The Decade That Blew Big Chunks

by admin on September 22, 2009

The guys over at whattheythink are flogging a presentation on profits in the US printing industry, 1995-2009
I was going to buy a copy, but the wifey returned all the empty beer bottles back to the liquor store and used the money to buy milk and cereal for the kids. Damn.
Therefore, we'll have to whip up a poor man's version and look at stock prices from 2001-2009:

1. RR Donnelley About $20 in 2000 (low point). Today's stock price $21.
2. Quebecor: Thirty-five, thirty-six dollars in March 2001. Current stock price: 2 cents.
3. Kodak: Beginning of the decade, it bounced around 30-40 bucks. Today it's hovering about 5 and a half. However, we should note that until recently, it was paying out a nice-sized dividend.
4. AGFA:Note I could only find historical data going back to 2003, when the stock price was close to 20 euros. Today it's 3.65 euros.
5. Komori: About 1500 yen in September 2001, and it's at 1200 yen today.

Conclusion? If you had investing in companies involved in the printing industry at the beginning of the decade, you would have been massacred. If you were lucky, your investments would have simply stagnated. But with a little bit of bad luck, you would have been completely wiped out.

Why is this? Well, as 2010 draws closer, I'm sure we will see a bunch of stories in every media on the stagnation of the stock markets over the last decade. I'm just getting in the fun early. And there will be a million reasons given as to why the Baby Bommers woke up one day and discovered they have to hold down a job about ten years longer than they thought they would have too. But here is my little snapshot, my "teachable moment" as to why this decade has been pretty much a complete disaster for the print industy:
I was walking down Main Street in Vancouver the other day and I bumped into a guy I knew from Creo. I asked him how Print '09 turned out for Kodak. He said it went fantastic: Prinergy in the booth of pretty much every equipment manufacturer on the trade show roster. So we started talking about that and I said I didn't get it, how come Prinergy is still the only workflow out there that has a database? How come HP doesn't have front-end with a database?
And he looks at me and goes ssshhhh, don't tell anybody, please don't write that on your blog. I started to laugh. Prinergy was launched in 1999 with a freaking database and nobody has come out with a competing workflow with a database for ten years.
Hey, here is newsflash for you guys out there, this is age of the internet. The payroll of the Mom and Dad shop down the street has a database. This web site runs off a database (MySql). My Mom keeps her recipes in a database. But nobody besides a few guys in Kodak thinks that prepress workflow needs a database.
Jeepers, now I'm not saying that the whole reason why the print industry is in the toilet, but maybe that's a hint?
(Note to DK: Don't worry, nobody reads this blog. I really don't think anybody is going to run out and build a competitor to Prinergy with a database just because I blogged about it.)

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Remembrance Day | Prepress Pilgrim
November 11, 2009 at 5:17 am

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Laurens September 26, 2009 at 1:58 am

I think you need to get your facts straight. There has always been a database in ApogeeX. There also seem to be versions of TrueFlow with a database in it. Probably there are more workflows with a database in it – the fact that it isn’t discussed that much is because it isn’t that important. Yes, the database enables you to track job progress, see what is going on,… but in the end a workflow is bought for making plates or printing jobs, not for having a database.

admin September 26, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Hi Laurens:
I think it would be great if you could post some links of ApogeeX in action using it’s database. Or just ApogeeX in action, period. I have no pretension in being knowledgeable about any prepress software other than Prinergy.
With regard to the opinion that a database is not important to a workflow, I disagree.with as I think job management in a high-volume shop without a database-driven workflow is significantly more difficult. Furthermore, if the promise of inkjet presses ever come to pass, job management will become even more dependent on having a robust database.
But that is just the opinion of this blogger. For what that is worth.

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