I will be meeting with the Executive Committee at Hearst Corporation to discuss the digital mailbox services market today and thought it would be a good time to provide an update on the progress that we are seeing with Hearst Corporation’s Manilla service, one of the key providers in the U.S. for digital mailbox services. For a refresher on Manilla, it is a free service that allows consumers to manage their bills, financial accounts, travel rewards programs, subscriptions and other digital accounts all in one secure place online and on mobile devices. With Manilla, tasks that were once a hassle, such as paying bills, tracking travel miles or filing statements can become convenient and easy to do. The Figure below shows what an AT&T account summary page in Manilla looks like. Read more »
Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of attending ADAM Software’s Media Intelligence day, its annual customer and business partner event. Organized for the 7th consecutive year, the day attracted a good sized crowd of about 200 people with diverse backgrounds, including brand owners, IT integrators, design agencies, print & marketing service providers, packaging trade shops, publishing companies, independent consultants, analysts, and other ADAM business partners.
If you are unfamiliar with ADAM Software, they are a leading Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendor based out of Belgium. The company has seen rapid growth and while still pretty small (about 36 people) they have managed to attract top enterprise customers, such as Adidas, AstraZeneca, IKEA, Lego, and other top brands, with their solution offerings. Their enterprise customers are served through IT integrators, while for smaller companies such as print providers or packaging trade shops they offer a cloud-based licensing model. Read more »
Last year around this time I reviewed all of the corporate greeting cards I received over the holiday season. I’m at it again this year and cover such diverse topics as colored signatures; recycled paper, FSC, and other green initiatives; text & image personalization; QR codes; printing on the envelope; metallics & pearlescents; special effects like dimensional printing; and non-card items such as calendars, menus, photo books. I also rant about electronic greeting cards that come with insincere tag lines like: “In our appreciation for the environment, we chose to send you our holiday wishes electronically.” Baloney! Face it, you’re just lazy and trying to hide your cheapness in an eco-green candy coating. If you really care, send me a physical card next year. My address is Jim Hamilton, 97 Libbey Industrial Parkway, Suite 300, Weymouth, Massachusetts 02189, USA.
Over the past few months rumors have been swirling around in regard to Benny Landa’s plans for drupa. Most of it has been talk,Â but more details are nowÂ coming to light. The Landa Labs web site, which has been on line for quite some time, added a note recentlyÂ that Landa Digital Printing, developer ofÂ next-generation digital printing technology targeted at commercial, packaging, and publishing markets, would show a lineup of ‘digital nanographic printing presses’ at drupa 2012. The drupa 2012 web site shows a sizeable booth in Hall 9 for Landa Digital Nanographic Printing.
Next came an article called “The Secret Ink of Benny Landa” that appeared last weekÂ in the Hebrew-language magazine Calcalist (which translatesÂ to “Economist”). The article is in Hebrew, but a Google translation and help from InfoTrends’ Tel Aviv office unveils a few more details about some of the ‘Big Things from Small Particles’ that Landa has in mind. The technology to be shown at drupa is facilitated by an ink with very small pigment particles thatÂ Landa believes to be more durable and economical than any type of ink and that can adhere to any substrate. Few specifics are mentioned aboutÂ what the products will look like, but it does appear that the inks will be applied byÂ inkjetÂ heads.
I attended the Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) Media & Technology Conference yesterday in New York City along with over 200 CEOs, CMOs and other executives from leading publishers, marketing service providers and technology vendors. For those who don’t know JEGI they are the leading independent investment bank focusing on media, information and marketing services sector.Â The program was outstanding covering critical issues including:
Getting Closer to the Consumer with Smarter Data
The Continuing Rise of Big Data
The Talent Imperative
The Media Equation: Paid + Owned + Earned
There were also presentations about the active M&A scene in the industry by JEGI, G.E. Capital and others. The main messages were deals are up and valuations are rising since lows back in 2009. The only grey cloud is the European sovereign debt situation which is mostly hampering large deals.
The highlight of the program were keynote presentations from:
Thomas Quinlan, CEO, R.R. Donnelley & Sons
David Williams, CEO, Merkle (largestÂ customer relationship marketing agency in the U.S.)
According to Wikipedia, synchronicity “is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance and that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.” Synchronicity came to mind this week for the peculiar timing of my business travel destinations. The first part of my week was occupied by the Konica Minolta dealer meeting where the keynote speaker was Tony Hsieh of Zappos. Can you imagine his dilemma? The day before he was supposed to give his speech, his company’s customer data was breached by hackers. I’m sure that many CEOs would have opted out, said “I can’t do it, I’m sure you understand.” To his credit he came through, doing the keynote between damage-control sessions with his employees, a press conference, and presumably stern calls from Amazon, the company that purchased Zappos in 2009.
Much has been written about creative destruction in relation to Kodak recently.Â Kodak’s decline isn’t really anything to do with creative destruction though.Â Kodak saw the digital revolution coming and had technology and intellectual property in good time.Â So if the lessons are not about creative destruction, what should we take away from all this?Â It seems to me that the marketing myopia narrative fits much better.Â Although Kodak saw the digital revolution and could respond, it appears the business remained internally focused.Â I see some similarities with today’sÂ efforts in the consumer inkjet business.
We continue to hear how post-Chapter 11 restructuring the future for Kodak will still involve consumer inkjet printers.Â The parallels between the consumer inkjet business and Kodak’s film and paper business are striking.Â There is one major difference though, consumer inkjet business is more toxic for the balance sheet.
The announcement that everyone in the photo industry expected was made on January 19, when Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, culminating from months of dismal earnings reports, layoffs and the selling off of properties and businesses (such as the Image Sensor Solutions business, which was sold in November 2011). Kodak will continue to operate while it reorganizes its finances and is hoping to complete its restructuring in 2013.
On January 19, Kodak announced its much-anticipated Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing. The filing only affects Kodak’s U.S. Operations and its U.S.-based subsidiaries. Non-U.S. subsidiaries are not included and for them it is business as usual. Under Chapter 11, Kodak will continue to operate while seeking to reorganize its finances and the company is hoping to complete its restructuring in 2013. Many companies emerge successfully from Chapter 11 and we hope that Kodak is one of them.
This report looks at some of the numbers that we found in the court documents that we consider noteworthy.
Insight about basic forces in the packaging markets of Europe comes from this story: On January 17th, Britain’s DS Smith (UK) announced it is buying the recycled packaging operations of SCA of Sweden for about $2 billion. The goal of DS Smith, already a jumbo supplier of packaging in Britain and elsewhere, is to win more business from the world’s top consumer goods companies, especially in Northern Europe where its main consumer goods customers already operate. In his statement about the deal, DS Smith CEO Miles Roberts said that customers like Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Kraft, Reckitt Benckiser, and Unilever have encouraged his company to offer more recycled packaging across Europe. The deal will make DS Smith one of the largest corrugated suppliers in Europe, with close to 3 million metric tonnes of capacity. Read more »