graphic communications industry. The report explains how companies are using digital asset management, or DAM, to invoke new revenue streams and to accelerate production cycles in key target areas.

The report, “Digital Asset Management: In the Field” examines how DAM is being used in critical markets such as book, magazine and catalog publishing, packaging, corporate marketing (Fortune 1000) and advertising with an emphasis on applications in the field. It also details how the use of DAM is infiltrating the graphic communications industry.

While the main focus of the report is on TrendWatch Graphic Arts’ extensive interviews with DAM users, suppliers and integrators, the report contains the latest TWGA research data on digital asset management—including historical trends since the company’s earliest studies.

The report was released June 5, and is available online. For more information, please visit the TWGA web site