RR Donnelley moves deeper into content with Helium.com buy

David Ward, San Diego
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moving into content creation, RR Donnelley has acquired Andover, MA-based Helium.com, which matches online and print publishers with writers and editorial ranging from feature magazine articles to descriptions used in catalogs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In comments to PrintWeek, RR Donnelley executive vp-marketing Ann Marie Bushell said, "Customers in publishing, retailing, and other industries are challenging suppliers to help them reduce cycle times, enhance the effectiveness of their messaging, eliminate hand-offs wherever possible, and to help them use unique content to further differentiate their printed and online communications. Our ability to integrate content creation into a complete turnkey solution helps customers achieve all of these objectives."

Bushell noted those turnkey solutions can include design concepts and production, content development, premedia services, print and online production and distribution, logistics services, and even performance analysis. "In 2010 more than 10% of RR Donnelley's revenues were derived from services, so Helium is a natural extension of our offering," she added.  

RR Donnelley, which this year shuttered several of its US-based printing facilities due to changing market condition, originally took an equity stake in Helium.com in 2009. Helium.com founder Mark Rinalli told PrintWeek that "they've been a great strategic partner with great leadership" since that initial investment, which made it easier to consider a full acquisition.

But Rinalli stressed this isn't simply about taking an opportunity to cash in, adding, "We have a community of more than 187,000 writers so we have a tremendous capacity to provide content for our customers. But we don't have enough demand to keep our writer busy all the time. RR Donnelley has reach around the world and relationships with the vast majority of Fortune 1000 companies so that's the real advantage of this deal for us."

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