New Strategies for Management Study Examines the Potential Impact of Electronic Paper on the Graphic Communications Industry

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Emerging and potentially disruptive “flexible display” technologies provide numerous opportunities and challenges for manufacturers to the graphic arts markets -- and for many industries economy-wide.

Strategies for Management announces the immediate availability of "E-Paper Technology and Opportunities in Publishing, Communications, and the Graphic Arts," an extensive, 161-page examination of the rapidly developing market for flexible electronic displays, commonly referred to as “e-paper.”

Once the stuff of science-fiction, “electronic paper” is starting to appear on the market as commercialized product. Advances in optical display and readability, power consumption, and connectivity have dramatically expanded the number of potential e-paper applications, from cellphone and PDA displays, packaging, signage, and alternatives to print media like books and magazines.

The report defines e-paper as “a thin, flexible display with a thickness, appearance, and readability factor equal to that of traditional pulp-based paper.” There are several display technologies that call themselves “e-paper,” each well-suited for specific tasks. The variety of potential applications is infinite and can modify the way many current products work today. These range from replacing paper in certain applications, creating new types of computer screens, PDAs, and many other devices. E-paper is complementary and enabling technology, offering wireless connectivity, effectively bridging the gap between the Internet and print.

The e-paper market is highly dynamic, as new products enter the market almost daily. In just the past six months:

-- Quantum Paper has developed a way for thin, flexible electronic displays to be applied to paper and other conventional substrates using regular offset lithographic or flexographic presses, opening the doors for rich media-enabled magazine inserts, among other applications -- as well as a way for commercial printers to potentially get a piece of the e-paper action;

-- RFID-enabled e-paper tags have started to appear in retail establishments, allowing pricing and other information to be changed electronically rather than via reprinting;

-- Sony has readied an e-paper-based e-book reader which will be sold in Borders bookstores (as well as SonyStyle stores) starting in Summer 2006. Even stodgy book publishing executives are excited about it;

-- an e-paper-based newspaper reader is currently being market-tested in Europe—and U.S. papers including The New York Times, are already working to evaluate the technology.

There is an inherent “coolness” to the idea of e-paper, which usually translates into a significant hype and breathless press coverage. Market forecasters have often been equally bullish on the adoption of the technology. For example, one Japanese marketing and consulting firm predicts that the global e-paper market will hit $51 million by the end of 2006 and $177 million by 2008. Are these realistic forecasts?

In "E-Paper Technology and Opportunities in Publishing, Communications, and the Graphic Arts," Strategies for Management combines its extensive, decades-long experience in the graphic arts markets with the skeptical, contrarian perspective that is its hallmark to critically and objectively assess the market potential of e-paper technology and its potential impact on the graphic communications industry and the volume of print in particular. The report also details the extent to which e-paper is an opportunity as well as a challenge for traditional graphic arts service providers, content creators, publishers, suppliers, and others.

"E-Paper Technology and Opportunities in Publishing, Communications, and the Graphic Arts" examines e-paper technologies, applications, and products, as well as technology adoption rates and user demographics for other technologies in the context of prevailing technological and cultural trends, including:

-- PC sales and growth

-- PDA sales and adoption rates

-- Internet users and demographics

-- historical adoption rates for a variety of “new” (now old) technologies

-- growth of W-Fi users and Wi-Fi hotspots

-- “usership” growth of new media such as blogs, podcasts, instant messaging, etc.

The report compares and contrasts these data with:

-- newspaper demographic, circulation, and revenue trends

-- magazine demographic, circulation, and ad revenue trends

-- print book and e-book sales trends

Report subscribers also get an objective assessment of e-paper’s place in the expanding cultural media mix, examining its impact on:

-- magazine publishers and printers

-- catalog publishers and printers

-- book publishers and printers

-- newspaper publishers and printers

-- packaging printers and converters

-- folding carton printers/converters

-- commercial printers

-- advertising agencies

-- consumer electronics makers

-- and more

A detailed proposal and table of contents for "E-Paper Technology and Opportunities in Publishing, Communications, and the Graphic Arts" can be downloaded from http://www.drjoewebb.com/SFME-PaperProject.html.

The report also includes password access to a private Web site that has continuously updated information about this topic for the next six months. The cost of the report is $4,975. It is available by contacting Vince Naselli at (732) 568-0316 or epaper @ sfminc.com. More information can be found at the e-store at http://store.yahoo.com/drjoe/epaper.html.

About Strategies for Management, Inc.

Strategies for Management was founded in 1987 to assist executives in the print, publishing, and media businesses in understanding the future. SFM produces a variety of regular reports and forecasts of the industry, including A Critical Look at Offshore Printing, Graphic Design 2004–2009, U.S. Ad Agency & Services Business 1997–2009, and Renewing the Print Industry: A Contrarian’s Constructive Perspective. Dr. Joe Webb, president, is a prominent industry speaker and consultant. He writes the influential “Fridays with Dr. Joe” column at http://www.WhatTheyThink.com. More information can be found at http://www.sfminc.com. Dr. Webb also has a blog at http://www.drjoesblog.com.

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