Challenges in corporate publishing

DCX interviews Urs Holewa

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The EV Media Corporate Publishing Agency, with teams in Hamburg, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and the USA, produces high-quality print products for leading companies in the car, property and banking industries. With a view to keeping up with latest developments, Urs Holewa, responsible for marketing and cooperation agreements with products of Engel & Völkers, Porsche and Berenberg Bank, is planning to visit the IFRA and DCX dual conference event. In an interview with DCX, Holewa spoke about the challenges he faces.

DCX: You work for the customer magazines of Engel & Völkers (GG Magazin) and for Porsche’s Christophorus. As you see it, to what extent does print continue to be an attractive medium, especially for customer communication and in corporate publishing?

Holewa: These days we are all overwhelmed by various messages, offers and stimulations. Consequently, we have to strictly filter these according to our personal preferences. In addition, everything has become very high-speed, a development that can be clearly observed in the digital sector. Our attention span has also become shorter in the last years, something that perfectly suits digital contents and formats. Print media are having to fight their corner in this environment, but have a good basis on which to do so.

Print permits companies to enter into contact with their customers at regular intervals and communicate their desired contents to them – in the case of our customer magazines, this occurs between twice and five times annually. The magazines are delivered directly to the home, which constitutes a major advantage in view of the flood of online information in which such information is more easily overlooked. Customers are more open to browsing the pages of a well-designed magazine in the peace and pleasant atmosphere of their homes. People spend more time with print and do not simply let news of latest innovations rush past them as they would on mobile devices. Offline media create a strong personal relationship, which is why they are still popular with many target audiences.

DCX: What makes your products different from other customer magazines?

Holewa: Our primary focus is to offer a high quality, also for our advertisers. Christophorus is the magazine for Porsche customers and is published four times annually to inform about the latest models and car designs. It is characterized by a brand-promoting aesthetic design, a mixture of elegance and dynamism, character and sportiness. It also has an impressively long tradition: the first issue of the magazine ‘for the friends of the house of Porsche’ was published 63 years ago and became one of the first high-quality customer magazines worldwide. Whereas Christophorus consists of 100% corporate contents, the Engel & Völkers GG Magazin is editorially independent and can be bought as a regular newspaper distribution product.

DCX: What is currently your greatest challenge in corporate publishing?

Holewa: To date, our magazine is not produced in digital form. Advertising revenues continue overall to be at an acceptable level. But with a view to the future we hope that our visit to the IFRA World Publishing Expo and DCX Digital Content Expo will give us new impulses as well as show us tools to help us strengthen our print media as well as discover new sources for generating additional turnover. In this connection, the presentation of the Print Innovation Award could show us new innovations that could be of interest to us.

The article was first published on the DCX website.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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