P-word dominates in 2016. Again.

Jo Francis
Friday, December 23, 2016

Jo Francis looks back on another eventful year.

P-words have dominated my life again this year. Last year’s p-word was Paperlinx, this year it was all about Polestar.

The failure of the much-execrated group resulted in an unprecedented clean sweep of Polestar stories in PrintWeek’s most-read stories of the year – something that even the collapse of Paperlinx, which had the potential to affect far more companies across the industry didn’t manage in 2015. And just look at those click rates.


Polestar was the company that lots of people loved to hate. In 18 years of reporting on the business, my overwhelming feelings were of incredulity that investor after investor bought into that promise of jam tomorrow despite all preceding evidence to the contrary. And of sadness that this business managed to perpetuate the ‘print is dead/dying’ narrative in mainstream media rather than being an exemplar for our trade.

However, on a cheerier and more Christmas-appropriate note, as the end of the year approaches (and we sign off from normal daily duties here at PrintWeek until 2017), some alternative p-words are at the top of my mind.

Those words are positivity and the power of print. 2016 was the year when the worm turned. Rising book sales, a fresh appreciation of the power of DM, continuing love for letterpress, and the explosion in demand for personalised gifting all played to print’s many strengths.

It seems to me that there is something of the emperor’s new clothes about the much of the digital media spend. All the metrics in the world matter not one jot if you haven’t actually achieved your sales targets. And we know that print is a great – and proven – enabler in that respect.

Lastly, as I peruse the in-progress listings for PrintWeek’s annual Top 500 survey, some final p-words. I’ll be raising a Christmas toast (possibly Prosecco) to all those printers who, unlike Polestar, run their businesses in such a way as to make a profit. Plaudits to you all.





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