This year has been another rollercoaster ride for the industry. While the printweek.com editorial team takes a (well-earned) break over the Christmas season, we've turned to the great and the good of UK print and asked what we can expect from the year to come. Here's the forecast from <b>Screen UK managing director Brian Filler</b>.
1.What do you believe will be greatest opportunities for printers to grow their businesses in 2008?
I can see 2008 being one of those milestone years that you remember for many years. I predict the most exciting Drupa that there has ever been with a host of manufacturers showing high-specification and high-quality machines with the ability to produce exactly what your customers want. I would go so far as to say that 2008 will mark the start of the demise of the conventional printing press as we know it.
2. What will be the greatest threat to your sector for 2008?
The greatest threat to printing is the public perception that it is environmentally unfriendly. The industry should do all it can to counter this belief by embracing good practice as well as creating greater awareness.
3. How can the industry raise its profile next year?
Again, environmental issues will be key. We need to highlight that printing is a highly efficient form of mass communication. We must make young students aware how exciting our industry is becoming.
4. What do you believe is the most under-recognised aspect in printing that is likely to become more important in 2008?
The ability of print on demand to be used for distributed production will increasingly be recognised as a way of reducing the need for transport. We have all become more aware of food miles – the concept of 'print miles' will certainly help a number of UK print sectors.
5. What print sectors do you believe will experience the greatest innovation next year?
The direct mail and transactional printing markets will undergo big changes as inkjet makes high-speed variable colour a reality.
6. What should the print industry do when it gets back to work after the holidays?
The best thing the print industry could do for the print industry is stop cutting each others' throats. The level of investment, training and sheer hard work required to succeed in our industry requires a better return than is currently achieved by most companies. This will not change while printers sell on price.
7. If the government stepped in and did one thing to help the industry, what would you hope that would be?
General elections always generate huge amounts of print so that would be a good start. Also, introduce legal and strict payment terms, as in Europe.
8. What will you do differently in 2008?
In 2008, I'll stop believing that Tottenham will qualify for the Champions League.