Communisis chief executive Andy Blundell has predicted a shake-out among DM and transactional print specialists because obligations around the upcoming EU data regulations will prove too onerous for some companies.
Blundell was speaking as the PLC unveiled its first-half results, which detailed an additional £600,000 spend on technology and cyber security that included preparations for the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect in less than ten months’ time.
“We are making our services GDPR resilient on behalf of our clients, and I would expect a significant proportion of our investment overall in future to be in technology and risk-related areas,” Blundell told PrintWeek.
“It will probably prompt a further shakeout in transactional print in particular,” he said. “You have to question whether some of the smaller players will be able to live with that. In smaller boardrooms I can see people asking whether they want to do this anymore.”
GDPR comes into effect from 25 May 2018. The proposed scale of the penalties for breaching the regulations include huge fines of up to €20m (£18m), or 4% of global turnover.
“The scale of investment required and the potential downside will make it harder for smaller companies,” Blundell added.
Separate research studies carried out earlier this year by The Strategic Mailing Partnership and the Direct Marketing Association found a large number of respondents admitted to not feeling fully prepared for the changes.
In an in-depth PrintWeek article on GDPR last month, data security expert Colin Tankard said the rules would create a potential opportunity for some printers to take business from others by being ready ahead of the rest of the market.
Communisis finance director Mark Stoner said that GDPR was “very topical” especially for businesses dealing with large amounts of sensitive data. “That’s at the core of what we do. We welcome regulation because it’s a differentiator for us and raises the barriers to entry.”